Small (Gym) Wonders
BY JULIA VITULLO-MARTIN
February 25, 2008
New York is a big, powerful city, and lots of New Yorkers like going to big, powerful gyms. But over the last few years, many anti-big gyms have sprung up, often resulting from the personal vision of founders. In recent weeks, I tried three independent gyms with very different pitches - each one excellent in its own way and attentive to members.........
SMART WORKOUT (124 E. 40th St., between Park and Lexington avenues, 212-661-1660, Suite 603, smartworkout.net)
Smart Workout - a friendly gym that wants guests to feel like they've been invited to a friend's home for an exercise party - was the brainchild of two friends, Lois Cooper and Elaine Platt.
Inside, the space looks like a small apartment in which the hosts have moved the furniture out for the evening. Better yet, the 15-month-old Smart Workout has a unique hook: It offers unlimited semiprivate training for one all-inclusive membership fee. You name it, they have it or will at least try it to see if members respond. Yoga, pilates, pole dancing, tango, trampoline classes, cheerleading, and boxing are among the options.
I took two 45-minute lunchtime classes. The first was Zumba, taught by Courtney Zbinden, a beautiful dancer, who moved everyone through the Latin steps so gracefully that we didn't notice how much we were sweating. Next was "On the Ball," which was great fun ? bouncing up and down on a ball, twisting the prop, reaching over it, and stretching across it to 1960s music.
Sessions on the pilates reformer alone make membership a bargain, since most other gyms charge extra for the reformer. I did an evening session with instructor Megan Frummer, who adroitly managed three skill levels even as a ballet class was going on directly behind us. The whole experience was blissful: We lay on our backs, doing pilates frog movements while the lights of Murray Hill glittered through the windows and "Swan Lake" played over the sound system. I half expected Mikhail Baryshnikov to jete in momentarily.
Cost: Initiation is $200, and the monthly fee is $135. Another option is to pay $1,485 up front for a 14-month membership (no initiation fee). Smart Workout caps its members at 150 people, so there's no wait for the equipment........
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Hours of Operation:
Mon-Thurs, 7AM to 9PM
Friday, 7AM to 8PM
Saturday, 10AM to 5PM
Sunday, 11AM to 4PM
124 East 40th Street (Park/Lex Ave)
New York, NY 10016
© 2007 Smart Workout Inc. 124 East 40th Street Suite 603 New York, NY 10016 Ph. 212.661.1660 web design Studiopaolo