Oh, Exhale. You never disappoint. And neither did the Core Fusion Cardio. Offered at both Exhale locations, this 45-minute barre-less, full-body conditioning class incorporated weights, squats, kicks, punches and push-ups to get our heart rates jacked to the sky. The quick pace was a little overwhelming for a first timer, but it made the experience really fun. The class we took at Exhale Battery Wharf flew by and left us dripping sweat, and pumped to take on the day.
Before class began, our instructor Victoria gave a quick rundown of the different movements we would be prompted to do during the workout. This proved extremely helpful, as the transitions were super FAST. We started the class with a four-minute warm-up of second position squats, pulses and push-ups, and then we were off. We literally didn’t stop moving for the remaining 41 minutes.
The first series was all about squats: think second position squat dropping into a single leg lunge and then flying into airplane pose. Next up was a punch-and-kick series that made us look like a bunch of flailing idiots, but damn if it didn’t feel fab to let off some steam. Oh, and did we mention that during this entire time we were holding weights? The ENTIRE TIME.
Class ended with a focus on core, where we performed some knees-to-elbows movements and then just held a plank for pretty much ever…OK, or three minutes. It’s really all semantics as at this point we were toast, with sweat dripping on our mats as we shimmied and shook trying to hold that plank for dear life. Once done, Victoria stretched us out and we were on our way to enjoying the beautiful weather.
Victoria was fabulous. She was extremely welcoming and made her class feel like a little community. She seemed to know everyone that walked through the door and if she didn’t, she introduced herself. She outlined the class structure, putting us at ease before we started. Her transitions were quick, but Victoria was a pro at keeping the class up to speed and ready for the next series. She even gave us high fivea afterward and said we “crushed it” even though at most points we looked like complete boneheads.
We were already obsessed with the Back Bay location and considered that the crème-de-la-crème of Boston studios…that is, until we came to Exhale Battery Wharf. Holy crap. We even felt a pang of embarrassment while walking up the marble staircase to the front desk. “Are we underdressed?” Oh right, this is a workout class. The studio offers a large boutique where you can buy jazzy leggings, tanks, gym bags and candles. What basic B doesn’t love a candle? The locker room was also divine. Granite counter-tops, hundreds of lockers, robes and a huge backlit mirror situation. It would actually be enjoyable to shower here before work.
2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109 North End Yoga $$$
Exhale Battery Wharf
North End Barre, Yoga $$$
2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109
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Core Fusion Extreme at Exhale had a great variety of exercises and kept us moving for a full 45 minutes. However, the relaxing environment and too-sweet teacher left us wanting just a bit more. But if you’re hesitant about taking a HIIT or bootcamp class, this may be just the start you need. One very important note–sneakers are required!
This bootcamp-inspired workout consists of five stations, each with two different exercises. Structured like many HIIT classes in Boston, you push hard for 30 to 45 seconds, take a short rest and then keep going. Each station utilizes different equipment for various exercises. For example, Station 1 used a box for box jumps as well as elevated planks. We gotta say, the mix-up was pretty nice. We used gliders, free weights, medicine balls and even TRX suspension bands. The variety definitely kept us on our toes, but unfortunately, the class lacked an intensity that we expect with these types of workouts. Maybe it was the spa atmosphere of Exhale or the fact that we felt bad dripping sweat on the lovely beige carpet, but we just never reached a bootcamp mindset.
Denise Griffin Crowe was very welcoming and friendly. She introduced herself to everyone as they walked in the room, getting a feel for who hasn’t taken the class before. She did a good job of explaining each exercise and did her best to keep us all on track during the workout. We admit, we’re guilty of getting brain farts as we arrive at a new station, but Denise was happy to guide us. Our only critique is Denise is maybe too nice for this class style. We’re used to (and like) getting amped by the typical drill sergeant screaming. But Denise took a more yoga approach, telling us to “listen to our bodies” and “try our best.” It wasn’t bad, per se. It just toned down the intensity level too low for our liking.
You truly can’t go wrong with the instructors at Exhale. They all provide top-quality instruction and are some of the Best in Boston. Laura Parrott is a solid addition to that list. She stands out from the crowd with the level of personality she brings to class. She takes the music into her own hands and plays mostly 80’s house music and Wham! She ventures away from the standard Exhale Core Fusion Barre class structure and delivers a class that is unique to her. You’ll find a dose of yoga poses throughout the warm up along with different types of push ups series. But have no fear, you’ll still get the shake and burn we’ve come to know and love from Exhale. If perhaps your regular barre class is getting a little stale, we’d highly recommend a little Laura Parrott in your life to mix things up.
Julie Chrzan is sneaky good. Her zen demeanor and sweet welcome as you enter the Exhale studio makes you think the class will be a cake walk. But oh, are you wrong. There was very little “om” and much more “ommmmyeffinggod”. Right from the start, Julie challenged us to hold longer, sink lower and dig deeper. We were fully engaged in the “shake zone” the entire class. If she wasn’t so darn sweet, we would probably hate Julie’s guts.
We’ve never met an Exhale instructor we didn’t like. And Caitlin Milbury Young was fantastic. Before class began, she introduced herself to us and we chatted for a min. We know, we know….we harp on this a lot. But when you’re paying $25 a class (yikes!), a personalized experience is important! And “personalized” it was. Caitlin continually offered hands-on adjustments to class go-ers, as well as provided shout-outs over the mic. Caitlin also ran the class like a drill-instructor (in a good way). She has a no BS attitude and expects you to put everything you have into class. A lady after our own heart!
We sound like a broken record, but we gotta say it anyways – Exhale has the best barre instructors. Grier Colella was wonderful. She brought a no BS attitude to class and it was so refreshing. She instructed without any of the “positivity” fluff, and we found it very motivating. She effortlessly commanded the room with straightforward cues. She also made us do two sets of pretzel. Yes. One standing, one seated. Sooo yeah….Grier made us WERK!
Erin is the “cool girl” at Exhale. You know – jazzy leggings, lightly colored purple hair and a Cali-style flat brim effortlessly perched on her head. If she wasn’t so darn nice, we probably would have been intimidated by her. Before class, Erin walked around the room and introduced herself to every person she didn’t know – we LOVE that. She also provided a twist on the classic Exhale Core Fusion Barre class structure. We began our thigh series in Fourth Position which was definitely a different start from the usual First Position or Parallel. We also did a long series of back dancing towards the end of class, really feeling our abs and inner thighs work. And ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Erin – we will be back!
The spacious locker rooms alone make a trip to Exhale Battery Wharf a lovely experience. The Power Flow class offered time to breathe, to be mindful, and to work our core. We’d recommend this as a relaxing class to take on a Friday evening after a long week or a perfect way to start your Sunday morning.
When you hear “Power” and “Flow” you’re tempted to think the class will be heated, this was not the case with Exhale Power Flow Yoga. Class started out with some simple Sun A flows to get us warmed up and then quickly transitioned into some burning core work. OK, we’re off to a good start! The core work remained challenging throughout class, lots of long hold planks with variations, knee to elbow, knee to nose, etc. It wasn’t apparently clear how long we were holding a plank for which makes planks even harder and for some this can be a good mental challenge. Our favorite part of any yoga class is usually the longer Sun B flows and this class left us wanting a little more. It felt like we never got into a rhythm and the transitions were a bit clunky. Despite this class name not quite living up to our expectations of a high energy yoga class, we still think it would be a good class if you’re looking for a more relaxing yoga experience. Class consisted of more verbal cues than visual ones which might be challenging for a beginner yogi.
Susie had a very calming energy about her from start to finish of class. Exhale instructors use microphones to teach class which isn’t always the norm in yoga classes but we didn’t find it to be out of place with Susie. It helped her command the flow of class with clear direction and cues. During class we loved that Susie reminded us of our intention, as it can be easy to forget when your core is burning.