LillianLillian Yim
Vice President of Merchandising, Digital
WELLNESS TEST DRIVE: The Fhitting Room

CURRENT STATE
I definitely go through phases when it comes to working out. If there’s a new studio my friends are talking about, I’ll try it out. Or, if there’s a cute line of workout clothes I just want to wear, like Live the Process, that definitely makes working out more fun. I’m not the most health-conscious gal—I like my carbs and wine—but I do like to make sure I feel good inside and out. When I feel like I need to de-stress or kick it up a notch, I’ll usually take an active class like spinning or go for a run on the West Side Highway.

THE CHALLENGE
The Fhitting Room is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is an hour of HIT (high intensity training) with multiple stations set up to work your way through. The music is pumping, the instructors are ripped, and every single type of apparatus to get you in shape surrounds you in the studio. The instructors have everything scheduled out in intervals before the class begins, so you know what you’ve signed up for—think kettle bells, row machines, medicine balls, and my favorite, burpees. Overall, it can seem intimidating at first, but the instructors do an awesome job of explaining everything and demonstrating the right, and wrong, way of doing things so that you get the most out of the workouts and—more importantly—so that you don’t hurt yourself.

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Founder Kari Saitowitz at The Fhitting Room on 19th Street. / Photo courtesy of The Fhitting Room

THE PHILOSOPHY
The Fhitting Room combines the energy of a group boutique fitness class with one-on-one personalization from expert instructors. Founder Kari Saitowitz had a vision to provide “the effectiveness of a 5-star personal-cross training session in a kick-ass, contagiously fun setting.” Exercises in class are modified to suit you and so are the weight loads so that trainers educate class-takers in the best workout for their own bodies. Moves are meant to vary in intensity and difficulty to tone muscle while torching calories in a small class setting. Due to this nature, improvement and impressive results can show after just a few classes.

THE HIGH
Because of the intensity of these classes, the high comes from knowing that you completed the class without passing out and also the gratification that you were able to push through. Although it’s an hour, the instructors make it fun, so before you know it you’ve done enough cardio and weights for the entire week and you come out smiling. It’s a pretty good feeling and the energy is great from start to finish. They also do a great job of mixing it up, so even if you’re a regular coming in every day to get your butt kicked, it’s different every time.

THE PAYOFF
After trying it for a week, I definitely felt stronger had more energy, even after such an intense workout. I even did early morning classes! It felt great to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. The instructors were so great in motivating the entire class, as well as making sure to correct form if it was your first time trying out one of the exercises.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR
The Fhitting Room is great for anyone who wants to strengthen/tone and feel challenged at the same time. The energy is high and the instructors make an hour of working out fly by with great music and motivation. It’s a great way to mix up your weekly workout!

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Photo courtesy of The Fhitting Room

Ashley Calandra
Senior Director of Public Relations
WELLNESS TEST DRIVE: Sakara

CURRENT STATE
I would like to consider myself a pretty healthy person. I’m completely gluten-free and mostly vegetarian—I say mostly because I’ve been known to occasionally slip up when bacon is in sight. Overall, I am pretty consistent with my eating, and I work out regularly. My favorite classes being Y7 Yoga and The Class with Taryn Toomey.

THE CHALLENGE
Sakara is an organic meal delivery service and my task was to commit to a 5-day, Monday through Friday plan. I ate Sakara meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I tend to slip into a typical routine with eating where I have the same thing every day for all of my meals. Incorporating and introducing this program of new options was a positive change.

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Sakara founders Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle. / Photo courtesy of Sakara

THE PHILOSOPHY
Founders of Sakara Whitney and Danielle set out to build a program that allows people to “feel beautiful in your body and empower you through food.” Sakara means “thoughts to things” in Sanskrit, which is the guiding principle of the program since food is the foundation for life change. Each meal contains thoughtful plant-based, organic, and nutrient-dense items, offering clean-eating options that don’t feel restrictive. Sakara is meant to mesh seamlessly with your daily routine without needing to count calories, and includes many options for many lifestyles. Programs vary for three to five days, and all plans are delivered to your door and prepared with high-quality ingredients. Sakara also allows customizable meals and there are plenty of options for those with any dietary restrictions or allergies. The program aims to make eating healthy a no-brainer and is about choosing the right choices for your own body.

THE HIGH
The breakfast (a meal I sometimes skip) were always beyond delicious. I almost felt that I was cheating because everything seemed so decadent and truly tasty. My overall favorite meals included the red beet burger and chocolate granola.

THE PAYOFF
I felt great after the program and was sure that I was definitely getting way more nutrients than I normally do. The Sakara meals were a nice change because it taught me that I could have some variety in my diet without completely having my healthy lifestyle go out the window. The convenience factor about this program is amazing. It’s rare to find a food delivery service that is so fresh and delicious.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Sakara is best for busy people who have zero time to cook yet want to kick start their health. Skip the takeout, definitely skip the office snacks—and instead sign up for this.

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Thai Burger with Rainbow Slaw and Root Fries. / Photo courtesy of Sakara
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Nicole stretching after class in the West Village.

Nicole Spellman
Coordinator, The Window
WELLNESS TEST DRIVE: SoulCycle

CURRENT STATE
Before starting SoulCycle, I was pretty active but definitely slacking and feeling sluggish post-holidays. My typical workout regimen consists of walking home from work as much as possible and attempting to make 2-3 classes per week at my local gym. In the past, I had taken stationary cycling classes but knew that SoulCycle would be different and more challenging. The studios notably have a strong celebrity following, so I couldn’t help but feel a bit intimidated. With trusty recommendations from co-workers and friends, though, I knew it was something I wanted to try and I was really excited to begin.

THE CHALLENGE
SoulCycle is not your average indoor cycling class. Set to music varying in genres, the bikes are placed in dark, candle-lit rooms for a more intimate setting. In the 45-minute class, you pedal to the beat while increasing resistance. There is also a weight portion toward the end of class and a series of push-ups on the handle bars. My stamina was low at first and I’d never worn proper spinning shoes before, so getting used to being locked into place was an adjustment. I took five classes in a week’s time in different NYC studios with different instructors to have a well-rounded experience.

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Photo courtesy of SoulCycle

THE PHILOSOPHY
Athlete, legend, rockstar—words of inspiration are written all over SoulCycle’s walls. “The philosophy is spreading the message that anyone can have a healthier, stronger, and soulful lifestyle,” says Marvin, who has been an instructor at the company for four years. “We are providing a space and atmosphere where people are trying to be the best version of themselves.”  These instructors act as motivational coaches to riders. Set to one-of-a-kind playlists, the classes are intended to allow you to lose yourself in the workout and feel good about your body off the bike as well. Founded in 2006 by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, SoulCycle focuses on beats and the “energy of the pack.” The high-intensity cardio routine engages the core and also provides an arm workout with the hand-weights.

THE HIGH
The high in SoulCycle comes from knowing that you are pushing yourself to your own limits, without competition, to music that you love. The rooms are mirrored, so watching other bikers move in sync to the rhythm brings a sense of achievement. Having been a dancer prior to college, I appreciated a cardio class with choreography and feeling the movement in unison made the class fly by. While pedaling to Rihanna and Beyoncé, I worked my glutes, obliques, and learned how to “tap it back,” which is thrusting your body backwards while straightening your arms and then jumping back to the third biking position. I also felt comfort that because the room was dark, I could adjust at my own pace if needed.

THE PAYOFF
My last class was with Marvin, who also taught my first, and he noticed that I had more endurance at the end. I was able to keep up with all of the songs, could “tap it back” properly, and could increase my resistance accordingly. The key was also knowing which settings on my bike where right for my body, which SoulCycle employees were very helpful in demonstrating. Even though I only took five classes, I felt toned and lighter. I’ll go back for sure!

WHO IT’S BEST FOR
SoulCycle is for anyone looking for a full-body workout with plenty of cardio. The class is also for music-lovers, like myself, who like to be challenged while having fun simultaneously. All levels of fitness are encouraged, can improve, and should try these classes!

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