It's the New York way: Why make a commitment when you can pick and choose? And what an array of fitness classes Gotham has to offer, from bootcamp training to yoga and candlelit Spinning sessions. There's even an Italian treadmill workout (the treadmill is smaller and sleeker than US machines, but you could've guessed that, right?). You don't have to sign on the dotted line to take any of these fitness classes—but watch out, you might just find yourself falling in love.
RECOMMENDED: Find the best NYC fitness classes and gyms
During this one-hour slot, half of the participants run, sprint and jog on treadmills while the other half do floor work (squats, free-weight lifts, ab exercises)—switching every 15 minutes. And no, the teacher doesn’t rip on you. The exception is Joe Buffa—if you start slacking, he might yell, “Remember, you skipped brunch for this! Prove that it was worth it!” 135 W 20th St at Sixth Ave (646-559-2721) • 1 York St between Sixth Ave and St. Johns Ln (646-569-5310) •barrysbootcamp.com. Times vary; $34.
Fitwalker at Superstar Gym
This group class is hugely popular in Italy, and it’s finally made its way stateside. There’s a sense of European ease to it, meaning it’s more “do as you can” than “go big or go home.” All the magic happens on an Italian treadmill (a smaller, slightly sleeker version of what we’re used to). Each machine is rigged with resistance bands for your arms and serves as a step for jumping, leg lifts and other aerobic moves. 452 Washington St between Desbrosses and Watts Sts (855-782-7496, superstargym.com). Times vary; $30
Heliummm Aerial Dance
Strengthen your core, arms, legs and abs as you hang from a silk ribbon attached to the ceiling. Instructor Heather Hammond is an award-winning international aerialist, and classes are broken up by skill level, so you’ll get the right amount of attention. Hype Gym, 480 Second Ave at 27th St • Embody Language Studio, 241 Bedford Ave between North 3rd and 4th Sts, suite 7, Williamsburg, Brooklyn • 917-280-2611, heliummm.com. Times vary; $35. Book through timeout.com/nyclasses.
“Train Like a Tribute” Hunger Games Workout at New York Sports Club
Want to be a badass like Katniss? Navigate your way through 12 HG-inspired challenges (like the Katniss Killers bow workout), switching stations each time the Head Gamemaker rings the gong. 61 W 62nd St between Broadway and Columbus Ave (212-265-0995, mysportsclubs.com/regions). Mon 1:30pm, Fri noon; free for members and nonmembers.
Xtend Barre Brooklyn Heights
The first NYC branch of this franchise (which has locations in Japan, Brazil and elsewhere) opens January 15. What makes these one-hour classes different from other barre exercises is their heavy emphasis on Pilates and dance, so you’ll fine-tune your core but also get a full-body cardio workout. 147 Remsen St between Clinton and Court Sts, second floor, Brooklyn Heights (718-522-2580, xtendbarrebh.com). Times vary; $32.
Don't let the instructors’ backgrounds fool you. (Rebecca founded a yoga group for female trauma survivors; Jack discovered his Zen after a big injury made him reexamine his values.) The vibe here is less heavy, more warm and inviting. Plus, each session is only five bucks, and you don’t even have to register—all classes are first-come, first-served. 32-02 Broadway between 33rd and 34th Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-626-0680, yogaagora.com). Times vary; $5 (or pay what you can).
Think of this 45-minute exercise as Spinning-meets-therapy-meets-séance. Soulcycle takes place in a dark, candlelit room, and the instructor shouts out orders as well as life advice like “Don’t let Monday own you!” Expect calming music (Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac, other non-fist-pump-worthy acts) to soundtrack your sweat. The cycling gets intense (though each leader does offer easier options for newbies), and at the end, you use free weights located under your bike. Various locations and times (soul-cycle.com); $34.
As the title implies, classes are 57 minutes long—and designed to burn up to 700 calories. Start with Intro to Physique 57, then move on to the system’s signature sessions, divided iby skill level (beginner, mixed, intermediate and advanced). Physique57 is a combo of cardio (dancing, jogging), strength training and ballet barre work, all proven to improve your flexibility and endurance, not to mention seriously tone your muscles. Various locations and times (physique57.com); $36.
AKT in Motion
To appreciate this Upper East Side fitness haven, which opened this fall, zero in on its staff. Founder Anna Kaiser is a well-known celebrity trainer (her clients include Sarah Jessica Parker and Shakira) who worked with fitness guru Tracy Anderson before busting out on her own. Plus, all of her AKT instructors are certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and have a minimum of five years’ experience as professional dancers. Classes are 60 or 90 minutes long and focus on yoga, dance, strength training and plyometrics moves (that’s a fancy fitness phrase for jumping). 244 E 84th St at Second Ave, fourth floor (212-858-0305, aktinmotion.com). Various times; 60min class $35, 90min class $45.
The Fhitting Room
Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a gym by its appearance. Exhibit A: The Fhitting Room, whose squishy green minigolfesque floor does not mean you are there to meander your way through funland. Rather, each of its 50-minute sweatathons is all about high-intensity interval circuits, which basically add up to a grueling obstacle course. For example, you might do five-minute routines of dumbbell jumping jacks, kettlebell (U-shaped dumbbell) swings and ab work on the floor—and then repeat three times. The idea: You do a whole bunch of exercises in a row, all designed to target different areas of your body, so you end up with a well-rounded workout. Oh, and unless you’re a pro, you also get incredibly sore. 1166 Lexington Ave between 80th and 81st Sts (212-722-1166, fhittingroom.com). Various times; $35.