Switch Playground Review

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After SWITCHing out of our workout gear into brunch attire

The last few months have been very exciting for That Class Couple. We got engaged (!!!) and are now planning our wedding! So, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to keep up with our blog as much as we would have liked.

But fear not, because we are back! TCC is committed to trying new classes this winter, and expanding our NYC fitness horizons.

For our first class together as an engaged couple, we decided to go way outside of our comfort zone, and try a new studio called Switch Playground. Caroline’s review is in italics; Jon’s is in bold:

For the past 3 months, due to injury, I have taken a break from bootcamp and most spin classes and have focused on toning classes, such as barre, and some light running. But when we were given the chance to try out Switch, I decided to cave and look at this as more of a couples activity then a bootcamp class. Doing research on Switch, I found that it was brand new and in a great NYC location (Union Square), originated from South Africa (huh? pretty cool!), and was a bootcamp style HIIT class that you do with a partner. I was intrigued and excited. Spoiler alert: I loved it!

So I’m coming from the different extreme here. I’ve been taking three or four bootcamp classes a week for the past couple of months, and think that I am, slowly but surely, starting to make progress. It’s always fun to try out a new studio, so I was really excited when Caroline told me that we had the opportunity to try out Switch.

I think this class is great for couples and pairs of friends who want to challenge each other and workout together. When Jon and I walked in, the front desk assigned us to station 6 together (um, who said I wanted to be his partner? Jk jk) When the doors open to the “playground”, you feel like you are going through the tunnel onto the field (or in this case- through the field onto the nightclub), high-fiving all of the 10 instructors as you run in. There was fog, strobe lights, loud music, and even a live DJ. The class started off with a 5 minute yoga warmup, and then each pair went to their respective stations. You spend 2 minutes at each of the 20 stations, doing two different exercises at each. There is every type of station you can imagine- treadmill, TRX, weights, ropes, bench presses, spinning, stairmaster, the list goes on- and even a barre section!

I couldn’t agree more; this class is built for couples/friends who want to work out together, as Switch really provides something for everyone. So while I probably couldn’t convince Caroline to come to a strict bootcamp class, like Brick B|X, with me, Switch is a great couples option.

So let’s talk about the start of class. I’ve never been a member of a cult, but I imagine initiation into one feeling a bit like this. I appreciated the positive energy as we entered the room, and I suppose the yoga intro was unique and somewhat cathartic, but I’m not going to lie, I felt a little awkward as the class “leader” started the countdown to pain.

The whole experience was sort of surreal, part workout class, part club, part performance art. As you arrive at your next station, an instructor runs over, quickly demonstrates how to perform the first exercise, and moves on to the next station. After the first interval, the instructor runs back, demonstrates the second exercise, and moves right along. The whole thing is really kind of bizarre for anyone used to a more traditional bootcamp class. Which isn’t to say that it was bad–just very different.

By the way, the DJ was amazing. We’ve all been in classes where the instructor might as well have just put on Spotify’s “most popular workout songs” playlist and hit play, but the music at Switch was legitimately great (think: a quality mix of EDM, remixes, and hip hop), which always helps a lot with an intense workout.

One of the reasons why I loved this class so much was the number of instructors. There were probably about 8 instructors in our class, and about 30 people- what a ratio! Unheard of in NYC! I felt as though I was always being watched and if I wasn’t doing something correctly, which tends to happen with me at bootcamp classes, I was being instructed on how to improve. The instructors were great with modifications (hell no, I was NOT doing TRX single-leg pistol squats). In addition, I loved the format of the class because you are always switching up the exercises and never doing the same thing for more than 30 seconds. I feel like this helps reduce the risk of injury, and in addition, when we left, I felt pleasantly sore but not limping in pain like I do with most bootcamp classes. An hour after class, I was ready for a nap and a massage- that was such an intense workout!

I completely agree with Caroline–Switch is truly a full-body workout. You hit every major muscle group, and every conceivable genre of exercise, from free weights to bodyweight exercises, to steady cardio, to plyometrics. It’s guaranteed that you will do something new at Switch, whether it’s box jumps, barre exercises (those leg weights are legit), boxing, etc. In addition to ensuring that you’ll feel sore the next morning, this also means that the class goes really fast. It did not feel like the workout lasted an hour, and I actually wondered afterwards if I had even gotten a good workout. That’s until I had to grab the bench in the locker room to keep from passing out after standing up. So…yeah, that was a good workout.

Both Jon and I were pooped, but felt so accomplished after class. This class is a tough workout. I’d put this as in the same ballpark as Barry’s, Tone House, or Trooper FItness. The locker room situation is great (about 5 showers in each), and the staff was so welcoming and friendly. My only complaint was regarding the cleanliness of some of the props. We used foot weights at two of the stations, and since those stations happened to be towards the end of my rotations, they were all sweaty when I put them on- yuck! If you are looking for a tough workout with either a boyfriend/girlfriend, or workout buddy, or maybe even a first date if you are feeling adventurous (jk- she won’t show up for date #2) this is a great new studio for you.

We walked across town to Chelsea Market after class for lunch and holiday shopping (TCC recommendation: check out Dizengoff for the best hummus outside of Tel Aviv…seriously) and, as we walked, each of us couldn’t stop talking about how sore we were getting. It kept getting worse and worse as the day went on. Like that “WOW what the heck did I do to get this sore” soreness.

Switch Playground is a fantastic option for those of us who tend to get bored with our normal exercise routines in New York. I’m sure that it’s possible to make Switch a part of your normal workout schedule–we chatted with two of the trainers after class, and the exercises are constantly changing, so I don’t think the class would ever become boring. My only possible concern is that, without an explanation of the workout before launching into the madness that is Switch, it’s impossible to prepare for the next exercise (i.e. when I know that my next interval is a minute of jump squats, I’m probably going to take it easy on the rower beforehand. But, then again, maybe that’s a good thing; sometimes, our heads get in the way of our bodies.

 

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Plush Fitness Abs and Agility Review

By Caroline

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One of the best parts of ClassPass is the being able to take new and different classes with friends. About once a week or so, I do this with two girlfriends. The class pick is always an interesting one- usually right after work (6:30pm), somewhere near-ish to where we work (midtown), and a class that everyone agrees on (easier said than done). Trying to switch it up, we were looking for a boxing class (we’ve never done boxing before!) and found one at Plush Fitness, located on 30th between Madison and 5th Ave. One of the worst parts of ClassPass is that, sometimes,there are a limited amount of CP spots, even though the class might still have spots open on their regular site. When only 2 of the 3 of us were able to get Plush Fitness’ boxing class, we decided to switch to Abs and Agility so we could all be in class together.

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The Movement ReXist360 HIIT Review

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By Caroline

This past week, I found myself in a bind. I wanted a sweaty, satisfying workout that wasn’t running (since I ran the day before) and would give me an accomplished feeling with no fear that I would be extremely sore or get injured. Since I am still recovering from my back injury, high impact and weight training classes aren’t the best for me right now. Pilates wouldn’t get me sweaty enough, but a boot camp or TRX would make me too sore. After doing some searching, I decided the go to The Movement and try their ReXist360 HIIT class.

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JumpLife Review

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By Caroline

There are those extremely unique, so random, crazy fun, boutique gyms in NYC that you just have to try at least once. THINK- AQUA Studio where you can take in spin class in the water, SurfSET NYC where you get interval training on actual moving surfboards, ANYA yoga where yoga is practiced in the air using an AntiGravity hammock, and Boing With Kangoo at Crunch Gyms, where you strap on Kangoo spring boots to hop and jump through class. I was looking for a fun class to take with a few girlfriends, and wanted to find one of these really random, cool, gotta try at least once classes. Enter JumpLife.

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Megaformer! (CST50 Westport Review – 5/8/16)

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By Caroline

Sometimes after a pilates reformer class, I feel like I didn’t really break a sweat. Now I know, pilates is a “different type” of exercise and “you don’t have to sweat to get a good workout” but I guess I just love the out-of-breath, sweaty face feeling you get after a good class. Meet CST50, a beautiful hybrid between pilates and strength training with a cardio kick added in. I have heard how amazing (but impossible to get on ClassPass) Brooklyn Bodyburn is and how SLT can change your life (alas, SLT is not currently on ClassPass…maybe one day?!), so I was very excited to get to try CST50, located in Westport, CT. So, during our recent trips home to Connecticut (for reasons ranging from getting ready for our move-in together to family brunch for Mother’s Day), along with getting home-cooked meals, doing suburban life grocery shopping (in Connecticut, we can go to Trader Joe’s and not have to have Jon run around the store while I wait in line!), and getting to do laundry at mommy and daddy’s house (no quarters needed!), CST50 was on the to-do list. And I’d say this has definitely become one of my favorite types of classes.

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TCC Does The Time (ConBody Review – 5/1/16)

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By Caroline and Jon

If you follow the New York exercise scene, you have probably heard about ConBody, the “prison-style bootcamp” class that can best be described as “jailhouse chic”. ConBody, and its founder, Coss Marte, has taken New York by storm, becoming one of the city’s most distinctive workouts, garnering press coverage in the New York Times, Men’s Health, Daily Mail, and elsewhere.

The story behind ConBody is nothing less than compelling. Coss grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and found himself a natural entrepreneur, but on the wrong side of the law. When Coss went to prison for dealing drugs, he was overweight and diabetic, and was told by a doctor that he had only years to live–if he didn’t change his exercise and eating habits. Determined to survive, Coss lost over seventy pounds in six months, all from exercising in his jail cell, with no equipment to be found. Coss’ fellow inmates noticed, and soon asked him for advice on how to follow suit. ConBody was born.

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Solace Body Review – Solace – 4/22/16

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By Jon

Set just off of harried Park Avenue South in suddenly trendy-ish “whatever you call the area between Murray Hill/Gramercy/Flatiron/NoMad,” Solace is a welcome respite from the parade of suits outside. Technically a CrossFit facility, Solace hardly looks the part. Solace is beautifully designed, with rustic wood and plants everywhere, and well-appointed, with well maintained equipment in the studios and designer products in the locker rooms.

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