Every New Year, people tend to hit the ground running (literally) with fitness resolutions. The problem is, those resolutions may be unrealistic, and the workout options can be uninspiring. To break you out of your fitness rut, we rounded up some of the most exciting workouts in the area. Whether you like high intensity or slow burn, there’s something here for everyone. The best part: You’ll be ready for bikini season by spring break.
Pumped Up Pilates
If you love Pilates-inspired workouts, try out HIIT Pilates. This calorie-torching class combines High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with Pilates exercises in a room heated to 98 degrees—perfect as temperatures outside reach new lows. At recently opened Hot Phiitness in Bronxville (from the people behind Bikram Yoga Scarsdale and Bikram Yoga Rye), a 60-minute class set to upbeat music blends bursts of cardio with toning exercises. Specifically, it targets “core powerhouse muscles” (think: exercises like planks and mountain climbers), while burning fat and increasing metabolism. Another place to reap the benefits of this high intensity, low impact workout: YogaSol in Norwalk, where Hot HIIT Piltes is offered five days a week.
Precise Personal Training
For personalized, one-on-one fitness training, check out Anel Dzafic’s sleek new Greenwich Avenue fitness studio, Countdown Fitness. At Countdown, clients are guided through a 30-minute, once-a-week workout focused on slow-burn-method weight lifting, where weights are lifted slowly at timed intervals. ”We condense a week of strength training into a high intensity session,” Dzafic says. “We focus on proper, controlled technique to get muscles to exhaustion so you see results, and we stimulate the body to change every single week.” In a one-hour intro session, Dzafic discusses health history and goals, and he does a sample workout to ascertain weaknesses, strengths and imbalances. To measure progress, he tracks every session with the weight lifted and how long, and at each session the weight or the time is increased. This minimum investment, maximum benefit workout ultimately builds longer, leaner muscles with low risk of injury. While many of Dzafic’s clients are busy professionals or people who’ve reached a weight loss plateau, he also works with everyone from young athletes to those who want to improve their golf game.
Focus on Flexibility
While cardio and strength training are key components of a healthy, active lifestyle,
several local studios emphasize the importance of dynamic, assisted stretching to round out your workout routine. At Lymbr, which opened in Darien last year, specialists focus on
exercise recovery to improve performance and prevent injury. In a 30- or 60-minute stretch session, therapists guide you through a series of movements while seated in a chair or lying on a table. These stretches are designed to increase range of motion, decrease tension, improve circulation and restore balance. At NYC-based Stretch’d—started by SLT founder Amanda Freeman—you can choose from various stretch session lengths or try the anti-aging stretch, which includes a 20-minute LightStim LED facial with a lower leg and foot stretch. Or, try a stretching and strength combo offered through the new “Feel the Difference” reformer workout at Core Pilates in Greenwich. It helps counteract bad posture through a combo of shoulder/chest opening and stretching while strengthening the back.
Next Level Dance
With the promise “we don’t do boring,” you know a class at DanceBody is going to be a killer workout and tons of fun. The dance-inspired cardio blitz has already taken NYC and the Hamptons by storm, and now you can get in on the action at a local DanceBody pop-up every Wednesday morning in Greenwich. In this hour-and-a-half blend of cardio and sculpting, instructors ask attendees to leave their egos at the door and let go of inhibitions. “Our dance cardio is easy to follow, while still providing an amazingly athletic workout,” says DanceBody founder and CEO Katia Pryce. “You will sweat, even if you don’t happen to nail every single move.” And you’ll certainly feel the burn because dancing conditions your entire body: “It tones your legs, refines your core, reshapes your arms and back—trust us, no body part is left untouched,” Pryce says. It may take you three to five classes to feel like you can execute the moves. “The truth is, there is a learning curve, but the results are well worth it! And the ‘feel good’ factor happens immediately,” says Pryce. DanceBody also offers at-home, follow-along classes as well as private sessions and parties.
Raising the Barre
JoyRide in Westport, CT recently began offering XTend Barre classes, which are already wildly popular in NYC and internationally. The workout, which blends elements of Pilates, ballet and dance in a fast-paced setting, is different from traditional barre classes in that it focuses on full-body movements—as opposed to small, focused ones—and adds coordination, rhythm and cardio fitness.
Another exciting option is Forme Barre Fitness, formerly Go Figure. They’ve introduced a mom and baby class in their New Canaan studio as well as a yoga/forme hybrid class. For days you can’t make it into the studio or would prefer to exercise at home, they offer streaming classes.