The 5 Luxury Exercise Classes Everyone Needs to Try
Reap the benefits of group fitness without going to SoulCycle.
Exercises classes have come a long way from your mother's Jazzercise sessions at the Y. Want to scale walls? Race down a mountain? Maybe throw punches at the speed of light? Well, read on, because we've compiled the crème de la crème of the coolest classes in the country. And if you're not lucky enough to live in these locales, let these offering serve as inspiration for you to track down a similar class in your neighborhood. And if you need motivation for actually showing up to these luxury exercise classes, learn how the smartest, fittest guys motivate themselves to work out.
Rowing Lessons on the Water
iROW Fitness Studio; Los Angeles, CA
All across the country, gyms that are specifically and exclusively stocked with row machines have been popping up. Hopping on a row machine works your back, legs, and arms, all while giving you a hell of a cardio boost. But why hop on a machine when you can do the real thing?
Amongst all the gyms that have spawned from this trend, iROW Fitness may just be the best. Headed up by Iva Boteva, a globally revered rower and crew coach. At iROW, not only do you get hands-on coaching from a veritable expert, you also get the chance to work out in the wild; iROW offers on-the-water courses. After you've toned your body entire body on the water, follow the lead of another man—albeit fictional—who rows for exercise, Frank Underwood, and tone your mind on the couch by playing the guy's favorite video games.
Intro to Bouldering
Mission Cliffs; San Francisco, CA
Whether it's due to popular TV shows, like American Ninja Warrior, or the ascendant celebrity of wunderkinds, like 16-year-old Ashima Shiraishi, in recent years, rock climbing has increased exponentially in popularity. (2015 showed a 10 percent increase in indoor rock climbing gyms around the country.) Now, when you picture rock climbing, you likely think of harnesses and carabineers and a guy on the ground that will save your neck if your foot slips. That's not the type of climbing we're suggesting. Instead, consider bouldering, a form of rock climbing where you're not strapped into anything.
Yes, you'll be climbing completely freeform. However, instead of dangling 4 stories above the air—like the top-belay walls at Mission Cliffs will have you doing—you're typically no more than 18 feet off the ground at the highest point. Don't worry: the ground is cushioned, so if you slip and fall, it won't hurt. For 70 bucks, Mission Cliffs offers group luxury exercise classes for those new to bouldering. By the end of a few sessions, you'll be climbing at a V3 level (the scale tops out at V15, but only the best of the best reach that level, so temper your hopes). Bouldering is a relatively slow-paced activity, but by the end of each session, your forearms, triceps, back, and legs will be utter jelly. However, if you're looking for a more intense workout in the traditional sense, look back in time, and steal the workout of Genghis Khan's warriors.
Wing Chun Training
Cho Cheung Wing Chun; New York, NY
It's every guy's dream to be a master of martial arts, to be a bona fide badass, taking down crime, saving the day, and—yes, this is where that desire stems from—getting the girl. That said, practicing martial arts is an intense, full-body workout. And for our money, Wing Chun—which actor Donnie Yen deployed in the Ip Man films to throw 40,000 punches per minute—is your best bet. Wing Chun is all about efficiency over brute strength, counter-attacking over striking first. You'll be faster and more coordinated—and more in shape—than practitioners of other arts.
When it comes to learning Wing Chun yourself, it's best to track down a verified teacher, like New York City's Cho Cheung. Cheung has been recognized by the Wing Chun master himself, and applies that diligence to selecting his students. To be accepted into his school, you have to go through an arduous interview process. Then, if you're accepted, there's a six-month probationary period; if you don't show the motivation, you don't get to stay. If you pass, only then are you fully accepted into the school. How's that for exclusivity? Just, whatever you do, don't try to reenact any of the 20 most viscerally realistic fight scenes of all time.
Downhill Ski School
Aspen Snowmass Ski Lessons; Aspen, CO
Have you seen the Olympian skiers? Those guys are ripped. Like, envy inducing, okay-sign-me-up-for-skiing-right-now ripped. It makes sense that skiing works your legs—if you've ever wanted quads the size of mountains, this one's for you—but the sport also works your core and back; staying stable and upright requires those muscles to be in tip-top shape.
It's a bit of a cliché, but Aspen Snowmass, in addition to offering some of the best runs in the country, also boasts a renowned ski school. For 170 bucks a session, you'll spend the day along your peers learning the basics of skiing: how to turn, how to stop, how to not careen off the edge of the trail and into a tree. After a weekend of classes, you'll be sore as hell—but will be ready to tackle any trails in your way. But be sure to bring some power bars. These sessions are 5 hours long each. And once these luxury exercise classes have you mastering your pizza–French fries, you'll be ready to tackle turns on the 5 best ski resorts for spring.
Orangetheory Fitness; various locations
Exercise Post-excess Oxygen Consumption—or EPOC—training is a regimen that's designed to maximize fat burn and boost your metabolism. Depending on how hard you go, the workout can burn more than 500 calories in an hour. As it so happens, there's only one place that offers luxury exercise classes of this type: Orangetheory Fitness.
Orangetheory utilizes a mix of exercises, from treadmills to free weights to (call back) rowing machines; you're always moving and melting calories. By the end of a workout, every part of your body—from your traps to your glutes to your arms—will be roaring with pain. Pricing varies by location, but a basic package starts at typically $69 a month, and allots you 4 sessions. However, you can spring for the premier package—again, pricing is dependent on location—which allows you unlimited attendance. And if the luxury exercise classes of Orangetheory pique your interest toward full-body workouts, master the 5 best gut-busting, one-move, total body workouts of all time.
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