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Fun and cool fitness classes to stay in shape in NYC

There's no need to dread your workout with these unique fitness classes, including parkour and rave-themed yoga sessions

Photograph: Rob Cleary

You already know where to find Spinning classes, boot camps and CrossFit gyms, but try these enjoyable fitness classes to move in a new way and freshen up your workout routine. These workouts are so fun, social and even boozy, you'll barely realize you're exercising.

RECOMMENDED: Find the best NYC fitness classes and gyms

Willkommen Deep House Yoga

Even club kids need a little serenity sometimes, and underground dance-music mecca Verboten makes sure they don’t have to venture outside their bass-heavy comfort zone. Every Monday and Tuesday, the venue hosts visiting yoga instructors, from local studios like Yoga Vida and Prana to venues farther afield such as D.C.’s Embrace Yoga, for vinyasa flow and other practices backed by the beats of DJs Tasha Blank and George Faya. Oh, and Verboten’s kick-ass sound system sure as hell beats the stereo you’re used to at the Y. Trippy video projections, prismatic lights and a twinkling disco ball complete the rave-meets-relaxation vibe. 54 North 11th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-223-4732, verbotennewyork.com). Mon 7pm, 8:30pm; Tue 1pm, 7pm, 8:30pm; $20. Mats complimentary.

305 Fitness

Ever woken up after a late night shaking it on the dance floor and realized your legs and abs (and head) are killing you? Grooving to the right music totally makes you forget you’re actually working out. Which is why we dig this bangin’ session, where you can quell those “I can’t dance unless I’m drunk!” insecurities with easy-to-follow, DJ-fueled dance sequences interspersed with conditioning and resistance moves like jumping jacks and lunges. (Trust us, you’ll be too busy getting down—and getting your heart rate up—to feel self-conscious.) Classes currently take place at two temporary locations in Manhattan. Complete Body, 22 W 19th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-777-7719, completebody.com); Mon–Fri. PMT Dance, 69 W 14th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-924-5694, pmthouseofdance.com); Sat, Sun. 305fitness.com. Individual class $24 (new clients get three classes for $36), five-class pack $115.

The Cobra Club

So, it’s not so much a gym as it is a bar—and a coffeeshop and music venue—but we definitely dig this Bushwick joint’s motto: “Yoga for your dark side. Spirits for your soul.” Also, how could a place you can work out in Bushwick not serve drinks and have a performance space? Classes take place in a dedicated studio room and include the why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-sooner Metal Yoga—yep, that’s yoga set to head-banging tunes—with Saskia Thode (Sun 3pm, Wed 6:30pm). After you’ve loosened your limbs, reward your hard work with a Counter Culture coffee and a Dough doughnut, or if those sun salutations didn’t quite take the edge off, a beer-and-shot special for six bones should do the trick. Hey, it’s all about balance, right? 6 Wyckoff Ave between Jefferson and Troutman Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (917-719-1138, cobraclubbk.com). Single class $10–$13, five-class pack $60, ten-class pack $115.

Morning Gloryville

This monthly, up-with-the-sun ritual kicks off at 6:30am and boasts a bumping dance floor powered by big-name DJs (including Eli Escobar and the Wolf + Lamb crew) and resident spinner Tasha Blank. If you need a gentler introduction to the whole EDM-before-noon concept, warm up with yoga: There are usually three 20-minute sessions at the beginning of each shindig led by local yogis, such as Inhale Yoga’s Rikki Rivkah and Acro Yoga’s Anna Farkas. Other eye-opening amenities include coffee, smoothies and “wake-up massage stations.” (Can we start having these everywhere, please?) Various locations and times. Visit facebook.com/morninggloryvillenyc for details. 6:30–10:30am; $15–$22.50

Shack Track & Field

In fitness, it’s common knowledge that it’s good to have a goal to work toward, like a 10K run or a high-school reunion. In a pinch, though, a burger and fries can be a damn good motivator. Enter Shake Shack’s free workout club, which meets at the burger joint’s Battery Park City outpost (215 Murray St between North End Ave and West St; reverberationradio.com), as well as JackRabbit Sports for three- to five-mile runs on the second Tuesday of every month. If cycling’s more your speed, the UWS JackRabbit Sports serves as the start for a 40-plus–mile bike ride on the first Saturday. And on third Saturdays, book it to the front of the original Shack at Madison Square Park for an hour-long yoga session. (Got all that?) All workouts end with some grub and a round with your fellow food-driven pals—one beer, wine or nonalcoholic drink is on the house. We’ll take that over Gatorade any day. Visit facebook.com/shacktrackandfield for details. Free.

Uplift Studios

Sorry, dudes, this one’s just for the ladies—who apparently love to get sauced. On Friday evenings, when a drink sounds a lot more appealing than wrangling yourself into a sports bra, the women-only gym offers a little extra incentive: HIIT—that’s high-intensity interval training—Happy Hour combines intense cardio drills with light-resistance training, while the slower-paced Strength Happy Hour employs heavier weights to work all muscle groups until they feel like Jell-O. Each class comes with a glass of wine afterward, so you can commiserate with your classmates about that last brutal round of burpees. 24 W 23rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, second floor (212-242-3103, upliftstudios.com). Happy Hour Fri 5:30pm, 6:30pm. Single class $32 (new clients get two classes for $32), five-class pack $150.

Swerve Fitness

If your idea of bonding with friends is whooping their butts in poker/fantasy football/shuffleboard, this studio, which stands out even in NYC’s increasingly saturated sea of cycling gyms, will quench your thirst for competition. Classes are divided into three teams that race during set intervals, with digital scoreboards showing which team’s taking the lead. Recovery periods of varying intensity and a free-weight arm segment round out the 45-minute sweatfest. Afterward, brag about your pedal prowess with your bicycling brethren (and sistren), and refuel at the smoothie bar in the sizable front lounge. If you want to feel extra fancy, you can even preorder one of the fruit-and-protein shakes ($8) and have it waiting for you after class. You’ll get your individual stats—including your team and class ranks, and calories burned—e-mailed to you, and the team spirit goes well beyond the bike: Bring a first-time friend and get a free ride, or share your stats on social media for the chance to win a five-pack. 30 W 18th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-242-3330, swervefitness.com). Single ride $30 (new clients get two rides for $30), five-ride pack $145.

Studio in the Sky

Get ready to stick your landing at the 92nd Street Y’s rooftop gymnastics facility with three offerings aimed at grown-ups. Total newbies should start with the Cardio Tumbling class, which teaches bouncing, twisting and flipping on a tumble track, mini trampolines and spring-loaded floor, and uses a foam pit to ensure soft dismounts. To get your heart racing faster, make time for the Gymnastic Conditioning Boot Camp, which promises circuit training–style rotations on the track, rope climbs and other pulse-pounding challenges. Those with some experience can up the ante and opt for the All-Around Gymnastics Workout, which teaches skills on the floor, balance beam, uneven bars and vault. 1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd St (212-415-5710, 92y.org/studiointhesky). Schedule varies; Open work-outs $20 for 2 hours, gymnastics classes $25, trial pass $15.

Gridiron Workout

Fall means it’s time to break out the ol’ pigskin, and right on cue, Brooklyn-based gym chainlet Harbor Fitness has thought up a football-inspired alternative that comes with zero risk of getting tackled. Taught by high school football coach Sydney Joseph or Jay Dantzler, a cornerback from women’s pro team the New York Sharks, the sessions—held once a week at the Park Slope location—blend training drills and game moves. Participants rotate a football from side to side while lying on a bouncy fitness orb; go from a squatting position to a high jump and back down, over and over again; and scramble along the floor on their hands and knees (using gliding discs). Some themed classes, timed to events like Thanksgiving or the Super Bowl, even divide attendees (who are encouraged to sport their favorite team’s jersey) in two groups for some lighthearted competition. Locations and schedule vary; visit harborfitness.com. Day pass $20, membership starts at $59/month, first-time visitors with a local ID can get a free three-day pass.


This Tribeca studio opened in November 2012 with a focus on exercising with grin-inducing trampolines, and now offers three airborne options meant to make you sweat while taking it easy on tender joints and spines. Studio founder Montserrat Markou claims the long-term health benefits of “rebounding” include increased production of red blood cells, lower blood pressure and even (TMI alert) more regular bowel movements. We’re not doctors, but we do enjoy throwing on neon attire and spending 45 minutes hopping up and down to Top 40 tunes in JumpDance’s nightclub-lite setting. At JumpGym, the party gets dialed back and the focus shifts to lifting weights on the bouncing platform. 404 Broadway between Canal and Walker Sts, second floor (212-966-2604, jump-life.com). Schedule varies; single class $28, first time offer of three classes for $55, packages available.


Emily K
Emily K

Try synchronized swimming! New classes beginning in January in Park Slope.  Experienced synchronized swimmers teach the fundamentals to beginners and plan a challenging workout for experienced swimmers.  COED! 

Rob D
Rob D

For a one-stop-shop for finding classes at independent studios in NYC, check out www.fitfav.com. Classes range from spinning, yoga and pilates to bootcamp, martial arts or even hiphop! You can book same-day and next-day classes at prices up to 50% off compared to the regular list price. www.fitfav.com is ideal for New Yorkers not wanting to commit to a gym membership as well as to folks visiting the city and wanting to squeeze in a workout.