New York is to fitness what Paris is to fashion: the trendsetting centre point of all things wellness. Don’t simply limit your sojourn to splurging, gourmandizing and predictable night-time revelry. Step outside your comfort zone with my list of the best places to work out and eat like a true NYC sweat snob.
The greatest faux pass in my dictionary is running in Central Park. It’s clichéd, touristy and overdone. New York is your golden chance to join the leagues of the jet-set sweat club.
Train like a Victoria Secret model at Dogpound, a fusion fitness facility that has garnered a cult celebrity following. My private sessions included many old fashioned but proven fundamental movements like weighted squats, kettlebell swings, battle ropes, circuits and basic strength training.
"While Crossfit boxes, Pilates studios and dance schools, etc. are great, the only way to truly get amazing results is constantly varying routines that are a hybrid of all these approaches," explains Hannah, my impossibly toned trainer.
At 200 USD per session (the lowest rate that shuffles you between a team of trainers), a package at Dogpound will cost you as much as that bag you’ve been coveting all summer. However, it’s a small price to pay if the guy on the ski erg next to you is Hugh Jackman. Other devotees include Adriana Lima, the entire Victoria Secret model squad and Ashley Graham.
If you are more of a Pilates or yoga girl, NYC gives you a host of options from traditional studios to new-age hotspots. Head to New York Pilates if you are looking for a challenging class that maintains the integrity of the discipline but adds the oomph. You will do hundreds to blaring Cardi B, followed by deadly squats on the reformer and a brutally creative sequence of planks.
Another great and more economical option is SLT (for Strengthen, Lengthen and Tone) studios. With locations strewn across the city, the emphasis is on using the Reformer as a tool for strength training. Be sure to book in advance as classes fill up FAST.
Yogis must try Y-7 for a beat-bumping, candlelight yoga experience. Classes can best be described as an intimate marriage of crazy Ibiza nights with the calmness of a meditation retreat in Bali.
Boxing enthusiasts can head to Soho’s Five Points Academy. The gritty martial arts gym churns out professional fighters. Don’t expect any glamour, just brilliant coaches with a no-nonsense approach that will transform you into Rocky if you let them. Or head to Sei Shin Dojo if you love Kung Fu, American Jiu Jitsu or are simply craving the best sports massage in town.
New York is undoubtedly the epicenter of culinary cool. But if you swap your gluten for kale waffles and your sugar for super-food boosted cupcakes, you can eat your cake and have it too. Head to By Chloe for delightful vegan fare at their effervescent hippie outpost in Soho. Dubbed the new-age ‘Shake-Shack,’ their guac burgers will convert the staunchest meat eater. Or walk down the block to brave the snaking lines at Jack’s Wife Freda for the best (and perhaps most instagrammed) avocado toast in the city.
For Brunch, try While We Were Young NYC in the West Village or power lunch at possibly the chicest vegetarian restaurant in the city: abcV. Other honorable mentions include The Egg Shop for all things egg; The Butcher’s Daughter for low-cal quesadillas and Mr. Smood’s raw food bars for speedy superfood.
And the best tip of all…
Take the side streets, wander, lose your way a few times and let holiday serendipity seduce, surprise and entice you.