Summer is around the corner, and we can't wait for the onslaught of ice cream, rooftop bars and beach eats that it brings. But the proverbial lazy days don't have to be, well, lazy: Those warm-weather indulgences will taste all the sweeter after an ass-kicking from a killer workout. And while we'll happily help you hunt down the best gyms in the city, right now we're betting you'd rather be outside. Not to worry—these fitness classes offer a healthy dose of endorphins with a side of vitamin D.
RECOMMENDED: Find the best NYC fitness classes and gyms
Outdoor fitness classes
North Brooklynites can get their fitness fix before the loungers descend on McCarren Park, thanks to this twice-a-week HIIT class. Instructor Tim Haft's signature workout combines calisthenics, plyometrics (read: jumping), running and other drills into a high-energy hour-long workout that's touted for increasing speed, agility and strength, among other benefits. While drop-ins are welcome, sign up for an eight-week session to get to know your brethren in sweat—and toast your accomplishment at a "Beast Bash" at the end of the program. We'll take that over DailyBurn in a cramped living room any day.
McCarren Park, Brooklyn (beastanetics.com). Tue, Thu 6:45–7:45am, 8–9am. Single class $15, eight-week session (16 classes) $160. Advance registration recommended. Through Nov 12.
Forget the latest trademarked exercise gimmick: BodieSynergy founder and New Zealand native Joanna Paterson promotes "organic fitness" by leading clients through Prospect Park's geographical features—those grassy hills, stone steps and picnic tables that visitors love to lazily enjoy—to add resistance to simple body-weight movements and make use of fresh oxygen while jogging. No two workouts are ever the same as every session utilizes a new space, and Paterson urges clients to leave the park exactly as they found it. In addition to its signature boot camp, BodieSynergy also offers stroller-friendly workouts for parents plus kettlebell training for extra strength conditioning.
Meet at Prospect Park West and 15th St (bodiesynergy.com). Various times; single class $20.
Brick New York
Get a taste for Brick New York's CrossFit or its slightly less intense signature B/X classes, which combine fast-paced cardio with weight training, with these hour-long "Flash WODs" (that's "workout of the day" for the uninitiated), which are announced a few days ahead on social media. Meet at the specific site or the studio before jogging over as a group (the location info will specify): Past destinations have included Bethesda Fountain, Pier 26 and Randalls Island, where instructors lead an all-levels workout that incorporates CrossFit and B/X moves with modifications. Best of all, these outdoor WODs are completely free and require no advance registration. Just show up!
257 W 17th St (646-692-4005, bricknewyork.com). Various times; free.
Circuit of Change
Just in time for the gorgeous weather, this Chelsea wellness studio offers the chance to experience its popular Mind Body Bootcamp while surrounded by nature (or as close as New York City can allow) in the waterside expanse of Pier 46. Unlike the nonstop indoor iteration, which is barefoot, these outdoor workouts require sneakers and are broken into intervals that combine cardio, yoga, boxing and martial-arts moves—with hydration breaks from the blazing sun. Bring your own mat and water, and be sure to register in advance as these outdoor boot camps can’t accommodate drop-ins.
Pier 46, West St at Charles St (212-255-0053, circuitofchange.com). Mon–Wed at 6:45pm; single class $29. Through October.
Training for a race? An Iron Man? The stamina to go on a five-borough pizza crawl? NYC Endurance has you covered. Run by a trio of lifelong athletes, the program is built on a foundation of running and CrossFit methods (don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds). You'll be treated to 60 minutes of challenging intervals, plus targeted exercises to improve performace—everything is done at your own pace, so newbies and seasoned marathoners alike are promised a pavement-pounding good time.
Meet at the Olmsted Flower Bed at Central Park (nycendurance.com). Tue at 6:30pm; single class $20. Advance registration recommended.
If your morning spirit animal is less early bird and more hibernating bear, free (yes, free) fitness meet-up the Rise is here to give you an A.M. boost. The crack-of-dawn workouts meet every weekday in various locations: Monday HIIT in Washington Square Park; Tuesday "Brooklyn Body Circuit" at Grand Army Plaza; Wednesday core workout in Bryant Park; Thursday "Kings of Queens" boot camp in MacDonald Park in Forest Hills; and Friday hill running on the Williamsburg Bridge. You'll get your heart pumping before most people even hit snooze—and you might just become a morning person in the process.
Various locations (therisenyc.com). Mon–Fri at 6:30am; free.
Fluorescent lighting and reruns of Friends at the gym leaving you less than inspired? Give your workouts a backdrop worthy of your exertion with Train P3, which meets Saturdays in Central Park this summer. The group sessions feature dynamic movements using your own body weight as resistance, drawing from diverse disciplines including parkour and martial arts (think handstands, plank variations and core-torching balance exercises). While you may find yourself sweating next to a few professional acrobats and dancers, everything is scalable to accommodate the less athletic. Take advantage of the lush surroundings while you can—classes move indoors in November.
Meet at the Central Park Bandshell or Bethesda Fountain (trainp3.com). Sat 11am–12:15pm; first class $25, single class $49, four classes $157. Advance registration required. Through October.
Want to perfect your lotus pose without wasting a beautiful day in the city? In temperatures of 68 degrees and up, head to this cozy Midtown East studio where you can keep up your hatha or vinyasa practice in Yo Yoga!'s outdoor sessions on its private roof deck, whose slightly uneven surface creates an extra challenge for your planks and chaturungas. And forget about any flimsy weather excuse; in the event of inclement weather, classes simply move indoors.
344 E 59th St, third floor (646-490-7790, yoyoganyc.com). Various times; single class $20.
Work on your sun salutations while taking in the actual sunset at the rooftop farm's Monday evening yoga series. Bring your own mat and head up to the open-air patio, where Sarah Schumann, owner of Shambhala Yoga & Dance in Prospect Heights, leads you through a 60-minute all-levels asana practice. Through meditation and movement, you'll work out the day's stress as the sun drops behind the Manhattan skyline. Want to go even deeper with your practice? You'll have three chances during the season (July 15, August 19 and September 23) to attend special sound-meditation classes, each dedicated to a different chakra. Summer's looking more blissful already.
Brooklyn Grange at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave, Building 3 (brooklyngrangefarm.com). Mon at 6:30pm; single class $16, six classes $75. Advance registration required. Photo ID required for entry. June 1–Sept 28.
In Astoria, just off the bustling shopping district of Steinway Street, lies a hidden treasure. Gaijin, meaning “outside person” in Japanese, is an apt moniker for Chef Mark Garcia’s modern take on Japanese food. Garcia and co-owner Jay Zheng met working in Chicago restaurants and planned for five years to open their own place. They brought their ideas—and nearly their entire staff—to the Big Apple for a soft opening last October. The staff look chic in crisp white button-downs and leather suspenders, with jaunty newsboy caps for the cooks. Jazzy pop provides unobtrusive background music for diners. The appetizers are divided into cold and hot plates and should not be ignored. The steak tartare ($21) topped with herbs and a diminutive quail egg is a religious experience. Sesame and paper-thin scallions give the raw meat an almost charred taste. Once a special, the bone marrow ($14), a cross-cut bone sprinkled with charred scallion, Chinese onion and parsley, is now a mainstay. Scoop out clouds of gelatinous joy to spread on griddled baguette with a tiny wooden spoon. A tuna flight ($24) offers three levels of fattiness—akami, chutoro and otoro—all superb. And in one of the most innovative presentations ever, three toothsome gyoza ($8) arrive attached, as part of a single pancake. The sleek, modern eatery seats 30, including eight chairs at the long, white sushi bar where Garcia holds court, turning out exquisite, jewel-like pieces of sashimi and nigiri with delightful topp
Venue says: “Gaijin is a modern Japanese inspired restaurant serving fresh fish from the Tsukiji market, Japan and robata delicacies with binchotan.”