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Rut-Busting Classes Help You Cycle, Jump and Kick Your Way to Fitness

By Irene Plagianos | January 30, 2014 6:58am
 There's a variety of fun ways to stay fit in Downtown Manhattan.
Downtown Fitness Classes
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LOWER MANHATTAN — If you can't bear the thought of one more step on a treadmill or StairMaster, you might have fallen into a fitness rut.

But a bevy of Lower Manhattan gyms and studios are offering routine-busting classes to keep New Yorkers motivated and fit. From bounce-dancing on a trampoline to underwater cycling to roundhouse kicking your way to fitness, DNAinfo New York rounded up some of the newest fitness trends burgeoning below Canal Street.

Here's where to find them:

Make Your Own Whirlpool at Aqua Studio

As the city’s first underwater cycling gym, Aqua Studio owner Esther Gauthier promises all of the splish-splashing will do wonders for your physique.

If you’re a cycling enthusiast but want less strain on your joints, riding a bike submerged in a pool gives you all the benefits of an intense bike workout, but without as much stress on your body, said Gauthier, who opened her 78 Franklin St. studio last April.

The workout, already a popular trend in Europe, rolls along much like a regular indoor cycling class, but a dip in the pool adds a bit of extra fun and a new feel to the exercise routine, Gauthier said.

"It's an amazing exercise experience," said Gauthier, 31, who discovered the cycling trend in her native Paris. "Yes, it's something different, which gives it a certain appeal. But it's really a wonderful way to burn calories, without being so hard on your body."

The studio offers an interval training class, as well as a more intense workout that keeps you feeling like you’re riding up an underwater hill. They also run a “restorative" class that’s more about stretching and less about cardio.

The first 45-minute class costs $34 and additional spins costs $40, with discounted rates for package deals.

The studio currently has only one locker room, so the classes are segregated men-only and women-only, Gauthier said. She hopes to add an additional changing room soon, and will add coed classes then, she said.

Bounce Into Fitness at JumpLife

Boutique gym JumpLife, at 404 Broadway, is ready to add some pep to your step with one bouncy piece of equipment — a trampoline.

JumpLife’s workout routines will have you bounding, dancing and even doing squats and lifting weights on your own personal, low-to-the ground trampoline.

The fitness center's owner, Monserrat Markou, who opened the gym in November 2012, said the low-impact jumping regime is great for balance, agility and circulation, as well as working up a sweat.

The gym, dedicated solely to the special custom-built trampoline, offers a JumpDance class, complete with strobe lights and upbeat music, as well as a JumpGym class, which uses cardio, weights and cross-training moves, without the club atmosphere.

Single classes cost $28, with discounts for class packages and first-time trampoline jumpers.

Walk Tough at Superstar Gym

Like Jumplife, Superstar Gym at 452 Washington St. keeps low-impact exercise fun and fast-paced with its own newfangled workout equipment — a self-propelled, electricity-free treadmill.

The Fitwalker machines, powered by exercisers' movement, are specifically designed for group workouts, said the gym’s owner, Joe DiAngelo, whose family manufactures the unique treadmill and offers the classes in more than 150 locations across Europe.

Like indoor cycling classes, but without the bike, Fitwalker classes use upbeat music and instructors to get your heart pumping while walking — and sometimes kicking, skipping or jumping — at various paces and resistance levels on the inclined treadmill.

Group classes cost $30 each, with discounts for purchases of 10 or more at once.

The boutique gym, which opened in July, also offers a variety of unique workout machines — each of which use only a person's own force and body weight as resistance. There are no weights attached to the equipment, as there are in traditional gyms.

Membership for the gym costs $100 per month, with personal training sessions starting at $75.

Kick, or Punch, Your Workout Up a Notch at the Ultimate Fighting Championship Gym

If you’re looking to add some intensity — and fighting skills — to your fitness routine, the Ultimate Fighting Championship Gym, at 80 John St., is ready to give you a kick in the pants.

Despite its reputation as a violent and bloody fighting style, the owners of the city’s only UFC gym say their focus is providing a fit, family-friendly environment.

Mixed martial arts-trained fighters, many of whom spar professionally, lead fat-blasting classes for all levels, with their own special blend of MMA for the masses. Fitness regimes can combine boxing, judo, wrestling and kickboxing.

Trainers also lead more specialized technique classes in specific martial arts fighting styles, like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Thailand’s Muay Thai, as well as regular kickboxing and boxing.

Membership costs between $124 and $149 a month and includes unlimited classes and use of the gym's full cardio and weight equipment and saunas. Programs for kids are also available.

Follow the Crowd at Barry’s Bootcamp and Soul Cycle

Among the many exercise options Downtown, several have built a particularly loyal pack of followers.

For the hardcore fitness fiend, Los Angeles-based Barry’s Bootcamp, which opened its 1 York St. TriBeCa location — and second gym in the city — two years ago, offers power-packed workout classes. 

The hourlong, trainer-led classes, which feature intense interval training on the treadmill, along with bouts of targeted weightlifting, squats, lunges and other strength-building moves, have quickly built up a dedicated group of regulars.

With trainers who mean business, along with loud, peppy music, this nonstop class is meant to keep your heart pumping — and get your physique in fierce shape.

Classes cost $34, with discounted rates for package purchases.

Cyclists looking for some extra pep, and maybe some inspiration, have found a home at SoulCycle at 103 Warren St.

The popular indoor cycling fitness center, a chain known for its high-energy workouts with an added yoga-like spiritual element, uses upbeat music, hand weights and even choreography to help get you moving.

Classes are $34 a spin, with discounted rates for packages.