You can call me many things (some suggestions for you: very funny; most handsome person at Glossier HQ; good-smelling) but you could not call me a fitness person. I detest the gym! I only go when my close friend and occassional accountabili-buddy drags me there. And even then, we mostly just fake stretch and people watch. That said, fitness is very compelling to me; especially in New York where boutique workouts are just seamless extensions of metropolitan life. I approach the topic like an anthropologist studying cult behavior—with great curiosity, and from a safe distance.
When Emily Ferber told me she wanted me to write about a whole bunch of fitness classes—ME, the patron saint of skipping the gym!—I was very eager to get into the topic. Then I was less eager, because I realized I would actually have to go and try them. Then I remembered a crucial fact of human history, which is that humans have been working out and looking good for thousands of years, without the help of Soulcycle and its buzzy counterparts. Just go to the Natural History Museum and look at the depictions of cavemen. They are jacked, and they didn't even have Classpass! Paleo diets notwithstanding, there are ways to work out without actually working out. Marie Antoinette did it, Thomas Jefferson did it, and a whole lot of other historical hotties did it. And now, I'm doing it. Consider it like paleo, but free and more bearable. Without further ado, The Workouts I Skipped:
Ah, Soulcycle. Truly the matriarch of fancy fitness classes. I've never been to a Soulcycle class in my life, which makes the mental image I have of the class much richer: dim lighting, various candelabra burning, a soft voice beckoning you to peddle all the way to fitness nirvana? Am I at least partly right? Anyway, Soulcycle is a phenomenal way to get in shape, or so I am told. But I'm going to skip the time and monetary commitment altogether.
Instead of Soulcycle: Very zen Citibiking. Or suburb-biking, if you're not located in a proper Citi. You can replicate the experience of a boutique cycling workout by wearing sunglasses, listening to some Corinne Bailey Rae (or Skrillex! Whatever you're into), and cruising to and from the rosé store. Unlike in Soulcycle, please wear a helmet.
The last yoga class I went to was a guided meditative sound bath at Pure Yoga West, where you mindfully nap for 60 minutes, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! This is the exact opposite; Corepower Yoga, which is an enormous wellness franchise, takes the most relaxing parts of yoga and amps them up for a "high-intensity class." Think standard flow with fun add-ons like oppressive heat, weights, and/or cardio. It's insanely popular, but doesn't offer any classes in the greater NYC area. Sad!
Instead of high-intensity yoga: Extremely low-intensity yoga. Remember that sound bath I just mentioned? Do that. It's yogic sleeping, with the camplike camaraderie of quietly laying among 30 other people all listening to two Californians play chimes and sing occassionally. Unlike camp, a gentle instructor will rouse anybody who starts snoring. It is supremely relaxing.
Boot camp classes, I truly do not understand. Several people I know swear by them, but I'm confused: If you are an able-bodied person looking for a military-style fitness regimen, you are welcome to join the army of the nation where you live. All the benefits of boot camp, plus room, board, and meals. Sounds like a bargain to me.
Instead of doing boot camp: Stealing boot camp. You saw Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph do it in Bridesmaids, and you can do it, too. If you live near a large park and are willing to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, there's a pretty decent chance you'll happen upon a large group of masochists and one veiny screaming General. Park yourself just out of view and you'll be able to work out for free and quit at your leisure.
Barre is not even on my radar. A class that is so focused on slow, purposeful movement sounds about as exciting to me as an afternoon spent passing kidney stones. But Claire Knebl disagrees and considers Physique 57 in New York to be her favorite workout: "It's really hard, but you can see the results right after the class. You look so toned." The 57, by the way, refers to a 57 minute-long class, which to me is excruciatingly specific. To each his or her own barre class I guess.
Instead of barre: Dance. All. Night. Make like Rihanna and Work! Or make like J.Cole and Work Out. Like barre, going out requires immense motivation; motivate yourself to hit the club instead of staying in and watching Netflix. Have a tequila soda or two (followed by six glasses of water), get your friends together, and go HAM on the dancefloor. Two to three hours of vigorous movement definitely counts for something. And if you can do it in heels—I sure can't—then that's a strength exercise all in itself.
Photo via Drake's Instagram.
You're going to need some duds for all of that not working out—we can help you there, too.