The name may have overtones of sadistic drill sergeants, but boot camps are a great fit for New Yorkers (We’re all a bit masochistic, right? Otherwise we would live somewhere way nicer). Expect plenty of running, squats and lunges (somewhat similar to these workout plans from New York trainers) that result in a toned body and a greater level of personal fitness.
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The former U.S. marines at this full-throttle boot camp will put you through a regime of stretching, circuit training, weight lifting, full-body muscle-building and running—both laps and up stairs. Each hour-long session also features a grueling obstacle course where you’ll hoist yourself over walls, jump hurdles, climb monkey bars and scurry up ropes like a true leatherneck. The barks from your instructors—not mean, but tough as hell—also contribute to the warfare vibe. Flexible class times (there are up to eight classes a day) at this midtown studio guarantee that you’ll be able to unleash your inner warrior no matter how busy you are. 212-967-7977, warriorfitnessbootcamp.com. Schedule varies; see website for details. Single class $60, three-class introductory package $60, 30-class package with three-month expiration $1,140, other packages available.
Circuit of Change
This mind-body twofer serves up your ass with a side of om. Founder Brian Delmonico’s roughly 20-times-a-week holistic workout integrates the fat-blasting benefits of high-intensity cardio, core strengthening, gymnastics, plyometrics and martial arts into the flexibility and meditative mental state achieved through yogic practice. The hour-long class is split into a rapid succession of intervals that includes punches, kicks and jumping jacks. Then, the mind—and thumping pulse—is calmed with challenging asanas, which sculpt the body in hard-to-tone areas like inner thighs and upper abs. Complementary events to your new regime include motivational talks, meditation groups and outdoor sessions when the weather permits. 212-255-0053, circuitofchange.com. Schedule varies, see website for details; single class $27, unlimited seven-day introductory package $35, other packages available.
Barry’s Boot Camp
Devote your sweat-a-thon to a particularly flabby muscle area (such as chest, back and abs or legs, butt and shoulders) or submit to the full-body class for a total physical upgrade. With Top 40 hits for a soundtrack, you’ll hit the treadmill for short, steep intervals, followed by resistance training and weight lifting with a focus on those pesky problem areas, then repeat several more arduous routines. Both schmancy studios provide towel service and complimentary Malin + Goetz toiletries, and an on-site Fuel Bar offers protein shakes to power your no-holds-barred workout. We like the newly opened, 3,500-square-foot Tribeca location, which features a ceiling suspension system for resistance and TRX bands. Schedule varies; visit barrysbootcamp.com for more information. Single class $32, five classes $150, other packages available.
Stacy’s Boot Camp
Held in a variety of Manhattan parks (including Central, Battery and Washington Square), founder Stacy Berman’s high-intensity cardio workout is offered as once-, twice- or three-times-a-week sessions for three weeks. Regardless of which option you choose, it’ll whip you into shape. You’ll feel the burn from countless lunges, push-ups, sprints and more lunges. Oh, and classes are held rain or shine—or snow, sleet or subzero temps. Don’t forget to bring a gallon of water, which you’ll use as a weight during those interminable lunges. Did we mention there were lunges? Locations and schedule vary; call 646-537-5466 or visit stacysbootcamp.com for more information. Three-class program $110, six-class program $210, nine-class program $275.
Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp
Choose a workout with a view: These outdoor, 60-minute classes take place in Central Park, Carl Schurz Park or on that bridge, usually three times a week during winter (unless there’s a downpour or thunderstorm). The sessions combine a 2.2-mile run with stops every three to five minutes for toning exercises that use resistance bands, benches, walls and railings to work the arms and legs. To keep your sweating behind closed doors, hit up founder Ariane Hundt’s monthlong Slim & Strong program (Various locations, visit website for details; $350), where you’ll get a fat-melting routine combining weights, resistance bands and cardio exercises—not to mention a healthy nutrition workshop and before-and-after pictures to hang on your Facebook wall. Locations and schedule vary; call 646-354-0039 or visit brooklynbridgebootcamp.com for more information. Single class $20, unlimited 30-day pass $150.
Captain Quinn’s Fitness Boot Camp
Jon Quinn’s 45-minute workout combines the physical challenges of punishing military-style boot camps (he’s a former Air Force captain) with a fun, motivating atmosphere where drill-sergeant-style yelling is replaced with quotes from the Rocky canon. The roughly 12 classes per week vary constantly, but expect challenging calisthenics such as push-ups, mountain climbers and burpees (a punishing twist on the squat thrust), while team activities like relay races build a convivial, supportive vibe. Some sessions move to Washington Park (From Fourth Ave to Sixth Ave between 3rd and 4th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; nyc.gov/parks) in the warmer months. 888-850-1674, captainquinnsbootcamp.com. Schedule varies; single class $25, unlimited montly pass $197.
Commit to this training group’s three-week program that meet twice a week at myriad outdoor and indoor locations, including Tompkins Square, Hoboken and McCarren parks (in case of inclement weather, the group relocates to a cool space such as the Chelsea Art Museum). Gymphobes will appreciate that these circuitlike workouts employ no institutional equipment, relying instead on body weight and the environment. Your pulse will spike throughout the 90-minute classes as you tackle cardio intervals and muscle-building rotations of lunges, step-ups and dips. If you want to get fit as a pair, bring your flame to Date Night Bootcamp ($60 per couple). Locations and schedule vary; call 646-460-6787 or visit bootcamprepublic.com for more information. Six-session rotation $250.
Meet a boot camp instructor
The pain: Since I had to dust actual cobwebs off my sneaks before boot camp, I wasn’t positive I would survive Ariane’s superlative Slim & Strong boot camp. We opened with 100 jumping jacks; bouncing up and down with my 25 fellow exercisers, I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the lone runt in a flock of ripped amazons—we were of all shapes and sizes. As I alternated between ass-busting cardio moves (running in place, an evil squat–jumping-jack amalgam) and calisthenics that set my muscles ablaze (toe taps, more types of lunges than I knew existed), Ariane motivated me by describing each move’s specific purpose. Those resistance bands around my ankles that made me feel like a waddling duck as I performed squats? “They get rid of saddlebags!” she shouted. Forty-eight hours later, I’m hobbling around on debilitatingly sore calves—and planning to sign up for seconds.
The gain: “We promise a changed body in five sessions, the result of high-intensity interval training and the calories [the body burns] in the 24 to 48 hours after the workout. Boot campers can expect to see defined arms and shoulders, a firm waist and flat abs, a round and lifted butt, a stronger back and leaner legs. The benefits go beyond a lean, toned and defined body; physical fitness equals mental and emotional fitness. My classes take participants out of their comfort zone. They realize that their limits are only self-imposed, and that they can achieve what they put their mind to. Participants report a boost in self-esteem, feeling better in their skin and greater energy. Plus, they make friends with encouraging people who support their desire to become the best person they can be. Physical strength transforms not just your body, but your outlook on life.”—Ariane Hundt, 36, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp