Where we tried it: Barry’s Bootcamp NYC
Sweat Meter: 7
Fun Meter: 6
Difficulty Meter: 6
You’ll never get bored with this high-energy indoor bootcamp that’s a favorite among fit celebs like Kim Kardashian. The hour-long class mixes strength training with treadmill intervals to tighten and tone your whole body while burning serious calories (up to 1,000 per class). The tight quarters and loud music may feel a little more in-your-face than traditional bootcamps, but it also creates the perfect atmosphere to keep you energized and going strong.
Should you try it? If you like consistency and want a guaranteed high-intensity workout (without having to think about it), indoor bootcamps are a great option. Our tip: Find one that plays music that gets you pumped. It’ll help you power through that final set of sprints!
Where we tried it: DavidBartonGym’s Camp David
With outdoor bootcamps, you can look like gym rat without ever setting foot inside a gym. At DavidBartonGym’s Camp David class in Manhattan’s Central Park, we used jump ropes, park benches, and picnic tables to work our abs and legs and did jumping jacks, lunges, and squats to really feel the burn in our thighs and buttocks. The soothing sounds of nature (even in the middle of New York City) are a nice contrast to loud music, but you may miss your iPod when you need that extra push (or two). Our tip: Pick an outdoor class that fits your interests and goals. You can often find an outdoor version of yoga, Pilates, and martial arts classes!
Where we tried it: Dhoonya Dance Center
You don’t have to love dancing (or be any good at it) to get your heart pumping in a Bollywood dance class. The pulsing music and exotic moves may feel foreign at first, but rest assured the repetition of the class will help you catch up. Bollywood dancing doesn’t offer the best cardio workout, but you’ll still reap a lot of body-toning benefits. Your smile gets a workout too, as it had us grinning and laughing the whole time—the perfect class for you and your girlfriends! Our tip: Skip the tennies and wear dancing shoes like ballet flats or go barefoot!
Where we tried it: Trinity Boxing Club NYC
You’ll feel strong, confident, and sore (the good kind) after leaving an intense boxing session. Our hour-long boxing workout included intense 3-minute intervals, jumping rope, learning the technique, and then letting loose on a punching bag. It was an amazing workout, thanks to the no-excuses, unapologetic trainers who made sure we didn't slack and gave it our all for the entire 3 minutes.
If you often feel like you’ve hit a plateau and need a little push (or a shove) to take your workout to the next level, then boxing may be an excellent option for you. We’re still feeling the burn 3 days later! Our tip: Keep testing different gyms until you find a trainer you love. They really do make (or break) the class!
Where we tried it: Aerospace NYC
You’ll feel a little bit like both the black and the white swan with this split-personality workout. A mix of ballet and boxing, the Aerobarre class challenges your flexibility and sculpts long, lean muscles with basic barre moves and tests your coordination and endurance with fast-paced jab combinations. It’s safe to say Black Swan and Million Dollar Baby make it look easy! Our tip: Though the class was a great full-body workout, it’s a little difficult for first-timers to learn the proper form and keep up with the fast pace. Make sure you give it a few tries before deciding if it’s the right workout for you.
Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga)
Where we tried it: Bikram Yoga NYC
Word to the wise: Wear as little and as lightweight clothing as possible. Besides the sweat factor (and the 100+ degree temperature), hot yoga has similar postures and movements to your standard yoga class. Why go hot? Your muscles will be warmer and thus, more flexible. Plus, you’ll scorch a lot of calories. If you’re a yoga enthusiast looking for a challenge or someone who thinks “yoga isn’t a real workout,” we recommend you try this class. While you can take Bikram Yoga without previous yoga experience (we did), it’s a good idea to start with a more basic (cooler) class (Find the best yoga style for you here). You learn to walk before you sprint, right? Our tip: Drink plenty of water well in advance. Don’t wait until an hour before the class starts to down a liter. You’ll have to leave to use the restroom, which we learned is a big no-no.
Where we tried it: The New York School of Burlesque
This class might make you blush at first, but you’ll walk out with a renewed positive body image, feeling more confident (and graceful) than ever. Burlesque dance helps you flaunt what you’ve already got—which is a lot more than you think! We learned the correct way to walk in heels to optimize your appearance, how to perfect our posture, and the art of inviting eye contact. This class pushes you to embrace your sexuality—and flaunt it. After all, you work hard to achieve the body you want, so why not show off your efforts by knowing what to do with it? Our tip: Have an open mind! Everyone in there was a beginner at some point and probably felt just as awkward as you, so stop worrying and have fun!
Where we tried it: Broadway Bodies, NYC
The kids on Glee make performing look easy, but trust us, it’s not! You’ll get a cardio workout and tone your whole body while learning a choreographed dance taken straight from the TV show. You don’t have to be a Gleek (or even watch the show) to love this class. The upbeat musical numbers will have you feeling (and looking) like a rock star. Our tip: Remember to stretch after class when your muscles are warm. Dancing challenges small muscles in your body that most strength workouts don’t hit. You’ll see what we mean the next day.
Where we tried it: Crunch Gym
Take your yoga practice to the next level, literally. AntiGravity Yoga mixes traditional yoga poses with a few new moves to help your posture and challenge your flexibility–trapeze style. Using a hammock that hangs from the ceiling, you’ll learn suspension techniques that will have you swinging upside down (in your first class). It’s hard to trust the hammock at first, as most of us don’t have trapeze experience, but the poses get easier once you loosen up and learn to move fluidly with the silk. Our tip: Wear a shirt that covers most of your upper arms and tight yoga pants (We love these 20 affordable yoga pants we love!) to avoid having the rope rub against your skin. Ouch.
Red Velvet (Acrobatic Class)
Where we tried it: Crunch Gym
The name may have you thinking about dessert, but this class is no piece of cake! Using a silk rope suspended from the ceiling, you’ll do strength exercises and learn a little choreography, Cirque-du-Soleil style. You’ll get a fabulous workout and really feel the burn in your arms and abs from puling your body up into the rope swing. If you’re not in the NY area, look for any class that uses suspension techniques or take an acrobatic lesson for a similar workout. One last tip: Go with the flow. Much like in AntiGravity Yoga, this class takes some “letting go” and trusting yourself and red velvet. Once you do, you’ll feel amazing!
Where we tried it: Crunch Gym
Created just for women by Dr. Melissa Hershberg, this unique class uses isometric movements (exercises that look like you're not moving at all) that work your inner and outer pelvic core to burn lower-body fat and, as an added bonus, boost your libidio. The 60-minute class also incorporates meditation to help you get in touch with your inner self. While being asked to “butterfly” (kegel) may feel a little awkward to some, every woman can learn something from a Kama class. Our tip: Find a gym in which you feel comfortable. Our studio had open windows near the men’s locker room—slightly awkward.