Exceed Physical Culture Upper East Side

New YorkHIIT,


byAshley Lyddane Beberus, July 11, 2017

Exceed is an athlete’s playground. They cater to private clients in addition to offering group fitness classes. The Workout, their signature class, is hard, so be prepared to grind. Small group training at Exceed is just that: small. So there is no hiding from your instructor. James Brewer’s class will test your inner athlete and your physical limits, but the personal attention, coaching and motivation will get you through the workout.



James started out with a “warmup” which was arguably the hardest part of class. It was a pyramid starting with cardio (700 meters on the rower and 200 jumps on the jump rope), moving to strength moves (20 each of KB swings, KB squats, burpees and pushups), and then repeating the cardio segment in reverse order (jump rope then rowing). The onus was on each of us to complete the workout within the 15 minute time limit. It was just enough time if you moved at a good pace and didn’t take breaks.

After the warmup, James led the class through exercises as a team. During this part of the workout, no body part was spared. We used resistance  bands, either around the ankles or around the knees depending on the exercise, and heavy kettlebells. James structured it so that we were doing two minutes of work with barely any rest before moving on to the next thing. It was true test of muscular endurance and mental strength.

The last thing on James’s agenda was a circuit of five exercises. We used heavy kettlebells, body weight, the battle ropes, the rower (500 meters was our goal distance) and the slide board, which is a “fun” fitness toy. Again, we were at each station for two minutes. The workout was exhausting mentally and physically – you may need a nap to fully recover.


It’s apparent that James enjoys what he does: he was genuinely pumped to teach our class. His positive energy, encouragement and personable nature were constants throughout the 50 minutes. He knew he tasked us with a challenging workout and he brought his A game as a coach to get us through it. James demo’d everything throughout class, making it clear what his expectations were. During the circuit, he was constantly circulating to support us and to clarify moves or comment on/correct form. At the end of class, he reiterated how hard we worked and that he was proud of us. James’s class will push you beyond your comfort zone and it is most definitely worth your time and energy.


Exceed’s Upper East Side location is well-appointed with dark wood floors, a large check-in desk and a spacious and welcoming entrance. They have a fridge with water and coconut water in case you need to hydrate. In the actual gym space, there are exposed brick walls (giving it a really New York feel) and cove lighting, which makes the space feel more inviting and combats that harsh overhead lighting. The actual gym floors are rubber tiles which is pretty standard in gyms. There are some digital lockers on this floor but many of them were not working. We tried five or six of them before asking for help.  

There is additional workout space downstairs dedicated to private training clients – they even have turf down there! The locker room is also downstairs. There are two showers, two toilets and minimal counter space – it is extremely small. They have great products and amenities if you can handle the squeeze. There are some lockers in the locker room, too so if you can’t find one that works upstairs, there is a backup option! The locker room doesn’t look like it gets used all that often, as many people who frequent Exceed could live close by – that’s a plus for sure!

Exceed Physical Culture Upper East Side

1477 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Upper East Side HIIT $$$$

Exceed Physical Culture Upper East Side

Upper East Side HIIT, $$$$

1477 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028

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