The Financial District does not lack for gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers. Blink Fitness, Crunch, Equinox, New York Sports Clubs, New York Health & Racquet, and Planet Fitness are among the multi-activity gyms in the area that offer weight training, cardio, and a variety of classes. But the neighborhood also has its fair share of specialized fitness offerings, for those who want a break from walking a treadmill or lifting weights.
180 Maiden Lane, Third Floor
ChaiseFitness’s patented Reinvention Method combines Pilates, ballet, and strength training to provide a total workout designed to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles without bulking them up. The signature class, Chaise Reinvention, uses proprietary fitness chairs (though you won’t be sitting back and relaxing on them) and overhead bungee cords to engage all parts of the body. Other classes include Chaise BalletBungee, sure to appeal to anyone who ever wanted to be a prima ballerina, and ChaisePedal, which uses stationary bikes.
80 Pine Street, First Floor
As the company’s name suggests, the ballet barre is an integral element of a Pure Barre workout—not surprising given that the studio was founded by a dancer/choreographer. As with ChaiseFitness, the goal is to sculpt lean but strong muscles while providing a total body workout. In any of the signature 55-minute classes novices can be seen stretching and bending alongside long-time devotees; there are no beginner or advanced classes, though you can participate in additional 75-minute intensives designed to give extra attention to particular body parts such as abs and thighs.
In addition to a ballet barre, Pure Barre classes make use of light weights, balls, and tubes.
[Image: Chandler Thompson/Flickr]
75 Wall Street, Suite 33F
If you are interested in Pilates but too intimidated to join a class, consider personal Pilates training with Matthew R. Cole at his studio, Sculpt New York. A former dancer (he toured as Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats), Cole will personalize your regimen and show you how to achieve the muscle-toning and flexibility benefits of Pilates without the specialized equipment that prevents many people from starting. What’s more, he offers prenatal training too.
101 Maiden Lane
A common complaint of those who exercise via stationary bikes is that over time doing so becomes boring. That is not likely to be the case with a SoulCycle class, thanks to the addition of hand weights, core work, fast-paced music, and high-energy instructors. The signature SoulCycle class (or “ride,” in SoulCycle parlance) is 45 minutes; advanced classes can run as long as 90 minutes. SoulCycle has also introduced modified sessions for kids ages 12 and up.
139 Fulton Street, Suite 133
East meets West at Square Circle: The studio specializes in Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, and in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Called the Art of Eight Limbs because it entails kicking and elbow and knee strikes along with punches, Muay Thai emphasizes mental as well as physical conditioning. Brazilian jiu-jitsu draws upon Japanese jiu-jitsu and judo and is as much a self-defense technique as it is a martial art. Square Circle offers classes for various levels of expertise as well as kids’ Muay Thai instruction.
15 Broad Street
Many people find it challenging to achieve mindfulness and serenity while in a large yoga class of strangers. If you are one of them, a private class might be the solution. Roni Weissman-Gerard teaches private classes, at either her YogaRoni Therapy studio or your home, and she will tailor the sessions to your specific needs and pace. You can also book classes for you and a friend or for a group of friends. In addition, Weissman-Gerard teaches children, including those with special needs; not only is she certified to work with those under the age of 16, but she also has a master’s degree in psychology.