I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile now and I’m happy I finally have a chance to share with you my review on Physique 57, a barre-based fitness class in NYC and L.A. I started going to Physique 57 back in 2008 and have been hooked ever since! I even used Physique to help me get toned before my wedding.
So, whats to love about Physique 57? Practically everything! When you first walk in to Physique you will be welcomed by their friendly staff (seriously, I don’t know how they are always so perky!). If it is your first time, they will get you completely set up and comfortable.
Class is 57 minutes long (hence the name-that and their main studio is located on 57th street between 5th and 6th Aves) and set to fun and motivating music. Physique’s philosophy is to work your muscles until the point of fatigue and to achieve that the class is structured to focus on one body part at a time and performing high reps until you feel the burn (aka you feel like you are going to die and all you want to do is stop!).
After a short warm up of lifting your knees to your chest while moving your arms to get your heart pumping, we move immediately to arms. I use an 8lb weight but beginners may want to start with 4 or 5lbs and work their way up. Remember, you are lifting weights until you are fatigued which means they are going to start to feel heavy fast! While performing a million different permutations of bicep curls, you’ll be pulsing in your plies and holding squat positions. This boosts your heart rate and really gets you warm for the rest of class. Arms usually last about ten minutes and focus on biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and upper back. And don’t think you’ll get away without a set or two of pushups!
Next comes thighs-in my opinion the most excruciating part of class and also the biggest calorie burn. Whoever thought that a playground ball, a ballet barre and moves like the water ski and pulsing squats could create inner thighs to die for, but its a formula that works! You’ll be happy when this section is over but you’ll also love the results and that is motivation enough to eek out one more rep.
Speaking of motivation, the instructors at Physique are motivation clad in Lululemon flaunting toned dancer bodies. They spend the class coming around the room making adjustments to your form and counting down- “just 10 more” and “home stretch” never sounded so good!
After thighs we move on to seat. Seat is usually a combination of barre and floor exercises sometimes with the ball and sometimes without. The moves are concentrated and designed to hit all sides of your seat. Often times class will start with the “right side of the seat” and add in a sprinkle of thighs before moving to the “left side of the seat.” This is when you really get your money’s worth!
Finally we reach abs and you can lie down on the floor. But just as you think you are getting a break, you realize that burning sensation is your core! We usually start using a blue resistance band looped around the barre while lying on our backs. We then move on to sitting on a cushion with our backs against the wall and hands underneath the barre which really works the lower abs. Finally, the third portion of the abs section ends in the middle of the room on a mat using a ball and a cushion to perform some more traditional ab moves.
The class ends with some back toning exercises and a nice stretch. By the end of class I feel like jelly. I call Physique 57 the enemy of subway stairs since it take me about twice as long to make it up them after class!
The studio is immaculate and offers many amenities that have become to be expected of boutique fitness studios such as a stocked locker room with toiletries for your use and free green apples after class! Classes are $35 each but there are many unlimited and package options which offer savings.
Don’t live in NYC or L.A.? Don’t want to spend $35 per class? Don’t worry there is a solution! Physique has six DVDs in their collection so you can perform their signature workouts in your own home.
The at-home series is made up of two full length 57 minute dvds, two 30 minute full body classes-one regular and one advanced, one 30 minute abs and arms dvd and one 30 minutes thigh and seat booster dvd. The dvds are modeled after the in-studio classes and offer a terrific workout. Plus, if you are short on time, the 30 minute dvds are a great way to fit in a quick workout or mix and match the 30 minute workouts to create a full-length dvd.
The DVDs are a great option and you can purchase them on Amazon. You’ll need weights, a mat, a playground ball, a thick towel or cushion and chair or sofa to simulate a ballet barre.
If you are feeling extra inspired this month, Physique is challenging you to workout six days a week! Either take six classes at Physique each week or follow their DVD schedule for the month of October. Readers, take the challenge and leave your comments here about your progress. Tweet me your photos to let us see the changes!
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