Contrary to my blog moniker, I am not purely a barre gal. Although barre is still my workout of choice I like to mix things up with a little Megaformer, a little spinning, some running and a nice dose of high intensity interval training (HIIT). So I was super excited to hear that the Fhitting Room, a new HIIT studio would be opening in my neighborhood earlier this year. Being pregnant at the time I chose to (wisely) wait till after the baby to check out this new method. The reviews started coming in and they were stellar and I was itching to try this class. Today, six and a half weeks post my c-section (when I had my beautiful new baby boy), I took my first class at this studio and loved it!
The studio’s concept is all about utilizing functional body movements, like squatting, jumping, pulling and in order to do this the classes utilize lots of “toys” to play with. Kettlebells, plyo boxes, rowing machines, TRX-like suspension bands, weighted medicine balls, as well as free weights line one wall of the studio.
I chose to take my first class with Eric Salvador, the head instructor, and Amanda Butler, who was assisting him. Before class Eric gave a mini-tutorial on the proper form for a kettlebell swing. That set the stage for this class. Form, above anything else, is key. The class started with a warm up of jumping jacks and mountain climbers and then headed into a circuit consisting of a pushup/dumbell row/burpee/overhead press combo followed by reverse planks using the suspension bands, and ending with using the kettlebell to do a side press. Each exercise was performed for 45 seconds before moving onto the next one. Another circuit involved dividing the class up into teams of three with one person using the rowing machine, while another person performed jumps on the plyo box and the third person did Russian twists using the weighted medicine ball. I hate plyo boxes. They always end up irritating my knee so I did walk-ups when it was my turn. I noticed that most of the class was doing walk-ups so I didn’t feel too bad.
Can I say that I loved the rowing machine?! Back in the day when I used to go to a regular gym I avoided the rowing machine like the plague. It just looked so boring. But here, as part of this circuit, I was feeling my heart racing and absolutely loving it! The final circuit consisted of a 6 minute period where we had to do a series of 10 kettlebell swings, 10 reps of plank to push-up and 10 sit ups as many times as we could. The class felt like a lead-up to this final sprint and at the end of it I felt amazing.
So here’s what I liked about the class:
1. Small size: The class is capped at 12 participants and so there’s no elbow-rubbing with the person next to you.
2. High instructor to participant ratio: Each class has 2 instructors so someone is always checking up on you to make sure you are doing it right.
3. Focus on form: This carries over from my second point. I have used kettlebells inappropriately in the past and that resulted in lower back pain. None of that happening here where not only did we get a tutorial on kettlebells prior to class but had our form checked upon meticulously throughout the class.
4. The instructors: Eric and Amanda were great. Warm, motivating, and energetic. They knew the regulars but the made the newbies feel just as welcome.
5. Freebies: Free water and towels (and hair-ties for the ladies).
What I didn’t like:
1. Lack of showers: In NYC where space is a premium this isn’t a deal-breaker. But it does make it hard to take class right before going to work. There is a bathroom but no showers or a place to change into your workout gear so come dressed to workout!
2. Transition between exercises: This was my only criticism with the class and this may have just been specific to my class as there were newbies in my class but I felt that there was a tad too much transition time between exercises. For me that translates to more “rest time”, and those that know me know that I don’t like rest in my workout. I’m masochistic like that! The transitions between the exercises were when the instructors explained the exercises or moved equipment around to prepare for the next circuit. One suggestion is to have the class do some form of light cardio while the instructors are moving around equipment or explaining the next circuit in order to keep heart rates high. Just my two cents.
Overall, the Fhitting Room is an awesome new addition to the neighborhood. I had such a blast that I’m going back tomorrow!