My fitness journey has been a long and quite bumpy one. I played sports growing up and loved being part of a team, did very minimal physical activity in college/shortly after, and then, in my mid-twenties, found the beauty that is a group workout class, training with others is fun and can really make you want to push yourself more to do it because you have that support group of people with you all in the same boat. I had really never enjoyed working out, or even found something I could do semi-okay, until Flywheel. So I did that, religiously (4x a week!) for about two years, until my body began craaaaaaving something a little more low key every once in a while. And so after some real “soul” searching (no shade, I promise), fitness journey 2.0 began.
After checking out all of my options, I decided to sign up for Classpass, and supplement with smaller studio packs/some of the awesome free workouts our city offers. Classpass is a monthly membership that gives you access to some of the area’s best fitness studios, and classes are (typically) way cheaper through CP than the studio itself. While not every studio lists every class through CP, I thought it would be the best option to try a whole lot of different things I’ve never done before. Barre? Never. Martial arts? Nope. Even YOGA! It was a whole new world out there.
In addition, I signed up for the newbie membership at SoulCycle – three classes for $60. My changed up workout routine has been going for a few months now and have taken plenty of classes in a range of workout types. Some I’ve loved more than others, but these four classes have made me come back to the studio to take (at least!) a second time.
Essentials – Floetry
Sanctuary Yoga (1233 Locust Street)
What the studio says: A basic and well balanced class appropriate for beginners and for those who want to refine the essentials of their practice. It will both inform & inspire you.
What I say: I had never taken yoga before I stepped into the gorgeous and welcoming Sanctuary Yoga studio. They have mats available to borrow for the class which was a major plus for someone just trying out yoga. Each instructor has been so kind, encouraging, and helpful – all while learning everyone’s name in class! The Essentials class was an excellent intro to yoga – with the focus more on getting the most out of the poses than having to know what each pose was called – and I left each time feeling open, relaxed, and inspired.
Freehouse Fitness (1430 South Street)
What the studio says: Low impact moves on the mat that will raise your heart rate and leave you a little sweaty, while simultaneously strengthening from all angles. Then we’ll grab weights (on the slightly lighter side) for up-tempo sculpting and finish with a butt-lift series on the mat. Try this class if you like putting fun moves together and hittin’ the beat with some creative lunges, squats and arm work.
What I say: Hard. As. Hell. Word on the street is all Freehouse classes are tough, and I can share that Groove ticks that box. Freehouse is new and also gorgeous, and I’ve found everyone I’m in class with to be really friendly (I know this because there are a few things you need to grab to bring to your spot in Groove and my classmates helped me out). The class is essentially learning a routine of different moves and redoing it several times, but it’s so much more intense than that. There are planks and squats and it’s a hard workout. My lack of rhythm makes this class a challenge for me, but the extreme cardio workout is so, so worth it.
Pilates Mat (Beginner Level)
Thrive Pilates (2016 Walnut Street)
What the studio says: This mat class is a great place to start for beginners or those new to Pilates altogether. The slower pace and modified exercises will help you to learn the system and prepare you to join open level mat classes as you progress.
What I say: Out of the Pilates classes I’ve tried so far, Thrive has been my favorite. The pilates part of the studio is on the 3rd floor, and the classes are always packed. The instructors give you a hard workout – to the point where my body shakes in the middle of some exercises – but don’t stress super hard over technique. I’ve found this works better for me – it is a beginner class, after all! We’ve used bands, which take some getting used to, but you can feel your body working for all 60 minutes.
SoulCycle (113 South 16th Street)
What the studio says: Our signature SoulCycle ride is indoor cycling re-invented. With inspirational coaching, rockstar music, and a full-body workout (we’ve added hand weights and core work!), this 45-minute class will transform the way you look and feel.
What I say: Oh, SoulCycle! Being a devoted spinner, I had heard this was way different than Flywheel, and it sure was. SoulCycle is all about the music, the journey, and uplifting you during class. And it’s DANCEY, and again, my lack of rhythm definitely gets in the way here. I’d recommend you sit in the back for a few classes (but try to see the instructor, if you can), and focus on trying to “catch the beat” of the song with your pedaling. It’s intense, and you will sweat. But it’s in the dark, and besides me still have no idea how to do pushups while I’m standing on the bike, the instructors are motivational and the class feels a little less “stressful” than I was expecting. Oh, and for your first class, they give you spinning shoes, but for every class after, you’ll have to bring your own or rent them for $3 a class.
Tonight, actually, I’m using my last SoulCycle class and am going to make my way across some of the other spin studios in the city. If you’d like to join me on Classpass (sign up here for a $30 credit!), add me as a friend on the app (Emily Tharp) and let’s workout together! What classes did I miss and must try? Tell me in the comments! xx
This is not a sponsored post. If you sign up for some of these studios using my links, we both may get credit to use. Holla.