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Boutique Fitness Studios Give Lift to Uptown's Gym Offerings

 Uptown Manhattan has a growing number of fitness studios that offer a more personalized experience.
Uptown Boutique Fitness Studios
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UPPER MANHATTAN — For fitness buffs looking to sprint their way up a "climb" in spin class, perform a record number of Burpees or work on their Crow pose, nowadays don’t have to go far to break a sweat.

Exercise studios such as Soul Cycle, AKT InMotion and Exceed Physical Culture have popularized the boutique fitness trend Downtown, offering clients a more personalized approach in a small group setting. But during the past few years, the movement has expanded Uptown.

Northern Manhattan is now home to a number of specialized fitness programs with their own unique names and styles, such as The Practice NYC and Journey Space. Here, we break down some of top options Uptown.

Cardio and Strength-Training

► Interval training is the name of the game at Studio in the Heights, which was opened by husband-and-wife trainers Roderick and Lisa Priestly in January. Their signature class, Heights Intensity Training, increases overall fitness by combining body-weight exercises, suspension training and Sandbells in high-intensity intervals, according to their website. In addition to the intense cardio and strenthening classes, the Priestlys said that the studio focuses on inner health through yoga and nutritional coaching. All classes are limited to six people to allow for individualized instruction. Single sessions at the studio, located at 500 Fort Washington Ave., range from $15 to $35 depending on the class type.

► Health nuts can get their hearts rate up at The Practice NYC, a spin and yoga fitness studio at 212 Bennett Ave. The classes focus on cardio through spinning as well as building strength with a suspension training system, yoga poses and pilates. All of the teachers live locally and are focused on giving individual guidance and encouragement to their clients, said owner Patricia Bogan. A single class is $20. Students can also purchase class cards that reduce the price of each session.

► Feel the burn with small group classes by O’FIT. Irish-born trainer Eoghan O’Kelly offers two courses each on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Inwood Movement Studio, 5030 Broadway. O’Kelly said he uses kettlebells, resistance bands and primal movements to help clients improve their strength, mobility and endurance. Classes are offered in four-week commitments at a cost of about $15 per session. O’Kelly started his program in April with classes in Inwood Hill Park, and he may return to the outdoor location when the weather warms up again.

► Get into the groove at Journey Space, which offers Zumba, dance, ballet barre and Vinyasa yoga. After growing too big for its first space in a local residence, Journey Space launched a fundraising campaign in September 2014 to find a permanent home. The studio is now sharing space with The Practice at 212 Bennett Ave. Founder Maggie Hernandez-Knight said she focuses on keeping classes affordable to the community. A single class is $15, while monthly memberships can bring the cost to as low as $10 per class.

Balance and Flexibility

Mind Body Soul was one of the first studios to offer yoga to the Uptown community. Founder Alyssa Snow opened the studio in 2009 in a small basement-level space of an apartment building near 170th Street. In February 2013, she moved the practice to an expanded space at 350 Fort Washington Ave. complete with a kitchen and a lending library. The studio now offers Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga classes, as well as youth dance and yoga programs, massage and acupuncture services, and a yoga teacher-training, according to the website. A single class with mat is $20.

► After a fire destroyed Bread and Yoga’s original home on 207th Street in January 2012, founder Marcella Xavier kept the studio alive with classes at a local church. Almost two years and one successful IndieGoGo campaign later, Bread and Yoga reopened in a new space at Broadway and 212th Street. Since then, the neighborhood mainstay has continued to evolve. The studio offers a wide range of yoga styles including Hatha, Vinyasa and Iyengar, as well as Tai Chi and healthy cooking classes. It also launched its first yoga teacher-training program earlier this year. A single class is $19.

► Practice downward dog in a National Historic Landmark site with Awesome Asana, a new yoga program focused on expanding the practice in Washington Heights outside the traditional studio space. Founder Chelsea Best has found a unique space to teach her growing number of students — the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion — and offers two-hour yoga classes each week in Manhattan’s oldest home. The $5 price includes class and same-day admission to the museum.