Welcome back to my blog, and welcome if you’re new! One of my favorite types of posts to write is fitness class workouts. I took a hiatus from writing during most of the quarantine, but studios near me are open again! Today’s post is all about Orangetheory Fitness.
What is Orangetheory?
Orangetheory is a group fitness class that focuses on the 5 heart rate zones. Each class is a mixture of rowing, treadmill cardio, and strength. Class participants wear a heart rate monitor and their stats are displayed on a board in the workout room.
The premise of the Orangetheory workout is to earn at least 12 “splat points” per class. You earn a splat point for every minute spent in either the orange (uncomfortable) or red (all-out) zones. Orangetheory claims that by spending at least 12 minutes in the orange or red zones (84% or more of your max heart rate), you’ll benefit from the “afterburn” effect. They claim this gives you an increased metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after the workout, causing you to burn even more calories after class is over.
About the studio.
I attended the Guilford, Connecticut location. There are thousands of Orangetheory locations around the world, so check their website to find the location closest to you.
The studio was really clean and nice-looking. I was told to arrive 30 minutes early for my first class so that I could be shown around and set up with a heart rate monitor, as well as receive an explanation about how the class runs and what to expect.
The front desk staff and my coach were super friendly and made sure all my questions were answered before starting class! Since there’s a lot going on during class, it’s highly recommended that you do actually arrive 30 minutes before. This will help minimize any confusion once the class actually gets going.
I’m writing this review during the COVID-19 pandemic, so some aspects of my experience at the studio are different from what they used to be. The class size has been drastically reduced to ensure social distancing during the workout. Masks are required walking into and out of the building as well as when transitioning from one piece of equipment to another. Wipes are provided before each transition so that equipment is sanitized before you use it. Classes were also 45 minutes long rather than the usual 60 at the time of writing (although they have since added some 60 minute classes back in).
Every location is different, but here are the pricing options I was given:
The unlimited class option is $179 per month. The option that intrigued me the most was the 8 classes per month, which comes out to $119 (or $109 with a 6-month contract). There are also class packs available which drive the per-class rate up significantly.
Orangetheory does not typically provide pricing information online; you’ll have to go to your local studio to find out what your options are.
The heart rate monitor typically costs over $100 from what I understand, but I was able to get it for less than $50 because they were running a sale. For your first class, you can borrow one from them for free. Your first class at Orangetheory is also free! Depending on the location, you may even be able to score two free classes.
Is it worth the money? Keep reading to find out.
A typical Orangetheory class is 60 minutes long. Due to COVID-19, my studio has been running only 45-minute classes. They have since added some 60 minute classes back in.
Orangetheory loaned me a heart rate monitor for my first class. Although I already use a Fitbit Versa 2, I wanted to be able to see my stats on the board during class like everyone else and track my “splat points”. I arrived 30 minutes early as requested by the studio so I could get a quick tour and an explanation of what to expect.
For my first class, I started on the rower. Then, I moved to the floor and finished the class on the treadmill. In my second class, I started on the floor and ended up rowing last.
Pre-pandemic, I believe class-goers could choose their starting station on a first-come, first-serve basis. From my understanding, they are currently automatically assigning them to maintain social distancing.
On the treadmill, you’ll typically alternate between three different paces - base pace, push the pace, and all-out pace. Your base pace is a comfortable recovery pace that you can maintain for a longer period of time. Your push pace increases the intensity until you’re a bit more uncomfortable, and your all-out pace means you’re working as hard as possible. You may also see changes in the incline depending on the workout for that day.
On the rower, you’ll typically have some rowing intervals broken up by a strength exercise using a medicine ball.
At the floor, you’ll be at a bench and may use equipment including dumbbells, BOSU balls, TRX straps, ab dollys, etc.
At the time of writing this, the two classes I’ve taken so far were completely different from each other. Although the classes will all involve these 3 stations, no two days of workouts are the same. You also don’t know ahead of time what the workout is (unless you get early intel from the Orangetheory Subreddit).
What were my results?
In my first 45-minute class, I earned only 7 splat points. I burned 313 calories, though, which is great for me in such a short class. In my second 45-minute class, I earned 13 splat points and burned 304 calories.
My resting heart rate is already pretty low, so I don’t ever expect my splat point number to be huge. But I’ll still be aiming to get 12 or more points per class - I’ve proven to myself that it can be done! I was really happy with my calorie burn in these classes.
My triceps were sore for days after my second class! Although I think Orangetheory is more of a cardio/endurance class, it’s very possible to end up feeling sore from some of the strength exercises.
Would I recommend Orangetheory?
I signed up for an 8 class per month membership. I absolutely recommend Orangetheory as long as you’re looking for what they’re offering.
If you’re just looking to lose weight and not significant muscle gain, I’d absolutely recommend Orangetheory. You’ll get your heart rate up and burn a lot of calories, which is exactly what you want. However, for a more well-rounded routine, I’d mix in a little more weight/resistance training than what you’ll get in an Orangetheory class.
I see classes like Orangetheory as “cardio with weights”. They’re HIIT classes and they’re super effective for burning calories, but you’re probably not going to be able to do much other than burn fat in those classes. I’ll continue doing CrossFit for the powerlifting and strength benefits. I’ll also continue with [solidcore] for the core strength and toning benefits. I’m currently trying to shred some fat to get ready for a vacation, so Orangetheory is a great addition to my routine.
Is Orangetheory worth it?
Given that I signed up for a membership, it’s pretty clear that I think Orangetheory is worth the money. It’s not cheap, but I’m willing to pay for classes that are worth what they’re charging. One of the huge benefits I saw at Orangetheory was the fact that I can see my statistics on-screen during class. This tells me when I need to be pushing harder and when I can scale it back. I love the science and numbers behind exercise, and I can see Orangetheory helping me make my workouts more effective. It’s also really fun to let your competitive spirit take over and push you a little harder when you see your numbers lagging behind!
Another huge benefit is that the workouts are different every day. As a fitness professional myself, I spend enough time programming workouts for other people. When it comes to my own workouts, I just want to show up and have someone tell me what to do! The variety seems great, but Orangetheory also sticks to the basics and does workouts that are effective.
Lastly, the coaches and staff are highly knowledgeable. From the research I’ve done, I’ve found that the training process to become a coach is very rigorous. This is evident in the classes I’ve taken! Coaches are also required to be certified personal trainers.
Did I like Orangetheory more than Barry’s Bootcamp?
Yes, yes, yes. If you haven’t already read my review of Barry’s Bootcamp, check it out here.
Orangetheory and Barry’s Bootcamp have very similar class styles, but I only ended up returning to one of them - here’s why.
Tips for Orangetheory newbies.
Can all fitness levels do Orangetheory?
YES! Even if you’ve never run in your life, you can do Orangetheory. You’ll be given an estimated base pace range for power walkers, joggers, and runners. You can power walk the entire class if you want!
You can absolutely take things at your own pace and don’t have to worry about your coaches making you feel bad for doing so. They’re there to push you, but not be intimidating.
If you’re someone who’s already fit, though, you can absolutely benefit from OTF classes. I don’t see how anyone would plateau in this class, since there are always ways to increase intensity.
I’ve really enjoyed my Orangetheory experience and am looking forward to using these classes to help me shed a little fat before my vacation. I’m not locked into a contract, so for now I’m taking it month-to-month. Will I stick with it long term?
I’ll keep you guys updated. For now, I don’t see myself getting bored with these classes or canceling. I’m already seeing promising results after just a few classes and I really look forward to every time I get to take a class.
Have you tried Orangetheory? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other questions about it? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading!
Welcome if you’re new and welcome back if you’ve been here before!
This post is going to be all about Barry’s Bootcamp. Before we dive in, I want to make the disclaimer that just because something isn’t my favorite doesn’t mean you won’t love it (and vice versa). This review is meant to be an honest, unbiased account of my personal experience at Barry’s. I paid for the class myself and Barry’s Bootcamp isn’t aware that I’m writing this review (which I think produces the most honest feedback). If this is something that interests you, keep on reading!
To begin, let’s get into what Barry’s Bootcamp is. Barry’s opened its first location in West Hollywood in 1998 and began expanding from there. The class is 50% treadmill and 50% strength training (although there’s now an option to book “double floor” with no tread work).
Barry’s calls themselves the best workout in the world. They say you can burn up to 1,000 calories in a single class, and classes are held in their signature “red room” - dark with dim red lighting.
So how does it work?
First, you book your starting spot in a class. You can choose to start on the tread, where you’ll do your cardio, or on the floor, where you’ll do your strength training. I chose to start on the tread. You’re automatically assigned to the corresponding bench, and you’ll switch places a couple of times so that you do cardio and strength twice in class.
We did some jogging and sprints each time we were on the tread, and the floor work was mostly lower body for this particular class. You can book your class based on which body part(s) you want to focus on.
Most of the floor work was stuff you’d see in a class like P90X - we used dumbbells, a resistance band around the legs, and an aerobics-style step with risers. There was a very small space for each of us to work with, but we did about 10-12 different movements on the floor.
The class was really fast-paced and there wasn’t much downtime, which is something I always look for in a group fitness class. You want to pay to work out, not stand around! Barry’s was definitely challenging and high-intensity.
There are a few key likes and dislikes that stood out to me based on my experience. I attended the Upper East Side location in New York City. So, keep in mind that my experience may not necessarily apply to all locations.
Let’s talk about the things I liked!
Fuel Bar. Barry’s locations now have Fuel Bars that allow you to pre-order your post-workout shakes on the app so they’re ready for pick-up when you leave class. The options were really impressive! There’s an extensive list of both plant-based and non-plant-based shakes with a ton of different flavors. There are also a bunch of add-ons to choose from like flaxseed and maca powder! The shake I got was plant-based and actually tasted pretty good. The customer service at the Fuel Bar, unfortunately, was disappointing. But we’ll get into that later.
Music. The music in my class was on point. There were some cool remixes and the playlist was definitely curated to keep the class motivated during those hard pushes. It also seemed like the playlist had a little something for everyone!
Lighting. The vibe of the “red room” is pretty cool. It reminded me a bit of the [solidcore] studio. The dark room and red lighting kind of help you to zone out and focus more on your workout. There are fewer distractions and you’re less likely to worry about what everyone around you is doing. I enjoyed having a mirror right in front of the tread - everyone looks good in that lighting! I hate treadmills but something about the vibe in the room made me run longer/faster than I think I ever have on a treadmill.
Instructor. My instructor was really friendly and helped me out when I didn’t know how to put on the “booty band”. I just liked his vibe overall and while we didn’t get to talk, he seemed like a nice guy.
Amenities. The studio has nice amenities like locker rooms with full showers, hair ties, blow dryers, etc. I’d compare it to Soulcycle amenities-wise. There are digital lockers as well as Oribe products. It seems like a nice luxurious place to get ready after an early morning class.
Now, let’s get into the things I didn’t like.
Very difficult to hear. I’m not sure if it was the volume of the music, the acoustics in the room, or the sound system being blown. But it was nearly impossible for me to understand what the instructor was saying for the majority of the class. There were many points throughout the class when I sort of just had to guess what I was supposed to be doing, or just do my own thing because the instructor’s voice was too muffled to understand him.
Confusing for a first-timer. When I signed up for the class, I received an e-mail telling me that I needed to show up at least 15 minutes before the start of class so that everything I needed to know could be explained. So, I did just that. And when I arrived, the girl at the front desk told me where to wait for class and let me know that my instructor would tell me everything I needed to know. Unfortunately, that never actually happened. I stood with a huge group of people waiting to get into the room and there were no special directions given to myself or anyone else who may have been new.
The instructor did ask new people to raise their hands at the beginning of class. I raised my hand but nothing came of it. Class began and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing on my treadmill. I tried looking at the people to either side of me but both were using totally different inclines and speeds. It was really hard to hear. So, for the first few minutes of class, I sort of just did my own thing.
I actually had no idea that you switch from tread to floor twice throughout the class - I assumed that half the class was done on either tread or floor and then you switch positions once. This led to some confusion when I and a guy in the class were both trying to use the same bench. We spent probably 3 minutes of time we were supposed to be exercising trying to figure out how we were both assigned to the same bench at the same time. Apparently, I was supposed to have switched BACK to my tread at some point! The guy left the red room and grabbed a front desk employee who came in and explained it to me. This was embarrassing and frustrating for both of us, as we missed a few minutes of our workout due to an avoidable mix-up.
The instructor must have explained that we switch back, but I totally missed it since I literally could only pick up 10% of what he was saying. This leads to my next point.
Class size. Huge classes may be your thing. I honestly think it’s a personal preference. But as someone who teaches classes myself, I think a 51-person class is entirely too much. When you add in the fact that half the class is doing something totally different than the other half, there’s literally no way the instructor could have eyes on the entire class. The instructor completely missing the snafu with me and my fellow class-goer (and him having to leave the room and grab someone from the front desk) was a telltale sign.
I feel like the instructor also may have noticed how completely lost I was during the tread portion of the class if there were fewer people. Was I supposed to do anything with the incline button at any point during class? I have no idea. I couldn’t hear and the instructor didn’t notice. This isn’t a knock on him - he was fabulous and did the best he could given the circumstances.
Customer service. Some of the staff at Barry’s (like the instructor and the girl who first greeted me when I came in) were friendly. However, in my ~ 1.5 hours there I came across two very unfriendly people. When I first arrived, I was a little confused about when I was supposed to pick up the drink I pre-ordered at the Fuel Bar. I asked the girl working at the bar about it and she was very clearly annoyed with me, rolling her eyes and being snappy.
After class, for some reason, my locker wasn’t responding to the combination I used. I went up to the front desk and patiently waited to ask someone to help. Whoever the man at the desk was pretended I was invisible for about 4 minutes then simply walked away. I was standing directly face-to-face with him and he was too busy clicking around on the computer to acknowledge me. I had to wait for someone else to come because he obviously wasn’t willing to help.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that unfriendly treatment is something you’re required to put up with just because you’re at a boutique studio in NYC. I get that the studio is busy and not every day at work is a fun day. But I seriously think this studio needs to address the attitudes of some of their staff. As a paying customer, I shouldn’t be made to feel like I’m inconveniencing you by being there.
This really grinds my gears because group fitness is supposed to encourage people and make them feel welcomed. Imagine if I had been someone who was new to working out and this was my first experience in the group fitness world. It could’ve discouraged me from ever trying again. There’s just no excuse for behavior like that, no matter how busy the studio is or how you’re feeling that day.
Cleanliness. Again, this particular issue may be specific to this studio. I have a big issue with using equipment that someone else was just sweating on and hasn’t been wiped down. When I got back to my bench after my second tread section, I could see tons of sweat on it from the person who had just used it. Equipment doesn’t get wiped down during transitions. So, you’re essentially working out on someone else’s sweaty equipment (not once but twice!). This seems like an easy fix on Barry’s part and I’m honestly not sure how this has been going on for so long.
I went into Barry’s Bootcamp really wanting to love it. I had heard so many great things about it and wanted to experience the “world’s greatest workout” since it has such a cult following. I don’t want to be overly negative so I’ll start by saying that I did get a great workout. I pushed myself really hard during the tread portions and I was pretty sore the next day. But I honestly don’t feel like I did anything that I couldn’t have done for free on the Nike Run app or a YouTube video. I got a great workout, but I think it would’ve been even better had I been able to hear the instructor during the tread portions of the class.
I paid $38 + tax for this class - the only intro discount Barry’s offered was $75 for 3 classes (+ 1 guest pass). While that would’ve made the per-class rate cheaper, I didn’t want to shell out that much money for a place I hadn’t had a chance to try yet. And I’m glad I didn’t. My personal opinion is that you’re paying for the name/gimmick when you’re paying for Barry’s. There wasn’t anything novel or exciting about the class aside from the cool lighting and nice amenities.
The only true “unlimited” monthly option is $500 a month for a 3-month commitment or $560 for month-to-month. There are also options for 16 classes a month ($440) and 12 classes a month ($340) as well as various class packs.
I’d much rather spend my money at a place where I’ll get some type of one-on-one attention, and I just don’t see how that’s really possible at Barry’s. But I think everyone should do what works best for their personal preference! Obviously there’s a huge market for Barry’s Bootcamp. So, it’s working for somebody. As long as you’re seeing results and enjoying yourself in a safe way, that’s all that matters. While it didn’t completely match up with my personal preferences for a workout class, I’d still encourage everyone to try it at least once.
I’m glad to be able to say I tried it, although I doubt I’ll be back. In fact, I may even try out another treadmill workout class like Orangetheory based on how sore I was the next day.
Have you tried Barry’s Bootcamp? Would you be interested in seeing a review of another treadmill + strength workout class?
Let’s chat in the comments!
Hello and welcome! This post is going to be all about [solidcore]. I had the chance to try a few classes via ClassPass and wanted to give my review as a fitness instructor. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I always keep it honest about my class experiences!
If you’re interested in hearing an unbiased review of [solidcore] and learn more about it, keep reading!
What is [solidcore]?
According to their website, [solidcore] is a “50-minute high intensity, low impact resistance training workout class using slow and purposeful movements targeting the core”.
[solidcore] is typically 50 minutes long and uses a megaformer to break down your slow-twitch muscle fibers. They offer a beginner class, a traditional full-body class, and muscle-specific classes targeted at non-first-timers.
Many people refer to [solidcore] as “Pilates on crack”. Classes are held in a dark room with special lighting and music to help motivate you to work your muscles to failure.
About the studio.
I went to the Westport, Connecticut location. There are many other studios across various states, so there’s a good chance you have one not too far from you! This location is about a 45 minute to 1-hour drive from my house. (If you’re reading, [solidcore], please come to New Haven, CT!)
The studio is small but nice! I really liked the overall design of the space. No showers but the bathroom had plenty of products to freshen up with. [solidcore] is a very sweaty workout; I don’t think this is a class I’d take before having to be somewhere unless I could stop at home to shower first.
There was a merch wall with some cute clothes/accessories, and the studio also has lockers available for use. The actual workout room has 12 megaformers and mirrors on two sides of the room. It’s typically kept dark with blue lighting.
I attended my first two classes at [solidcore] via ClassPass. Classes ranged between 9 and 14 credits, which is on the higher end for this area. The studio does offer two different first-time client specials. The first is $49 for an unlimited week. I totally would’ve taken advantage of this if I lived closer and were able to make it more often. The second is $38 for two classes, which is a very solid deal as well.
Unlimited monthly membership will run you $249, and there are less expensive options for 4 or 8 classes a month. Single classes are $25 for an off-peak class and $34 for a regular class, and [solidcore] offers discounts on class packs.
If you can find a community class on the schedule, these are only $10! They’re only held when a new instructor is joining, so they’re rare. If you can find one, book it!
I’ve taken several classes at the $34 price after my two ClassPass classes. So, you can probably already tell how I feel about [solidcore]. Let’s get into some of the details so you can understand why I was willing to pay that much for one class.
I have to be honest. [solidcore] is the best fitness class I have ever taken in my life. I took several different instructors and each class was equally amazing. Even with the class being an hour away and pretty expensive, I 100% plan to continue attending.
The first thing to understand is that [solidcore] is HARD. Regardless of how fit you are, you’ll be challenged in this class. It’s probably the most challenging workout I’ve done, but it’s also unique from anything else I’ve done. Moves are kept as slow as possible, which makes them difficult. You’ll work all of your muscles to failure, especially the core.
The class size is kept at 12, so you get a lot of attention from the instructor. If you’re slacking on form, they’ll notice. If you check out my BODYROK review, you’ll see that I felt very lost and confused in this megaformer class. I came close to giving up on the megaformer, but [solidcore] completely changed my mind.
The instructors had excellent cueing abilities and were able to make sure the entire class knew what they were supposed to be doing. Plus, they made sure all of us were in proper alignment and weren’t at risk of getting hurt or doing the moves wrong.
I loved the atmosphere of the studio. The dark room and blue lighting are perfect for this type of class because you aren’t doing any quick or jerky movements. You’re moving very slowly and the vibe of the room helps you focus on yourself. The music was loud, but not so loud that it was bothersome or overshadowed the instructor’s voice. I really liked the music selection; there was a lot of hip hop, which is great for motivation while you’re working out.
I think [solidcore] tests your mental strength just as much as physical. There will be points that you feel like your body literally can’t take any more. But the great part is that the instructor will often call you out by name and encourage you to keep going. I liked that we never really stayed in any one position for too long. So it never got boring.
Was I sore?
Yes. I’d be shocked if anyone told me they weren’t sore after their first [solidcore] class. I felt most of the soreness in my core, which is great because having visible abs again is a goal of mine. The full-body classes target the whole body, but most moves engage the core in some way.
I’d strongly recommend not to plan anything that involves the use of your muscles the day after your first [solidcore] class. Going on a weekend when you can relax the next day is probably the best thing to do!
Tips for [solidcore] first-timers.
Get there early. I’d recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early so you can talk to the instructor before class and get the megaformer you want. You want to come to class relaxed without feeling rushed. Let your instructor know you’re new and they’ll tell you what to expect.
Find a spot towards the middle of the room. When you book a spot in class, you don’t book a specific reformer. Since you’ll get there early, try and claim a megaformer in the middle of the room so that you have someone on either side of you.
Listen to what the instructor is saying. You’ll need to listen to the instructor to understand what you should be doing. They’ll typically cue for your next move while you’re still in the previous move - this class moves quickly! As long as your ears are open, you shouldn’t be confused. If you miss something, just look over at the person next to you.
Take regressions and take them often. Listen closely to your instructor so that you hear when they offer modifications like dropping down to your knees or coming down to your forearms. If you need to regress the difficulty of the movement, there’s no shame in doing that. It’s better to take the modification than to compromise form and end up not getting the most out of the movement.
Hydrate. Drink lots of water the day before your [solidcore] class as well as the day after. Your muscles will inevitably be sore and it’s important to stay hydrated to help with recovery. Drinking water the day before your class will help ensure that you don’t feel super dehydrated during class. Take small sips of water during class rather than huge gulps. Planking on a stomach full of water isn’t a great feeling!
Breathe. Remember to breathe throughout the class! People have a tendency to hold their breath when doing tough exercises, especially when it comes to core work. Focus on your breath during all movements.
Rest. Recovery is so important after a workout this challenging. Make sure you rest afterward as needed. Refueling your body with a high protein meal after the class is also a great idea. Restorative yoga or a nice walk are the perfect active rest day activities for the day after [solidcore].
Come back! Keep going to [solidcore]! They recommend taking class 3 times a week for the best results. I can’t make it that often because of how far it is from me, but I’m committing to once a week for the time being. You’ll continue to see progress and be challenged as you consistently take classes. The great thing about [solidcore] is that the megaformer is so easily adjustable that you’ll never hit a plateau - it can always be made more challenging!
Is [solidcore] worth it?
Absolutely. I rarely say this about classes that cost this much, but I’m 100% sold on [solidcore] and its benefits. The level of instruction was excellent and I truly felt like all 50 minutes of the class were spent well. If I were closer to [solidcore], I would without a doubt purchase a membership and go several times a week.
While [solidcore] is great for strength training, you’ll also get your heart rate up because the class is fast-paced. The potential caloric burn is very high for a low-impact class. If I had to pick one class to do for the rest of my life and nothing else, [solidcore] would be it. I’m adding it to my regular workout regimen to get me ready for my trip to Jamaica in a couple of months!
In closing, [solidcore] is completely worth the hype in my opinion. I hope to be able to live closer to a location in the future, but I’ll make the hour-long drive for now. Thanks for reading!
Have you tried [solidcore] or any other megaformer class?
If you had to pick ONE class to do for the rest of your life and nothing else, what would it be?
Let me know in the comments!
Welcome! This week’s post is all about Pure Barre. You’ve probably heard of it by now since it’s one of the most popular barre franchises out there. As a barre instructor myself, I’ve been wanting to try it out and give my feedback for a while now.
If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on Pure Barre from the perspective of a barre instructor, just keep reading!
What is Pure Barre?
According to their website “Pure Barre offers an effective total body workout focused on low-impact, high intensity movements that lift and tone muscles to improve strength, agility and flexibility for every body.”
Pure Barre is one of the most popular barre franchises and has been around since 2001. They have more than 500 studios across the US and Canada and have expanded into On Demand workouts that you can do from home.
About the studio.
I went to the Westport, Connecticut location. The studio was located in a cute plaza with plenty of parking. They were renovating inside, so it was a bit chaotic with boxes everywhere. I also didn’t see a water fountain, which was a bit strange. But the actual workout studio was spacious and there was plenty of barre room. I like that since Pure Barre only offers barre, they have a barre across all 4 walls! Every Pure Barre studio is carpeted; it’s something I’ll never understand. The workout is low impact but you still sweat. Sweat + carpet = kind of gross.
The studio wasn’t anything special to look at, but I was there for the workout!
I attended via ClassPass. I took the Pure Barre Classic for 6 credits, which I consider very reasonable. Pure Barre offers a free introductory class for first-timers. It’s a foundations class meant to give you the basics. It definitely won’t challenge you as much as a classic Pure Barre Class. If you’ve done barre before, I’d recommend skipping the intro!
For this location, the only options available online are a single class for $30 and a 10-pack of classes for $290. Given that the 10-pack only saves you $1 per class, I wonder whether they’ll offer a more cost-effective unlimited membership in the future. I know that other Pure Barre locations offer an unlimited monthly membership, so I’m not sure why Westport doesn’t.
Even though it’s a bit pricey, it’s in the same range as other boutique fitness studios in the area. Is it worth it? Keep reading to find out.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Pure Barre experience and definitely plan to go back.
The instructor was very friendly and excellent at correcting form. Although the class was large, she was very good at making sure we were all in proper alignment. Several of us were first-timers and she didn’t get frustrated when we didn’t understand exactly what she was telling us to do. She used a great combination of verbal and kinesthetic cues!
The instructor didn’t demo any of the moves, which was interesting. I learned that the warm-up is essentially the same every class. The regulars knew what was coming before it came and had no issue keeping up. I tend to do really well with visuals but not so well with listening to the instructor without a demo. As a newbie, I often found myself a step behind. But I definitely think you’d get the hang of it after a few classes.
This class was unlike any barre classes I’ve taken or taught. We spent surprisingly little time at the barre and there were zero references to ballet terminology (plie, first position, second position, etc.) If you’ve never done ballet, Pure Barre is the perfect place for you to try barre - you don’t need to know the names of any moves or exercises.
This was a full body workout and I appreciated how much time we spent on core work. It’s so important! I wish we could have done a bit more with arms, or made the arm work more challenging.
The equipment was simple and high-quality - a mat, light dumbbells, a ball, and double tubing. The ball was a lot smaller and firmer than the ones I’m used to using, and I think this made some of the exercises a bit more challenging. I loved their double tubing because there are so many uses for it. Plus, it was much tighter than the bands I usually use. This made the thigh and seat work killer!
The music was okay; it wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t terrible! The selection was mostly fitness remixes of songs that I’d expect. I appreciated that we used the beat of the music when workout out, though. It’s clear that the music is selected to meet a specific BPM so that our movements are done at an appropriate speed. If you know me, you know that musicality is one of my favorite parts of creating classes. I almost always have my students work to the beat of the music.
Was I sore?
I did feel a little soreness in the legs/glutes the next day. It’s possible that I wasn’t more sore because I regularly train my lower body. If you’re new to barre, you may be in for some serious soreness the next day, though! If you’re new to exercise in general, I’d recommend starting with their Foundations class.
Tips for Pure Barre first-timers.
Don’t feel self conscious if you aren’t keeping up with the movements. I can usually keep up with fitness classes pretty well. But during a few points in the class, it took me a second to figure out what was going on. Don’t sweat it if this happens to you! If you keep showing up, it’ll become second nature.
Don’t underestimate how challenging the class is. The movements look small, but Pure Barre isn’t easy. Your muscles are definitely going to shake, regardless of how fit you are! The class is low impact, but don’t expect low difficulty.
Get there early. Pure Barre will ask you to arrive 15 minutes early. This is actually important, especially if you’re new to barre altogether. It’s likely that your class will be packed because Pure Barre is popular. You’ll want to be there early enough to find a good spot and ask your instructors any questions you have. Chances are, you’ll be using some equipment. So, it’s important to be there early enough to make sure you have what you need and get some pre-class stretching in.
Is Pure Barre worth it?
If you’re looking for a low impact workout that’s going to help you get toned, Pure Barre is a great option. I think the level of training and instruction that goes into each class definitely justifies the prices I’ve seen. You can rest assured that in a Pure Barre class your instructor knows what they’re doing. I’d especially recommend Pure Barre to anyone who’s injury-prone. The instructors do an excellent job of making sure your form is on point at all times!
I personally don’t see myself buying an unlimited membership at a Pure Barre location, mainly because I like to mix up my workouts a bit more. But I would definitely consider a class pack, which would save you money on the drop-in rate and allow you to attend classes a little more frequently!
All in all, I really enjoyed my experience at Pure Barre and I hope to try a couple of other Pure Barre studios in the near future!
Thanks so much for reading! Have you tried Pure Barre? Do you have a favorite barre studio? Let’s chat in the comments!
If you liked this post, you might like some of my other class reviews! Check out a few popular ones here:
Les Mills Barre Review
Welcome! I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a while now and I’m so excited that the day is finally here.
As of November 4, 2019, I am 100% debt free! I’ve paid off ~ $50,000 in debt (student loans, car, credit cards). Being debt-free at 25 years old is truly an amazing feeling, and I hope that everyone gets to experience the freedom that comes with it.
If you’re interested in hearing how I became debt-free at 25 and my tips to get out of debt, keep reading!
Stop racking up more debt.
This may sound obvious, but a lot of people don’t actually put this one into practice. If you have credit card debt, continuing to use your credit card isn’t going to help you pay it down! Put down the credit card and don’t buy things you can’t afford. If you can’t pay for it in cash, you can’t afford it.
If you’ve got student loan debt from being an undergraduate, it probably doesn’t make financial sense to take on more student loans to get a graduate degree. If you can’t find another way to pay for it, consider putting off additional education until you can do it without taking out more loans. It may take longer to do it that way, but it’s worth it! A couple of notes related to that:
I paid off my debt using the debt snowball, a concept Dave Ramsey teaches. While I didn’t follow all of his rules completely (I still contributed to retirement during my debt snowball), I find many of his principles to be excellent guidelines for anyone trying to get out of debt.
The debt snowball means that you write down all of your debts, smallest to largest. You start aggressively paying down the smallest debt while paying minimum payments on the rest. Once your smallest debt is paid off, you put that money towards your next smallest debt (and so on). The debt snowball works because every time you pay off a debt, no matter how small, you gain some momentum which pushes you to keep going. A debt-free journey can be mentally and emotionally draining, so this really helps.
I found that during my debt-free journey, understanding where all my money was going was most of the battle. I had tried apps like Mint before that link to your accounts and automatically track your expenses. But I didn’t find them to be helpful because I wasn’t actively participating in tracking my spending.
I use the EveryDollar app and it’s seriously been a game-changer. You set a budget for each month and log every expense in the app, under its respective category. The app uses zero-based budgeting, where every dollar has an assignment. Your budget isn’t complete until every cent of your income is budgeted to go somewhere (i.e. savings, debt payments, groceries, gas, etc.). It took about a month for me to get the hang of it, but it’s been incredibly helpful. I believe budgeting was the most important part of my journey!
Once you actually start looking at where all your money is going, you’ll probably be surprised. I couldn’t believe how much I was spending on eating out! Seeing my spending patterns allowed me to make the lifestyle changes necessary to put a whole lot more money towards my debt each month.
Contrary to popular belief, budgeting isn’t about restricting yourself. In fact, I found that budgeting has allowed me to figure out how to make room for the things that are important to me. During my debt-free journey, I was still able to do things like get my nails and eyelashes done because I budgeted for them.
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” - John Maxwell
Increase your income.
Once you’ve got budgeting down, it’s time to start evaluating how you can increase your income and put your extra money towards debt to pay it down faster. Can you seek a promotion opportunity at work or move to a different organization to increase your salary? Can you take on overtime? During my debt-free journey, I was promoted and saw a 12% increase in my salary. This was huge in paying my debt off faster. I didn’t just get promoted by putting my head down and working hard, though. I had to make it clear to my boss that I wanted a promotion and was ready for it (with supporting evidence). I’ll write a post with more details on how to ask for a raise in the near future.
Another huge help in paying off my debt was getting a part-time job. This supplementary income allowed me to put a huge chunk of my regular income toward debt. I chose to become a group fitness instructor because fitness is something I’m passionate about and genuinely enjoy. I didn’t want a job that felt like a waste of time. Being a fitness instructor is incredibly rewarding for me! Not only did I have a regular class schedule each week, but I got plenty of opportunities to sub and make even more extra money whenever I wanted.
Consider getting a part-time job that uses your skill set or will help you develop new skills. Maybe you’ve always wanted to become a lash tech or start doing freelance makeup. Maybe you have skills in photography or computer repair. Get creative and see what kind of side hustle you can come up with! Having multiple streams of income will benefit you in your debt-free journey and beyond.
You also might want to consider getting a part-time job that will help you cut down on a regular expense. Being an instructor gives me a free gym membership that includes unlimited classes, saving me over $120 a month. At most gyms, even front desk staff get a free membership. If the gym is a regular expense for you, a part-time job there may help free up some of your budget! If you’re a big Starbucks drinker, a part-time job there will get you free drinks while you’re on the clock!
Learn how to say no.
For a lot of people, learning to say no is one of the toughest parts of being financially responsible.
Before you commit to anything major (like a trip), it’s important to understand how much it’s going to set you back (realistically). Sometimes, you’re going to have to say no to people you care about - even when you really don’t want to. Aside from an absolute emergency, there’s no good reason to go further into debt. If you can’t adjust your budget to fit it in with cash, it means you can’t afford it. Most Americans are in debt, so chances are the people around you are as well. Many of them may not be as interested in paying off their debt as you are. That’s okay! But if financial freedom is important to you, it’s important to make sure your priorities are straight.
Saying no to things you can’t afford is key when it comes to getting out of debt quickly. You may be tempted to buy a new car, go on a vacation you can’t afford, use a credit card to buy a new pair of shoes...but these things aren’t going to help you pay your debt off any faster.
To make it easier, just be honest with your loved ones. Let them know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Hopefully, this will make them less likely to peer pressure you with poor financial decisions. And if you know someone who’s trying to get out of debt, be a positive influence! Avoid pressuring people to spend money they don’t have. It’s hard enough to make a change without the temptation to do the opposite.
When you’re creating a budget, you’ll probably realize that you should cut your expenses in some areas. The key to getting out of debt quickly is paying off as much as possible every month.
The first thing to consider is your living expenses. After college, I moved back home. While I did pay rent, I paid significantly less than I would if I were living by myself. This was a huge help for me and I’m very grateful that I had this opportunity. It was hard at times, but it was important to remember that this living situation was only temporary.
If you have the opportunity to live at home to save money, I would strongly consider taking it. There’s no shame in getting help from family, as long as you’re using it to work toward a goal. Mooching isn’t cool, though. So, make sure you have a solid plan for your debt payoff and moving out on your own eventually.
Not everyone has the opportunity to live with parents, but there are other ways you can cut down on living expenses. Consider getting a roommate temporarily or subletting a room at your place to cut down on rent costs. If you have cable, consider getting rid of it and using Netflix or Hulu instead. Did you know that Spotify offers a free Hulu membership to premium members?
Most people I know spend a decent chunk of change eating out every month. If you don’t know how to cook, now is the time to learn! Not only will meal prepping save you money, but it can also be a step toward a healthier lifestyle. Check out some meal prep tips here.
Unnecessary memberships are another huge area to save for plenty of people. If you haven’t been to the gym in the past two weeks, cancel your membership. You aren’t going regularly enough to justify paying a monthly fee for it. There are so many ways to work out at home or without the use of a gym. I'll link reviews of some of my favorite at-home programs at the bottom of this post. If you do have a gym membership, consider showering there after workouts to save on the water bill!
Surround yourself with support.
Being on a debt-free journey means that you’ll be different from most people. People might think you’re crazy for aggressively paying off debt instead of being content paying a minimum payment for the rest of your life. The journey can be exhausting, and that’s why it’s so important to keep yourself surrounded by others who support you.
My friend, Thalia, was the first person I knew on a debt-free journey. She introduced me to the debt-free community on Instagram. There’s an incredible wealth of knowledge on social media! Search the hashtag #debtfreecommunity to be connected with thousands of like-minded individuals on the path to financial freedom. Had it not been for seeing her posts and being encouraged by her journey, I don’t know that I would’ve had the courage to even begin mine.
My boyfriend was the first young person I knew personally to become debt-free. He graduated with about the same amount of student loans I did, and he paid them off while living on his own. For part of that time, he lived in NYC. Seeing him do it showed me that it was 100% possible for me.
Support from them, along with support from my family, was critical during my journey. Being surrounded by people who think you’re crazy isn’t going to help you stay encouraged to aggressively pay off debt. Having like-minded people in your corner who you can talk to and ask questions makes all the difference in the world.
Keep your eyes on the prize.
My final tip really carried me through my last few months of debt payoff. Paying most of your salary toward debt can become draining after a while. It’s easy to look at other people and wonder “why am I even doing this?”. Many months I was paying about $2,500 a month toward debt, with my highest month being $4,000. When I would send a large payment, I’d sometimes think about all the other things I could be doing with that money.
As discouraging as it sometimes was watching other people spend money freely, it was important to remember why I was doing it. Imagine a life with no car note, no credit card payment, and no student loan payment. That life can and will be yours - it just requires a period of sacrifice. Comparing yourself to others won’t help you pay off your debt any faster. But it can cause you to second guess what you’re doing. Keep yourself focused on the life you’ll have once you’re free from debt. The thousands of dollars I was spending each month on my debt snowball is now mine, and the period of sacrifice was totally worth it.
If you’re interested in becoming debt-free or finding financial freedom, I would highly encourage you to learn about what Dave Ramsey teaches. His website has a ton of helpful resources for people on every step of their journey. I listened to his podcast daily throughout my debt-free journey, and it was a game-changer. Not only is it entertaining, but Dave provides advice to callers at all stages of his “baby steps”. Most episodes include a “debt-free scream”, where a person or family who recently paid off all their debt talks about how they did it and celebrates. These stories were super encouraging, and it’s an awesome feeling to finally be in the debt-free club. Dave also has several books that explain in detail the methods behind his teachings and why they work. Financial Peace University is a great option for those looking to really be financially healthy in all aspects - savings, debt, college funding for kids, retirement, etc.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope this information was helpful to you.
If you have any questions about Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, my debt-free journey, or anything else, let me know in the comments!
Here are my reviews of some popular at-home fitness programs:
Les Mills Bodycombat Review
Les Mills Bodyattack Review
Les Mills Barre Review
Hi, friends! I’m back with another class review. This week I’m reviewing CITYROW, one of the hottest workout classes in New York City. CITYROW is currently expanding to several other states, so, I figured now is the perfect time to tell you about my experience. If you’re interested in hearing about CITYROW from a fitness instructor’s perspective, keep reading!
What is CITYROW?
The description provided by CITYROW is as follows: “CITYROW combines interval training with an indoor row machine to provide high-intensity sweat, low-impact burn, total body results.”
Each CITYROW class uses both a rower and weights. You’ll spend some portion of the class on the rower, and another portion of your class doing mat work (some using bodyweight, some using dumbbells). Each class is different, but the “finisher” at the end of the class is the same throughout the entire month.
CITYROW has one of the best intro deals I’ve seen. As a first-timer, you get 3 classes for the price of 1! $32 (plus tax) will get you 3 classes, which I think is very reasonable. They’re also on ClassPass, so you can always try them that way as well.
Pricing for regulars is on par with what I’ve seen at other boutique studios in NYC. There are several membership options as well as class passes:
I think this pricing is very reasonable for the area, especially since you get both cardio and resistance training in the same class.
I went to the Upper East Side location, though there’s also a studio in Union Square. The studio was clean and had a cute merch wall along with some cool decor. It’s a pretty Instagrammable location - plenty of rowers and photos/signs to pose in front of!
The place is pretty small. There’s no real “waiting area” for people who arrive early. There’s a small bench that can probably fit two people, but it’s inconveniently located right in front of the stairs to the actual workout room. I arrived 15 minutes early for my first class as instructed; it was totally unnecessary, though. I had already filled out the waiver online when I signed up for class and there was nothing else to do but stand and wait for the class before mine to exit. It got pretty cramped with just three of us waiting to get into the class. So, I wouldn’t show up more than 5 minutes early.
There are electronic lockers upstairs to hold your belongings. But one potential pain point is the fact that there’s only one shower to be shared by men and women. I came on weekends so I was able to shower at home afterward. Still, I can see this being really inconvenient if you’re someone who likes to take classes in the morning before work. CITYROW isn’t a low-sweat workout; so, you’ll definitely need to shower afterward. Other reviews have said that people sometimes wait up to 30 minutes for the shower after class.
The workout room itself is pretty small, although none of the weekend classes I took were full. They were all at around 50% capacity. I found the space between rowers to be pretty cramped. To the right of your rower is the mat you’ll use for class. I couldn’t help but bump into a rower or weights during some portions of the workout. I think it would be great if CITYROW actually took some of the rowers out and made class sizes smaller. The room just doesn’t seem large enough to fit the number of rowers and mats they currently have.
I really, REALLY enjoyed my CITYROW experience. The workout was very well-rounded and truly full body. The class is beginner-friendly but can be tailored to people with lots of rowing/weight training experience.
Each class begins with a warm-up that goes through the basics of proper rowing form. Whether you’ve been there once or 100 times, you’ll get a quick refresher on form during your warmup. The class alternates between intervals on the rower and strength work on the mat. I loved that we spent about half the class on the rower and half on strength work. You get some great cardio bursts, but you’ll also get some great weight training in. It’s up to you how heavy you want to go with your weights. You can always grab a couple of different sets and tailor the weight to the level of challenge you want.
I love that each class ends with the same finisher for the month because it allows you to track your progress and make sure you’re improving. In my second class of the month, I made sure to get more reps in with the finisher than I did the first time. I found that I didn’t push myself quite hard enough during the first class, but after the second class, I was dripping with sweat! The finisher was a great way to compete against me from class to class.
I went to CITYROW two days in a row and the classes were totally different from each other. One thing that was similar, though, is that both classes gave a full-body workout. The mat work targeted every body part! Plus, rowing itself is awesome because it works the whole body while being a wonderful source of cardio. I love that it’s a low impact way to get a great workout!
Lastly, I loved that the class is very metrics-based. You learn how to track your speed and power, and you actually have a target to try and hit. One of the things I didn’t like about SoulCycle was that there weren’t really any metrics to go by during class - I didn’t know if my resistance was too low or too high. But, CITYROW really gets you thinking about hitting your numbers. This helped me make sure I was pushing myself hard enough.
The difficulty of your class is going to depend on who your instructor is and how much you decide to push yourself. I found that the class offers plenty of opportunities to scale - whether it’s the number of meters rowed or how heavy your weights are. My first class was moderate and my last two classes were a little more challenging.
I’d say the CITYROW classes were relatively challenging, but not on the level of a class like CrossFit. The heaviest set of dumbbells I saw was 25 lbs. So, I can’t see a regular CrossFitter coming here and having a difficult time with the class. I left class feeling like I got a good workout even if it was nowhere close to the most challenging workouts I’ve had. I’m looking forward to trying notoriously difficult classes like Barry’s Bootcamp and ToneHouse to see how they compare to CITYROW.
CITYROW is good for a day when you want some cardio with a little weight-training mixed in. If you regularly incorporate resistance training into your workouts, you probably won’t be sore the next day.
If you consider yourself very fit or athletic, CITYROW may be good as a ClassPass or drop-in option. But you might not find it challenging enough to use as your main form of exercise. If you’re more of a beginner or just don’t want something as intense as a CrossFit, you could definitely use CITYROW as your main workout and supplement with other classes here and there.
I took a class with three different instructors - Chris, Shea, and Luis. They each had different teaching styles. I enjoyed my time with each of them, but my personal favorite was Luis! His teaching style really stood out to me. His class was the most challenging of them all and he really motivated me to push myself. I also just loved his personality and jokes. Chris stood out to me for being super inviting to those of us who were new and making sure we felt comfortable. I wish I had the chance to try a class with all of the instructors! As with any workout class, it’s important to find the instructors with the vibe that works best for you. We all have different preferences for class/teaching style!
Each of the three instructors I took a class with was super friendly! My fellow class members were also pretty friendly. I found the front desk staff to be a little less friendly. They didn’t do anything in particular; they just seemed a bit annoyed when spoken to. Not a dealbreaker for me as I think this just tends to be the vibe in a lot of NYC fitness studios.
From what I’ve seen in my three classes at CITYROW, the crowd tends to be relatively fit people who work out but aren’t juiceheads. You don’t get the stereotypical CrossFit crowd, but most people have prior workout experience. The instructors seem to have a few regulars. There’s also a pretty high transient population since this is a popular ClassPass option. I don’t get an overwhelming sense of community from this particular location. It’s probably not the best place to try and meet new people. It seems like most people come to get their workout and leave.
I didn’t feel any competitive vibes in any of the classes I took at CITYROW. While you do have metrics you’re trying to hit, you’re never really encouraged or pressured to compete with anyone else. Everyone does their own thing and competes with themselves, which I liked!
I absolutely think CITYROW is worth a try and worth the price - for the right person. I’d recommend everyone who has a location near them to try it out. With such a reasonably priced intro special, why not? Rowing is an awesome low-impact way to get your cardio in. If you’re a fan of classes like Barry’s Bootcamp that mix cardio with weights, you might consider supplementing with CITYROW to avoid too much constant pressure on the joints from the treadmill. If you’re new to working out or just want to lose weight, I think you’ll love CITYROW - it’s very beginner-friendly and provides a solid full-body workout. While the amenities leave something to be desired and the studio is a bit cramped, I think the membership pricing is fair.
Thanks so much for reading! Check out some of my other class reviews:
Les Mills BODYATTACK Review
Les Mills Barre Review
Acro Yoga Review
Les Mills BODYCOMBAT Review
So you attended training and got your certificate to teach your favorite group fitness class format! Now what?
Landing a position at a gym or studio as a group fitness instructor with no experience can be challenging, especially if you’re in an area where the market is super competitive. You may be asking yourself how the heck you’re supposed to land a class when you can’t get any experience! Don’t worry. With effort, you WILL land a class eventually. But, I have some advice that might help you get there a little easier.
Here are my tips for landing your first gig as a group fitness instructor.
Take classes at your studio of choice.
I got my most recent barre class without even really trying. I was trying ClassPass and saw that an athletic club nearby accepted it. I had always wanted to try spin classes, so I showed up to my first spin class and began talking to the instructor afterward. I happened to mention that I was a barre instructor at another gym, so she told one of the owners that I should be considered to replace their barre instructor who was leaving to go back to school. I auditioned shortly after and got the class!
By taking classes at the studio where you want to teach, you’re able to develop relationships with the instructors/staff. If they like you and know that you want to teach, there’s a good chance one of them may recommend you when a slot on the schedule opens up.
If you’re brand new and don’t have teaching experience, my recommendation is to take classes in the format you want to teach. That way, the instructor can see your abilities in that format and determine whether they can see you teaching it.
Get your fitness resume together.
If you’re like me and work in corporate America, you shouldn’t be using the same resume for fitness positions and corporate positions. I have separate resumes for fitness and full-time work, and I highly recommend you do the same. Just because you don’t have experience teaching yet doesn’t mean you can’t create a fitness resume.
Start with your certification(s). If you got a Group Fitness certification, add it to your resume. If you got a CPR/AED certification, add that too. Be sure to include any specialty certificates to teach certain formats (i.e. barre, indoor cycling, CrossFit, yoga, etc.). If you don’t have teaching experience, you can include other athletic achievements/experience you have. If you recently competed in a sport or weightlifting activity, you can include that. Maybe you’ve run a marathon or were on a dance team in college.
Your fitness resume should represent you as a person who’s passionate about fitness. Make sure you include an excellent cover letter that explains your fitness-related achievements/activities with any application you submit. Your cover letter should also explain what qualities you possess that would make you a great instructor.
Feel free to include any other activities that aren’t directly related to fitness, but demonstrate that you have the skills needed to teach. For example, include any teaching or tutoring experience showing that you have the ability to convey information to others. I included my project management certification and Spanish-speaking experience, as they may come in handy in the fitness world.
Offer to start as a sub.
Some studios don’t even realize they need sub instructors until the offer is presented to them. If the studio doesn’t have space for you on the permanent schedule, offer to be a sub instructor. I’ve recommended sub instructors for permanent slots, and you’d be surprised how often subs get called on. If you kill it as a sub, you’re bound to get a permanent class eventually (somewhere). Many instructors teach at multiple studios. So, doing a great job subbing for them could open up several opportunities for you.
Offer your services without being asked.
Many studios hire instructors by word of mouth and don’t bother making an online job posting. Don’t assume that a studio won’t hire another instructor just because they haven’t posted about it. I got one of my classes by simply sending an email with my fitness resume to the gym and telling them I was interested in teaching barre at their facility. Their barre instructor happened to be moving out of state and I got an audition. For tips on how to kill your audition, click here.
Apply in person.
If cold-emailing your resume to studios isn’t getting you anywhere, print some copies and share them in person. Personality is one of the most important parts of being a fitness instructor. When you speak to someone in person, you have a chance to let your personality shine in a way it can’t over email. The group fitness manager may not be there, but making a good impression on the staff will definitely earn you some points.
Contact your master trainer.
If you attended a group fitness instructor training, chances are you have a master trainer who conducted the training day(s). Hopefully, they gave you their contact info. They may have some connections in your area. So, thank them for training you and ask if they know of anyone looking for an instructor. Since they trained you themselves, they should be confident that you at least have the basics down! By attending training, you’ve already started building your fitness network.
Don’t give up!
If you’re in a competitive area (like NYC), you may not land your dream job in fitness at first. But if you stay persistent, you’ll eventually get your first instructor gig. You may be stuck with the class time nobody else wants or you may have to start out as a sub, but you can use these opportunities to your advantage. Eventually you’ll be deciding when and where you want to teach.
These are my tips for landing your first gig as a group fitness instructor. I hope you found them helpful! As you start working and your network starts expanding, you’ll find that more opportunities come your way.
Do you have any other tips that have helped you? Let me know in the comments!
Hey there! This week I have another fitness class review. I love trying out new classes, and there are so many cool ones out there, especially in the NYC area. I follow a lot of NYC-based fitness instructors and fitness bloggers, so I’ve been hearing a lot about BODYROK on social media. They have studio locations in California, Illinois, Montana, and NYC. If you’re interested in hearing a fitness instructor’s perspective on this class, keep on reading!
What is BODYROK?
BODYROK is a fast-paced 40-minute sculpting workout that uses a megaformer. BODYROK claims to “do in 40 minutes what other classes do in 60”. It’s a low impact workout - pretty much Pilates with music and lighting.
About the studio.
I went to the Union Square location in NYC. I was able to book my class a couple of weeks out. So you shouldn’t have to worry about setting an alarm to book for the upcoming week like you would with SoulCycle.
Some online reviews claimed that the studio was big, but I felt like it was pretty small. Yes, there are two floors, but they’re both tiny. There aren’t any showers; just cubbies downstairs to hold your belongings. I’d advise getting to class at least 15 minutes early because the locker area is small and gets really crowded. Plus, reformers in the best spots get claimed fast. The front desk was super friendly and helpful both before and after my class.
BODYROK offers a discount for first-timers. I paid $20 for my first class. The other option is $99 for 5 classes, but you have to use them all within 30 days of purchase. Since you’re not really saving anything with the 5-class option, I’d go with the $20 single-class pass if you want to try it. BODYROK is also on Classpass, which is another great way to try it!
BODYROK is on the pricier side. It’s $36 for a drop-in class if you aren’t a first time client. They offer class packages, but you aren’t really saving much by buying any of them. If you don’t want a membership commitment, your best option for saving money is 50 classes for $1,450. This breaks down to $29 a class. A bit better than the $36, but it still seems high to me. Especially since most people can’t afford to shell out that much money at one time for a workout class.
The monthly memberships don’t come in an unlimited option. They require a minimum 3-month contract, and any drop-ins beyond your monthly limit will cost you $25. 4 classes a month is $125, 8 classes a month is $220, and 12 classes a month is $300.
Is it worth the money? Keep reading to find out.
I liked my experience with BODYROK, but I didn’t love it.
If you’re new to the megaformer, this probably isn’t the class to start with. I’ve done plenty of mat Pilates, but this was my first megaformer class and I felt super lost throughout most of it. I didn’t feel like the instructor was very good at cueing. Even though the girl next to me was a regular, she seemed to be confused. She was also doing some of the moves wrong. It seemed like most of the class was lost; the instructor didn’t really know how to explain things in a way we’d understand. I’m sure that after a few classes things would become more intuitive, but I wouldn’t say it’s beginner-friendly by any means. I felt like I missed out on a lot of potentially good work because I spent half the class trying to figure out how to get into the pose/movement.
BODYROK claims to do in 40 minutes what other classes do in 60. My experience was that BODYROK attempts to do in 40 minutes what should be done in 60. There’s no real warm-up or cooldown and everything just seems really rushed. We weren’t in a lot of the moves long enough to benefit from them. Had the class been 10 to 15 minutes longer, I think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. The express-style class may work for people with tight schedules, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable relying on this as my main workout.
Another issue I had was that the workout was very uneven. For several moves, we didn’t do the same amount of work on our right side as our left, which is a pet peeve of mine. I personally prefer classes that use a set time or number of reps on each side instead of just winging it.
The class certainly wasn’t easy. If you’re experienced with the megaformer you’ll probably get a lot more out of it than I did. I was definitely sweating by the time class was over. I also like how challenging the megaformer can be.
Was I sore?
I left the class feeling like I kind of wasted my time. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized how sore my abs were! I took the class on a Saturday and didn’t feel the soreness completely go away until Monday night. This was such a pleasant surprise! Because I’m so active, I rarely get sore any more. When I do, it’s a great sign that my workout was super effective.
I didn’t feel anything anywhere else in my body - it was just my abs. But, at least I know the class was effective with the core work. I would’ve loved to have felt some soreness in my glutes/legs. Most of the class was focused on core, though, so I wasn’t expecting it anyway.
Tips for BODYROK first-timers.
Is BODYROK worth it?
BODYROK in NYC only offers the one 40-minute SCULPT class. I could see myself coming back via a service like Classpass when I’m looking for something quick and effective, especially now that I’ve gotten a little megaformer experience. I can’t say that I’d recommend buying a membership at BODYROK because I think your money would be better spent elsewhere. For the prices they charge, you can pay for an all-inclusive membership at a place like Equinox, which offers plenty of sculpting classes and much better amenities.
If you love megaformer classes or Pilates in general, I think BODYROK is a good express option for when you don’t have a full hour. As an instructor, I didn’t like that the class had no warm-up or cooldown. Even in a low impact sculpting class, they’re still important. To me, it felt like BODYROK skipped out on some of the important pieces of a workout class in order to make it 40 minutes. It felt rushed, but I got a great core workout.
BODYROK has definitely sparked my interest in megaformer classes. I’d love to see how my body responds to an hour-long class! I’m thinking I’ll try some more popular ones to get more of a full-body burn.
Thanks for reading! Do you prefer mat Pilates or reformer/megaformer classes? What are some of your favorites?
Let me know in the comments!
Happy Friday! Today’s post covers a really important topic: sticking to your exercise routine. I talk to so many people who tell me they only work out 1-2 times a month and they all have different reasons. If you don’t exercise as much as you’d like to, this post is for you! Here are my tips for developing an exercise routine and sticking with it.
Start with an achievable goal.
If you currently work out less than once a week, deciding that you’re going to work out five days a week probably doesn’t make sense. Starting with a goal that you can actually achieve makes you more likely to stick to it. If you rarely ever work out, maybe going for a walk 3 days a week is a good place to start. You can always adjust your goals to make them more challenging if you need to, but holding yourself to an unrealistic standard isn’t going to promote progress.
Find the workouts you actually enjoy doing.
One great thing about fitness is that your routine doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. I interact with a lot of runners, but I personally don’t enjoy running at this stage of my life. I’d much rather get my cardio in a spin class. Do you hate the Stairmaster? Guess what? You don’t have to use it! Most movements and workouts have an equivalent that’ll offer similar benefits. When you’re doing something you hate, the chances of you maintaining a routine are slim. But when you find a class or workout you genuinely enjoy, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it!
Try group fitness.
In 2019, there are so many different types of group fitness classes available. If you haven’t gone to a class in the last few years, understand that group fitness has changed drastically and there are options for everyone now. Some people’s perception of group fitness classes is Zumba or 80s aerobics classes. But I promise there’s so much more!
Once I became a group fitness instructor, I discovered just how much more I prefer taking classes over working out by myself. I have an instructor pushing me and fellow classmates motivating me, so I go much harder than when I’m working out alone. I also don’t have to think about what my workout for the day is going to be. My instructor takes care of that for me! Plus, classes are a great way to meet other people who can eventually become accountability partners!
I’d recommend getting a membership at a gym with a good selection of classes. CrossFit, Pilates, hot yoga, barre, HIIT, and spin classes are some of my personal favorites. A lot of inexpensive gym memberships offer Les Mills classes which are excellent, especially if you want to get stronger. I reviewed some of the Les Mills programs here. Check and see if your gym offers any of their programs!
When I’m traveling and don’t have access to my regular fitness classes, I’ll grab my laptop and put on a workout video from YouTube! POPSUGAR Fitness has some great ones you can do right from your bedroom or hotel room with no equipment.
Consider your workouts mandatory appointments.
Just like work meetings or social events, I schedule my workouts in my calendar. I use my Outlook calendar so that I get a reminder on my phone when it’s time to get ready to go. When it’s in your schedule just like other meetings, you’re less likely to skip it! Eventually, you should start to see your workouts as appointments that you can’t cancel. Of course, life happens. So, stay flexible and shuffle things around as needed.
If you’re just getting into the swing of things, try scheduling workout classes with a strict cancellation policy. That way, you’ll actually have to pay a fee if you cancel last minute or no-show! This will help keep you accountable and make sure you show up.
When I talk to people about the reasons they don’t consistently exercise, the biggest reason I hear is that they’re too busy.
This isn’t a viable excuse! Everyone is busy. We all have things going on. Some may be busier than others, but we make time for what’s important to us. If you can’t wake up an hour earlier to get a workout in, it’s because exercise isn’t a priority to you. Sometimes it’s going to require sacrifices - you may have to go to bed an hour earlier or get home a little later so you can stop at the gym. You may have to skip your daily Netflix binge or say no to happy hour on occasion.
You’re not always going to feel like getting up and doing a workout. I don’t think anyone always feels motivated to exercise. But you have to learn to push through that feeling and get it done anyway. I promise it gets easier once you find your rhythm.
If your reason for not working out is that you feel like you don’t know where to start, group fitness is perfect for you. Having an instructor and classmates to follow will be a huge help. And if you’re not feeling being in a gym setting just yet, try an at-home program.
Change your mindset.
This is sometimes easier said than done, but in order to push yourself to stick to your routine, you have to shift your mindset. Rather than thinking of exercise as something you have to do, think of it as something you get to do.
I don’t think of my workouts as punishment for something I ate or for how much I weigh. I genuinely enjoy doing them because I’m taking classes I enjoy. If I were to spend an hour running on a treadmill, I’d probably hate working out too.
Be grateful for your body. Be grateful for the ability to move, and think of your workouts as taking time for yourself to escape the craziness of life. If you dread something, don’t do it. Use trial and error to find what works for you and stick with it.
I went through a period of my life where I wasn’t active, and I’m so glad to have that behind me. I hope the tips in this post helped you reflect, even if you’re already working out consistently. These are some of the behaviors that helped me get back into a consistent routine, and I’ve been super happy with my progress!
If you end up trying any home workouts online, let me know what you think! I credit workout videos with helping me get back into a regular workout routine and keeping me active while I was constantly traveling for work.
Do you have any other tips for sticking to your workout routine? Do you prefer the gym or working out at home? What questions do you have for me about staying consistent? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, there! Today’s post is all about how to save time choreographing your barre classes. When I first started teaching barre, I found myself spending hours on end trying to come up with the right class. Along the way, I’ve developed some tips that help me quickly choreograph classes that my clients love. Every studio and instructor is different; so, all of my tips may not work for you. But I think you’ll find at least one tip you can put to use today to help you create your classes a little more effectively!
How I format my classes.
Every studio is different, and some studios require instructors to format their classes a certain way. This section only applies to instructors who have the freedom to format their classes the way they want. For example, I can do core work at any point in the class I choose.
I like to have a set order in which I go through the different sections of a class. If I want to occasionally switch it up, I may do that. But I typically don’t deviate from that order.
Having a set order allows me to easily mix and match sections from previous classes to create a “new” class. Which brings me to my next point…
Class notes storage.
I touched on this in my post where I talked about tips for your group fitness instructor audition. In my opinion, the best way to store your choreography notes is electronically. I don’t use a notebook or paper for my choreography notes at all, and here’s why.
Mixing and matching different sections of the class allows me to create a “new” class without really adding any new choreography. I can pull together a class using different series from a bunch of past classes and boom - I have a brand “new” class with hardly any extra work. But this becomes a lot more time consuming and hard to track when I have to flip through a huge notebook of notes (or multiple).
Here’s exactly what I do:
I have an armband that I wear during classes that holds my phone, which is a lot easier to glance at than a notebook on the floor. Plus, I have an electronic record of what I taught (and when) that makes it very easy to mix and match when I’m short on time.
Use outside resources.
If you’re a barre instructor, there’s a good chance you also have some awesome choreography ideas. It’s important to tap into that, but it’s also important to know that there’s no way you can come up with fresh ideas every week. It’s okay to go online and be inspired. There are tons of resources out there with excellent barre choreography ideas, both free and paid!
I was certified through Barre Above, and afterward, I decided to join their Elite program. It only costs $99 for a full year of new releases every month. I don’t get 100% of my choreography from Barre Above, but I always use at least one or two of their series in my classes. The Elite program gets you get monthly releases of different choreography styles, which I love. Every month there’s a traditional Barre Above release, a Pilates-focus release, a ballet-focus release, a musicality “to the beat” release, a HIIT/cardio release, and more. With all that fresh content being released so often, I can’t even get through it all by the time a new release is out!
I also get great free ideas from YouTube. BODYBARRE has some excellent and fun series. Their Bohemian Rhapsody Plie series is one of my clients’ favorites! There are always new ideas you can get from looking on the internet. Checking out what other people are doing will also spark you to come up with great new ideas.
Finally, take other people’s classes. I can’t stress this enough! Fitness is an ever-changing industry with new trends and movements coming out all the time. We can and should all be learning from one another. I can guarantee you there’s another instructor at your gym or studio who uses a technique you haven’t seen before. In that hour of class, you’ll get a workout AND save the hours you might have spent scouring the internet for that perfect hamstring movement using a Pilates ball. Take other people’s classes, and take them often. You’ll continue to learn new things that you can take back to your choreography sessions.
PS - Take classes outside of your format, too. Your classes will be a lot more unique and creatively designed because of it. Pilates, spin, yoga, and CrossFit have all taught me things I’ve implemented in my barre classes.
Everyone’s classes are a little different, which is one thing that makes freestyle barre classes so awesome. I personally find it so much better to use music in the foreground of my class and develop choreography to the music in my playlist. My clients like it better and catch onto moves easier. Plus, it makes things a whole lot easier for me as an instructor and choreographer. Let’s not forget that Barre is ballet-based. Even though it’s not a ballet class, adding musicality to it and getting clients to understand an 8-count makes the class better (in my opinion).
Storing notes electronically allows me to quickly create a “new” class using sections of previous classes when I’m short on time. This seriously comes in handy during busy weeks!
I’m a huge advocate of using online resources for choreography inspiration. When you find a series you like to use, you can repeat it in multiple classes to a different song to give it a new feel.
While I do try to introduce at least one or two new movements to my clients every week, I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel every class. There are lots of ways to make your classes feel new without actually spending hours coming up with new content every week.
If you’re a new instructor and you feel like you’re spending way too much time planning your classes, try some of these tips! And keep in mind that it’ll get much easier as you become more experienced.
If you’re an instructor, do you have any tips you use to save time creating classes as a group fitness instructor? How often do you use online resources for ideas?
If you take group fitness classes, do you like to have a brand new class every week? Or do you prefer some aspects of the class to be repeated?
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments! And check out the workouts I did last week.
Dominique Cheylise, 25 year-old engineer and group fitness instructor.