Women

Description: Fitist

The program

First isn’t a gym or class but rather is an online concierge to help you look classes at over 40 boutique exercise studios in both New York and L.A. (and it will be expanding to other major U.S. cities). Create an account for three, and purchase a flexible membership for admittance to the best yoga, Pilates, spinning, and boot-camp studios – all accessible with one click on FITiST’s streamlined sign-up system.

Fitist.com

Editor’s take

Bored by (and often skipping) the elliptical at my gym, I challenge myself to the FITiST Slim Plan, consisting of a mix of 18 class credits, from yoga to Krav Maga, that expire in just a month. The site couldn’t be easier to navigate, and scheduling is a cinch – no need to register at individual studios. Though the plan isn’t cheap, averaging about $27 per class, it’s actually a deal; booked individually through each studio; classes would be upward of $40 per session.

Results

The yoga classes are great, and I fall in love with a butt-kicking barre-Pilates hybrid studio, SLT. My newfound appreciation for group fitness even inspires me to try out the classes at my gym. Unfortunately the spin classes that fit my schedule fill up in seconds, and I only use one performance-class credit (turns out I’m more om than hi-yah!). FITiST fulfilled its promise of easy access to awesome studios, but next time I’ll consider flex classes instead of a predetermined plan.

Intensity

Description: Intensity

Crossfit

Description: Crossfit

The program

This hard-core workout focuses on strength training through varying “Workouts of the Day”. Whether it’s flipping tires, jumping rope, or swinging kettlebells, CrossFit is a military-style, high-intensity, push-till-you-puke routine that’s developed a huge following nationwide and even has competitions. About $200 per month gets you unlimited access to classes with CrossFit trainers.

Crossfit.com

Editor’s take

On my walk to work, I noticed hordes of Brad Pitt-in-Fight Club-type hotties pouring out of a CrossFit gym. That’s all the motivation I needed to sign up. It look me a solid four months to get comfortable doing the Workout of the Day (I accidentally sledgehammered my knee doing a move incorrectly), but as the weeks went on I got stronger and faster. Although the classes are competitive, there also is a huge sense of community – and plenty of eye candy.

Results

The workouts are extremely tough (I still get nauseated), but empowering. Although I didn’t drop weight, CrossFit totally changed my body in only a few months. I finally have great abs, a nice butt, and defined arms – but don’t resemble a bodybuilder. I go twice a week for an hour-long class and focus now on increasing the number of reps I do, not upping the weight. There’s nothing glamorous about CrossFit, but it gets the job done better than anything I’ve tried before.

Intensity

Description: Intensity

Trancy Anderson method

Description: Trancy Anderson method

The program

The Tracy Anderson body-teeny tiny but strong – isn’t built on shortcuts. Hard-core followers commit to two hours a day, six days a week. Sessions combine at least 60 minutes of conditioning exercises and signature Tracy Anderson choreography, designed to avoid repetitive motion. New moves are introduced every 10 days to keep muscles engaged.

Tracyandersonmethod.com

Editor’s take

At the Los Angeles studio, my measurements are taken and I discuss fitness goals with a trainer. I’m looking to streamline my lower body, a challenge no prior regimen has met. In addition to cardio classes, I’m prescribed high reps of mat work and lengthening exercises on a Pilates-like reformer to target my hips, butt, and thighs. During cardio classes, I alternate between jumping around and checking the clock, but as my waist starts to shrink, my altention span quickly grows.

Results

By weeks four, the Tracy Anderson Method feels less like a time suck and more like something to look forward to. (Nicole Richie, a fellow TAM-er, now nods hello when she sees me.) At week two, I noticed a flatter stomach. And now I can finally change the watercooler jug without breaking a sweat. My day job keeps me from logging as many studio hours as I’d like, but even so, I swear my lower body looks tighter and more toned.

Intensity

Description: Intensity

True Pilates New York

Description: True Pilates New York

The program

There are many riffs on Pilates (Yogalates, Fusion Pilates, etc.), but the most authentic experience can be found at studios like True Pilates New York that teach the original method devised by Joseph Pilates in the 1930s and ‘40s. The emphasis is on exercises performed on apparatuses, such as the Reformer or Electric Chair, which provide resistance via pulleys and springs to deliver simultaneous strengthening and stretching.

Truepilatesny.com

Editor’s take

Joseph Pilates once pledged that “in 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference. In 20, you’ll see the difference. And in 30, you’ll have a whole new body”. I put it to the test with 30 one-hour private classes at True Pilates (Mr. Pilates’ original studio) over 10 weeks. After spending the first few sessions flummoxed by such instructions as “Get out of your shoulders”, I was soon using muscles I didn’t know I had. Pilates is about small, precise movements, so as a clumsy, slapdash person, I loved how it forced me to be patient and focus.

Results

In the same way that learning Latin helps with understanding other languages, Pilates gave my body a working vocabulary that has been useful in other areas of my life. I didn’t lose any weight, and no, I don’t have a brand-new body, but I do have a better one – my posture and coordination have improved, I feed more nimble and energized, and that niggling lower-back pain I used to get from hunching over my computer is blessedly gone.

Intensity

Description: Intensity

 

 

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