Multiple Locations, www.equinoxfitness.com
Easy If your ashtanga routine is getting monotonous, Yogic Arts, a combination of vigorous asanas and martial-arts flash kicks, ups the ante while still giving you your downward-dog fix. Duncan Wong, personal yoga master to Madonna and Sting, leads you from warrior stance to kicking sequences to ab sets.
Hard Developed by Michael Olajide, middleweight boxing champion, Aerobox is a masochistic cardio challenge. Class begins with intervals of jump rope, moves to punching combinations with hand weights, and then builds up to complex jabs set to blaring tribal-house music.
Multiple Locations, www.crunch.com
Easy IA choreographed series of t’ai chi movements, lunges, and sweeping Twyla Tharp–style leans, Revolution does the seemingly impossible: combines mind-body movement with strength work thanks to Smart Bells, sculptural weights that look like oval steering wheels and feel like a ton of bricks.
Hard After a 60-minute “outdoor ride” focusing on pure endurance, George Vafiades, a two-time Ironman competitor himself, moves his Ironman Strength and Ride participants over to the exercise studio for a jolt of upper-body work, jump squats, and ab sets.
- New York Sports Clubs
Multiple Locations, www.mysportsclubs.com
Easy If shapely arms and shoulders are your goal—but an aversion to biceps curls and military presses stands in your way—Flag Dancing, a rhythmic-dance class using a weighted flag as a prop, will get you the same results. And on Tuesday nights at 14th Street, you’ll get to dance alongside star pupil Robin Byrd.
Hard FDNY Workout, the same program the gym offers to help female “probies” pass their physical exam, is now open to laymen. Actual firefighters, male and female, help instruct on “dummy drag,” hose dragging, and search-and-rescue technique ($169; $199 for nonmembers).
- The Sports Club/LA
330 East 61st Street, 212-355-5100; 45 Rockefeller Center, 212-218-8600
EasyBody Art Pilates Mat, a series of precise, concentrated movements that focus on developing your powerhouse (i.e., your torso), will lengthen and strengthen you from your lats to your glutes. Added bonus: flexibility, improved posture, spinal alignment, and coordination.
Hard Feel like you’re in a J.Lo video: Patricia Moreno’s Athletic Flex includes cardio drills (e.g., lateral jumps from side to side, speed-skater-style) and plyometrics (fast-break movements like double jumping jacks), followed by walking lunges and sit-ups for an ass-kicking but flexible result.
Class System: Best Workouts
From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).