The Boutique Gyms of the West Village
In addition to large multi-activity gyms such as Equinox and New York Sports Clubs, the West Village is home to a number of niche fitness studios perfect for those who know what they like and see no need to frequent a less-personal facility filled with equipment they will never use. Among the neighborhood’s boutique gyms are those specializing in time-honored disciplines such as boxing and yoga as well as those offering newer, proprietary fitness methods.
63 West Eighth Street (at Sixth Avenue)
As you would expect, the Barre3 workout entails ballet barre exercises, but it also incorporates elements of Pilates and yoga. The result, according to the team who developed the method with input from doctors and physical therapists, is a low-impact full-body workout. The classes accommodate newbies and seasoned practitioners alike, and instructors will tailor the workouts for pregnant women and new mothers.
600 Washington Street (between Leroy and Morton Streets)
Though Gotham Gym has a boxing ring, the 45-minute flagship Gotham Boxing classes are less about learning to box and more about training like a boxer—or a supermodel: Gigi Hadid, for one, has worked out with Gotham owner Rob Piela. (Hugh Jackman has been spotted here too.) Besides the ring, the compact space includes punching bags, weights, jump ropes, and a few cardio machines. Most classes are for all levels, but beginner and advanced sessions are available as well, along with personal training and twice-a-week Muay Thai classes.
13 Gansevoort Street (between Eighth Avenue and Hudson Street)
Why does the Liftonic studio have TVs on its ceiling? So that class participants can watch the instructor demonstrate moves while they are lying on their benches during the workouts. The entire weights-based workout does not occur on one’s back, of course. Students also stand, lunge, kneel, and engage in numerous other positions. Each day’s class schedule is devoted to a different set of muscles: legs and derriere on Thursdays, arms and abs on Fridays, and so on, with classes starting as early as six in the morning on weekdays.
One Horatio Street (at Eighth Avenue)
This hyper-specialized yoga studio caters to expectant parents, new parents, parents and their little ones, and adults trying to become parents (these sessions focus largely on relieving stress and balancing hormones to boost fertility). In addition to mitigating aches and pains during pregnancy, prenatal yoga aims to increase your strength and flexibility for an easier delivery and enable you to maintain a level of serenity during what can be an anything but serene life stage. Postnatal classes include sessions just for new moms as well as family classes. Group and private classes are available; the center also offers doula services and support groups.
554 Hudson Street (between Perry and West 11th Streets)
Although it is a chain of more than 500 studios nationwide, Pure Barre offers a boutique-gym experience. The four proprietary workouts vary somewhat. In addition to the original, 50-minute Pure Barre class, which marries barre and weight work for a low-impact, high-intensity workout, there are Pure Empower, which incorporates interval training for more of a cardio workout; Pure Reform, which focuses on resistance-based training; and for novices, Pure Foundations. However, as you would expect from a studio called Pure Barre, ballet-inspired barre exercises are a key element of all sessions.
131 Perry Street (between Greenwich and Washington Streets)
A former dancer with the New York City Ballet, Brynn Putnam worked with trainers, coaches, and scientists to create Refine’s high-intensity interval training workout, which incorporates pulleys, kettlebells, slide boards, and other tools. Instructors will tailor your workouts to your fitness level and goals—for instance, is losing weight more of a priority than gaining strength? Classes are open level, though beginners can opt for Reform Ready to practice the fundamentals.
126 Leroy Street (between Hudson and Greenwich Streets)
Just about every New York neighborhood, it seems, has at least one SoulCycle studio, and the West Village is no exception. Each 45-minute indoor cycling session is choreographed to a playlist, and the choreography entails a variety of hand, arm, and body positions so that multiple muscle groups get a solid workout.
404 Sixth Avenue, Second Floor (between West Eighth and West Ninth Streets)
Do not let the name throw you; Uptown Pilates has a Village location. Here you can take classes that incorporate tower, reformer, or both tower and reformer exercises along with mat work. In addition to open-level classes, you can choose beginner, intermediate, or advanced sessions, though true newbies are encouraged to participate in a few private sessions first.
35 Bedford Street (between Downing and Carmine Streets)
Like the Refine Method, the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods were developed by a former professional dancer. The sequences of rhythmic circular movements, inspired by yoga, tai chi, dance, and gymnastics, are performed on mats, chairs, and specially designed equipment and are meant to improve strength, agility, and flexibility without straining joints. Village Gyrotonic offers beginner, open-level classes, and prenatal classes, along with a more aerobic-intensive Cardio Gyrotonic class. A Pilates mat class is taught as well.