New YorkHIIT, Bootcamp
SWITCH Playground is aptly named as the studio is quite literally a fitness playground. It is filled to the brim with all sorts of fitness toys. The class is station-based, and when you’re done with each station, you “SWITCH!” to the next. The workouts are different every day so you never know what you will encounter, but the general structure (stations) doesn’t change. The stations are either cardio-based or strength-based, and the workout is balanced between the two. Class seems a bit hectic at times (there is a lot going on) so be sure to pay attention to the Trainers so you know what to do and where to go.
When you arrive and check in, you’re given a towel with a small sticker on it that indicates your starting station. They keep everyone waiting in the lobby area before the workout and the anticipation of the workout is intense. When it’s time to get started, they open the door and welcome you in to find a mat for the warm-up. You’ll think you’ve entered the hottest NYC nightclub once you’re in the gym, but rest assured it’s all fitness all the time in there.
The warm-up “flow” is a series of Vinyasa Yoga moves. Once the flow ends, the workout begins. There are 20 stations in total and you start at the station number that corresponds to the sticker on your towel. There are two people per station, and if you come with a workout buddy, they’ll put you together. In this class, each station was two minutes long. The cardio stations were a mix of various machines (treadmill, Stairmill, C2 rower, Spin bike, Arc trainer, and assault bike). Some Trainers gave us targets, like a level to hit on the Stairmill by the end of the two minutes, but for the most part we were on our own when we did cardio.
The strength-based stations required more direction from the Trainers. Each strength station had two moves – move A for 30 seconds, move B for 30 seconds, and then repeat for the final minute. There was a ton of variety in the equipment that we used (it’s a playground, remember?). We used resistance bands, Kettle Bells, TRX, heavy dumbbells, medicine balls, weighted balls, weighted bars, ankle bands, bosu balls, and core trainers, and we even had some moves on the heavy bag. Once the class is over, there’s a short stretch which mirrors the flow at the start of class.
The feeling of chaos during the workout came from the way class is broken up and taught. While we signed up for Seth’s class, there isn’t really much to say about him since our direct interaction with him was so limited. Seth led the flow to get us going, but when the flow was over and the class broke into the stations, Seth went up to the DJ booth. He proceeded to DJ the class, kept time for the stations and yelled “SWITCH” as needed. There were four other instructors on the floor who manned the stations. They gave directions as to what we were doing at each station and made sure we went to the right place as we rotated. The instructors on the floor were responsible for overseeing multiple stations at once so they did the best they could to correct form for some of the worst offenders. Since there’s a ratio of ten people between four or five stations to one Trainer, they had their hands full.
Overall, the space has a very Industrial vibe and look to it. However, when they open the door to the studio it’s like a nightclub. They have all sorts of colored lights on swivels so they spin around the room at various speeds and at various times. There are lasers, smoke machines, black lights and even strobe lights that go on occasionally. The atmosphere they create is not necessarily inspiring but it definitely invokes fun.
The bathrooms/locker rooms are on the lower level of the building. The women’s locker room is so zen, which was a bit surprising just given the rest of the space’s overall aesthetic. They have some of the nicest bathrooms we have seen on the NYC fitness scene.
The locker room has several lockers which can be set with a numeric combination so you don’t need to bring your own lock. The women’s room is stocked with CO Bigelow products in the shower and on the sinks. If you are in a pinch, they also have q-tips, tampons, deodorant and mouthwash at your disposal. The hair dryers were impressive: very powerful and get the job done quickly, which is rarely the case. There was a small wait for a shower after class but nothing too egregious.
130 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003 Union Square HIIT $$$$
Union Square HIIT, Bootcamp $$$$
130 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
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