New YorkCrossFit, Bootcamp, HIIT
Even the thought of CrossFit is either a terrifying concept or an adrenaline-pumping fitness challenge. Sure, it can yield insane results, but the injury rate is off the charts and a lot of your experience depends on the philosophies of the coaching staff. Enter BRICK New York, an atypical CrossFit box (douchey word that just means “gym”) that trades grit and minimalism for amenities and themed decor. Don’t worry, BRICK Grand Central hasn’t sold its soul in the name of appeal to the masses. The equipment and interior of the workout spaces are all no frills. But it’s certainly a lot more comfortable than most boxes and the coaches are on their sh@t when it comes to form and safety.
There are tons of chances to compete at BRICK and you can even join a well-ranked team in the CrossFit games. Everyone who CrossFits at BRICK goes through the academy – a multi-week program that ensures you aren’t going to slowly cripple yourself. That said, if you aren’t quite ready to step up to the Olympic weightlifting podium, you don’t need to feel intimidated. There are NINE class options, only three of which are dedicated to CrossFit. The rest pull from the basic tenets of the genre without quite the same intensity – Mobility, Endurance (run run run), Flow, STRONG, FIT, and X (aka HIIT). If you have this much variety and still can’t find at least one thing that appeals to you, you are one picky SOB.
B|Fit is a nice juicy set of strength training circuits with just a tiny dash of cardio (think weighted step ups, goblet squats, rowing sprints, and kettlebell swings). Never really been exposed to proper weight lifting? This is an awesome class to gain that exposure. You learn the correct form for building blocks like deadlifts, cleans, rows and on and on. And even if you’re more advanced, you won’t be bored: just push your pace and add on some weight. And honestly, eeeerrryone we see in fitness classes these days could be more mindful of form and thinking back to their basics.
The warm up is where you get most of your cardio in, with jump squats, high knees, and jumping jacks. From there, you start grabbing all sorts of weights – dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and plates – and pair off in groups of two or three to do four sets of a circuit twice through. A sample circuit could be 12 Ukrainian deadlifts, 10 bent over rows (per side), and a 500 meter row on the erg. These circuit rounds are timeboxed to about four minutes, but there’s no requirement for the number of cycles you have to get through. If you’re standing there and letting your heart rate plummet like the Dow Jones, it’s seriously your loss. On the flip side, this is not Tone House: there’s no drill sergeant standing over you. If your form has gotten sloppy, stop and reset. No one’s judging ya. You might even get a gold star from the coach.
Any initial intimidation you might have walking into a “CrossFit-inspired” fitness class will immediately melt away with Josh coaching. He has this seriously sexy, ginger, mountain man thing going on and we cannot get enough of it. The goofy parts of his personality spill out during the explanations of each round of circuits. But he is serious about the business of getting swole. When it comes to form, Josh has eyes like a hawk. He can see everything, so cheating during any of the moves is not an option. No complaining here, its extra attention for us 😉
Now, while incredibly thorough, the workout demos he gives before each circuit do drag on a little longer than they need to, so the awesome high we get during each round falls off with the extra standing around. But overall, he’s a phenomenally knowledgeable and hands on coach. Despite the ultra macho serious vibe he gives off, he is actually super nice – great for newbies and vets alike. He could just maybe pick up the tempo a bit.
BRICK Grand Central is a goliath of a space in the NYC fitness scene – three floors (one just for locker rooms), a coffee/smoothie bar, and three workout spaces for simultaneous classes. It’s a bit strange that their coffee/smoothie bar also doubles as their check in desk, because during major rush times, there’s a pretty serious splitting of responsibilities. Plus, we almost walked right past it without checking in. There are also no locks for the lockers, which drives us up a wall – even the smaller one-off studios have self-locking lockers!
Outside of these two quirks, we are seriously impressed with this spot. Hitting up a CrossFit box usually means you have to sacrifice things like showers, AC, and lockers. For busy New Yorkers, the lack of showers is usually a deal breaker, particularly for the pre-work crew. Not only are there showers here, but there are also really large vanity spaces for getting ready. The amount of workout spaces and the spacing of class times keeps the studio from feeling overly congested. On top of the spatial perks, they have fully embraced the orange and black theme with tons of “gramable” murals and quotes plastered all over the walls. Beyond being great for pics, these little touches enforce the sense of community that they’ve built. Feels a lot like being back on a sports team in high school or college.
465 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017 Midtown East HIIT $$$$
BRICK Grand Central
Midtown East CrossFit, Bootcamp, HIIT $$$$
465 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017
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