Signature Row at CityRow
($32 per class, 6 a.m., 80 Fifth Ave., nr. 14th St., Ste. 1501; 212-242-4790; also Tues., Wed., and Fri.)
Alternating for 50 minutes between the rowing machine and mat exercises for abs, arms, and legs, and finishing off with a sprint and stretching, this intense interval workout “will sculpt your muscles without impacting the joints,” says founder Helaine Knapp, who opened the studio last week. The motions “set up your body to move better”—think stronger posture—“and work more efficiently throughout the day.”
Core at Unity Yoga
($22 per class, 5:45 a.m. at 350 St. Nicholas Ave., nr. 128th St.; 646-450-6602; also Thurs.)
This fast-paced Vinyasa, set to a soundtrack of indie, R&B, and hip-hop, tends to have as few as three people per class (compared with fourteen to 25 in the later sessions), ensuring plenty of individual attention. For cubicle workers who’ll be hunched over a desk for the next eight hours, founder Sarah Rehman says, “this class will reduce the tension in your hips, back, neck, and shoulders.”
Brooklyn Bodyburn at the Edge
($33 per class, 6 a.m., 32 N. 6th St., nr. Kent Ave., Williamsburg; 718-384-1133; also Tues. and Thurs.)
All 50 minutes are spent on the MegaFormer, a patented full-body workout machine equipped with springs and pulleys that offer strength, cardio, and balance training for your upper and lower body. “Since you tend to be stiff and thus more susceptible to injuries in the morning, we work on slow and controlled movements that help muscles wake up,” explains owner Tracy Carlinsky. There’s also emphasis on steady breathing, which has anxiety-reducing results for that breakfast meeting with the boss.
Power Hour at FlyWheel Upper East Side
($32 per class, 5:45 a.m. at 201 E. 67th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-327-1217)
This 60-minute interval ride, frequented by traders and lawyers who are looking to get amped for the weekend, starts at an unusually high resistance of twenty and doesn’t dip below for the duration. That, coupled with the extra fifteen minutes (your standard FlyWheel and other spin classes are typically 45), means you incinerate calories—between 800 and 1,100 of them, according to instructor Natalie Cohen Gould. She adds, “This triggers your body to burn fat for the rest of the day,” even while you’re lifting nothing more than your typing fingers.
The Workout at Exceed Physical Culture
($32 per class, 6 a.m. at 1477 Third Ave., nr. 83rd St.; 212-481-5300; weekdays)
This group fitness class alternates jump rope, kettlebell swings, rowing, and body lifts with TRX suspension bands, not to mention the Eye of the Tiger–type motivation and camaraderie fostered by the trainers. According to co-founder Ed Cashin, “The unique combination of HIIT [high-intensity interval training] moves not only jump-start your metabolism and keep it elevated for hours, but it also regulates your appetite for the day.”
A personal training session at SoHo Strength Lab
$150 per class, 5:30 a.m. (or earlier) at 182 Mulberry St., nr. Kenmare St.; 212-226-8682; daily)
Based on a brief assessment of your body composition and workout history, this hourlong session caters precisely to the individual’s needs—even, says trainer and co-owner Albert Matheny, if that need is to be eased out of a hangover with “foam rolling and active stretching that will warm up your muscles and mobilize your soft tissue without straining it.” Also keeping things mellow: The relatively small gym has no more than four clients on the floor at any given time.
Express Class and Meditation at Jaya Yoga East
($12 per class, 7:15 a.m. at 2902 Ft. Hamilton Pkwy., at E. 4th St., Kensington; 917-740-5292)
“Commitment to a morning practice yields great mental stability throughout the day,” says instructor Ramit Kreitner. “You’ll work your whole body, from pinkie toe to the crown of your head to your pinkie finger.” After an hour on the mat, stick around for the free silent meditation session at 8:30, which takes just twenty minutes. “Get yourself here, and it will be over before you can blink,” Kreitner promises.
In praise of the 7:30 a.m. run:
“I always wake up feeling extremely grumpy, so I need every endorphin I can get my hands on before braving the office. My daily three-mile run starts at the intersection of Jay Street and Water Street. There’s no stop sign, so I have to be alert. Then I’m in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with downtown Manhattan and the bridges spread out in front of me. Just past the Manhattan Bridge, I come to the lookout point where my fiancé proposed to me in April and mentally relive the moment. Then I come to Jane’s Carousel, where there’s occasionally a personal trainer having her portrait taken, decked out in pink Nike and doing hilarious poses. If it’s rained or snowed recently, I brace myself for the perpetual faucet drip under the Brooklyn Bridge. This is easier when I remind myself of the next stretch along the waterfront, where I can see the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry, Governors Island, and even part of Staten Island, all at once. Then there’s the people-watching. The morning pedestrians in Dumbo have amazing style and give me daily outfit inspiration. The end of Pier Six is my turnaround point, where I pass my running nemesis. I call her my nemesis because she always tries to cut me off. But she never runs in the cold! Personally, I prefer it. Treadmills bore me, and as soon as I’m bored, it’s all over.” —Claire Mazur, co-founder of OfaKind.com
And the 8:30 a.m. bike ride:
“Most people hate their commute; in fact, there’s a substantial body of research finding that long work commutes increase feelings of stress and unhappiness. But I feel just the opposite; I absolutely love mine. I ride about seven and a half miles, for 45 minutes, from my home in Park Slope across the Manhattan Bridge to the garment district. Nothing is more energizing than being outside, gliding just slightly above the ground, moving from one neighborhood to the next. The subway might save me fifteen minutes, but on my bike, I’m having this wonderful visceral experience, while getting 90 minutes of exercise.” —Adam Mansky, nonprofit senior director