Best New York City Spin Classes

For That Class Couple, 2016 was a momentous year. We started our fitness blogging journey, completed both the NYRR Five-Borough Challenge and 9+1, tried a whole bunch of different classes, and, oh yeah, got engaged.

Throughout our journey though the crazy year that was 2016, we took notes on our favorite New York City workouts, instructors, gyms, and more, and wanted to share our thoughts with all of you (because, honestly, everyone else was creating “Best of 2016” lists, so we felt left out). We’ll start with our favorite spin classes (TCC started its fitness class journey with spin), and go from there. From That Class Couple to you, we wish you a happy–and healthy!–New Year!

Top Five Spin Classes

1) SWERVE (TCC review here)

The facilities are second to none (the newer midtown location is perfect for getting ready after class in the morning, and SWERVE’s original location in Flatiron is pretty nice as well), the instructors are energetic and play great music, and the smoothies are the bomb. Just like most of SWERVE’s team-based classes, this competition was a close race, but SWERVE takes the top prize! For those who aren’t familiar with SWERVE, classes are divided into three teams, which compete against one another as the class progresses. Classes are relatively straightforward, albeit with occasional sprint and “SWERVE to the beat” mini-competitions scattered throughout, and you can expect to hear a lot of EDM and top 40 as you ride. TCC also had one of its coolest experiences of the year when it went to a spin class (and post-class roundtable) with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a bunch of retired NFL players, one of SWERVE’s “Speaker Series” events, which TCC thinks are really cool. 

SWERVE has two locations in NYC, Midtown and Flatiron. Classes are $34 each. swervefitness.com

2) Flywheel

Traditionally TCC’s favorite spin studio, Flywheel takes second place only because of inconsistency. Some of the studios are great (Astor Place, Chelsea, East 60th, UWS), but some are getting kind of gross (UES). Some of the city’s best spin instructors teach at Flywheel, but we’ve also had some less than stellar experiences with others. Flywheel is a strictly fitness-based spin studio…no dancing on a bike or zen candles, just sweat. While classes are all basically the same, each instructor is very unique, so don’t be surprised if you sprint to Billy Joel during one class, and don’t recognize a single EDM song the next. Despite its inconsistencies, Flywheel is still one of the most premium spin experiences in the city, and once you find an instructor you like, you’ll be wishing that you could afford to go back every day. 

Flywheel has 9 locations all over Manhattan. Classes are $34 each. flywheelsports.com

3) Peloton

Not for everyone, Peloton features amazing bikes, instructors who look like they should be on TV (because, well, they kind of are…), a lounge with coffee bar that is by FAR the nicest of any gym in New York (albeit extremely crowded on a normal day). The locker rooms are very nice (but extremely crowded…you may see a trend here…), and the location (23rd between 6th and 7th) is very convenient for many. But Peloton has a certain, shall we say, pretentiousness, that can turn some people off. Think lots of tech startup looking dudes in spandex bike singlets blowing away the competition (and instructors calling out riders on their 200th ride). Oh yeah, each ride is also filmed for Peloton’s riders at home, so if you think that you are imagining that there’s a camera zipping over your head, well, you’re not hallucinating. But at the end of the day, TCC has never had less than a fantastic workout at Peloton. TCC is also a big fan of Peloton’s theme rides, especially Jenn’s NFL Pregame Sunday ride, featuring lots of jock jams and football talk (but seriously, Jenn, please stop hating on the Jets so much…).

Peloton is located in Chelsea, on 23rd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Classes are $32 each. pelotoncycle.com

4) Monster Cycle

Let’s just say Monster Cycle is…unique. If Monster Cycle was your high school classmate, it would be the popular kid who started hanging out with the goth crowd, dressing kind of weird, occasionally using illegal substances, but still beating up on everyone on the football field and dating the hot cheerleader. That kid now probably lives in Bushwick and works for a startup. But we digress. Monster Cycle is cool because it’s different, and because you watch music videos as you ride. Unlike the first three studios on this list, Monster Cycle doesn’t provide in-ride metrics, so the ride is more about feel and beat than about trying to top the competition. Monster Cycle’s themed classes are also really cool (if you find an artist who you like, you’ll be totally pumped up to spin to their music). TCC hasn’t checked out Monster Cycle’s original location in Soho, but the new spot in Chelsea (in the crypt of an old church…so cool) is totally different, and totally hip. Wear your trendiest clothes to Monster Cycle…you’ll have lots of competition.  

Monster Cycle is located in SoHo and Chelsea. Classes are $33 each. themonstercycle.com

5) Crank

Jon’s neighborhood spin studio before TCC moved in together, Crank is a fantastic option for those living on the UES (or in Long Island City, though TCC hasn’t been to the LIC location yet). Totally not pretentious, great neighborhood vibe, excellent amenities for a small studio (complementary shoes!), and awesome instructors (many of whom have moved onto better known studios like Flywheel). Crank is generally more about movement on the bike than sprinting, but it’s a fantastic workout nonetheless, and a great option in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a whole lot going on spin-wise. 

Crank is located on the Upper East Side and in Long Island City. Classes are $28 each. cranknyc.com

Next up–best barre in NYC!

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SWERVE Midtown Review

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By Caroline and Jon

(NOTE: Caroline’s review is in italics; Jon’s is in bold)

That Class Couple loves to spin together. We can’t always agree on favorite exercise classes, but spin is one activity which we always enjoy sharing, even when we are fiercely competing against each other (let’s just say the Flywheel torque boards provide some fantastic motivation).

For a while now, we’ve wanted to try out SWERVE’s new midtown studio, just a 15 minute walk away from TCC HQ (aka our apartment). It’s all but impossible to book a class at SWERVE Midtown during the week, so, for the first free weekend day we spent in New York in months (TCC has been busy), we scooped up spots at SWERVE Sixty as soon as we could.

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Here’s what we thought:

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SWERVE Speakers Series: Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell

Photo Credit: SWERVE

By Jon

Just about a month ago, I checked my email while waiting in an interminably long chopped salad line, and saw that I had received an email from SWERVE. Ok, not unusual, boutique gyms send marketing emails every day, but this one included three very special letters. N. F. L. SWERVE was hosting a “Speakers Series” event at its new midtown location with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and there was absolutely no way that I could possibly be anywhere else in the world while this was going on. Spin with Roger Goodell??? Oh my gosh. The possibilities. Would I beat him? Of course I would beat him! He’d probably throw a penalty flag at me for cycling too aggressively, fine me $10,000, and ban me from SWERVE for 4 games.

All kidding aside, this event sounded incredibly cool, and I signed up immediately. SWERVE, which, in case you don’t know it, is a boutique spin studio with two locations in Manhattan (one in Flatiron and a beautiful new studio in midtown) which differentiates itself from the Flywheels and Soul Cycles of the world by dividing riders into teams which compete against one another. It’s a great product, and Caroline and I will be writing a full review shortly. SWERVE recently started hosting a “Speaker Series,” which brings well-known individuals into the studio to share a spin class with participants, and then have an informal, roundtable conversation. In the words of a SWERVE spokesperson, “a SWERVE ride first, to get people to connect to each other, in a real way and break down barriers (it’s amazing how much more fun it is to chat with people when you’re on an endorphin-high and not worrying about how your tie or dress looks), followed by an intimate conversation with a NYC leader.”

I was skeptical about how close we would actually get to Commissioner Goodell (I mean he wasn’t actually going to cycle with us, was he?), and then, while strapping on my spin shoes before class, there, in front of me, was Roger Goodell himself, in shorts and a t-shirt, ready to roll. He looked at my Jets shirt, briefly looked up at me, ascertained that there was no way I had ever played for the Jets or any other team, at any level, ever, and moved on. But OHMYGODTHATWASROGERGOODELL!!!!!! And even better, the Commissioner and the guy next to him who most definitely was a former NFL player were on my SWERVE team! We would absolutely dominate the competition, clearly.

Roger Goodell

Photo Credit: SWERVE

Spoiler alert: We did not dominate the competition. Actually, we got our butts kicked. But class was great, James was a fantastic instructor who spun some football fan favorites into his playlist (think Eminem, Kanye), and the best part was yet to come.

Roger Goodell

Photo Credit: SWERVE

Yes, the free peanut butter smoothie was delicious, but I’m talking about the roundtable discussion, of course. After a few minutes, everyone cooled down from an intense class, and Commissioner Goodell came out, red-faced, surrounded by bottles of water and enormous men. No, not bodyguards, but former NFL players Tony Richardson, Matt Birk, and Eric Coleman. Ok, now this was officially the coolest thing ever. The commish, two former Jets, including one of the best fullbacks of all time, and a Super Bowl winning center. SO COOL!!!!

The SWERVE spokesperson was completely spot-on, having sweat through a spin class with Commissioner Goodell and his entourage, barriers were broken down, and the conversation was completely informal. One of the co-founders of SWERVE served as moderator, and asked the guests about exercise, football, and life–mostly about life. Hearing how Goodell worked his way from Jets intern to NFL Commissioner, how Tony Richardson climbed the ladder from undrafted NFL rookie to Pro Bowl fullback and NFL labor leader, was incredibly inspiring, not only to a diehard football fan, but to anyone looking to better him or herself. True to SWERVE’s mission, each speaker was inspirational, motivating, and dynamic, and I don’t think I blinked once during the 45 minute event. Oh, and for the record, Matt Birk thinks Mondays are a lot easier as a fan than as an NFL center, Eric Coleman can still bench press a car, Tony Richardson still goes to Jets games every Sunday, and Commissioner Goodell roots for two things when watching games, the team that’s behind to come back, and the officials to call a clean game.

Thank you to SWERVE for putting together an amazing event, the kind of thing that turns a gym into a community. I think the Speakers Series is a fantastic idea, and will absolutely be back for future events.

Matt Restivo Flywheel Review

So let’s talk music for a second. That Class Couple loves to talk about music. Jon carefully curates his Spotify workout playlists for that ultimate pump up, Caroline’s long runs wouldn’t be complete without Pandora’s Taylor Swift Radio, and TCC’s post-workout conversations generally start with “let’s talk about the music.”

Matt Restivo’s Flywheel classes, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the East 60th location, are all about the music. Spin is the one exercise class that can really be made by the music, and Matt’s classes don’t disappoint. He seems to have a carefully thought out formula: Start out big and loud, take it back a decade or three, sprinkle in a little bit of top 40, and, of course, don’t forget the country song of the ride. Yes, there will be one country song, and if you don’t like it, well Matt doesn’t really care (spoiler alert: almost everyone seems to like it).

A recent playlist, for example (yes, we do stalk Matt’s Spotify playlists), goes from Guns N’ Roses to Justin Bieber, to Phoenix, to Matchbox Twenty, to Ja Rule. In a spin world dominated by basic EDM and top 40 playlists, it’s more than refreshing to work out to a carefully curated playlist that both motivates and entertains. And if you’re like us, and pedal hard when that one awesome song comes on, you’ll find yourself dripping with sweat after one of Matt’s classes.

Exhale Stamford Review – Core Cycling – 4/3/16

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By Jon

“Come In. Exhale. Leave Better.” reads the website for what looks like a day spa on a cruise ship. Think 30-something year old women with cucumber slices in their eyes and looks on their faces that fall somewhere in between determined and constipated. So, in searching for an exercise class for a Sunday morning spent at home (my parents and brother live in Connecticut), I was a bit hesitant to commit to a place called “Exhale” (as you will learn, I tend to prefer studios which inflict physical pain with instructors who remind me of the high school gym teachers who would scream “get on my level” in my face when I couldn’t do pushup #5). But I’m all about trying new things, so to Exhale I went.

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