What We Tried: Nalini Method
Where: Chelsea Piers' Mind Body Studio at The Sports Center
What We Did: The class opens with a series of exercises for legs at the ballet barre, followed by free weight arm sets, planks and push-ups, leg lifts with resistance bands and finally some lower ab work.
What It Felt Like: It felt like a barre class -- a not-very-strenuous one. Perhaps I'm the only one who feels this way, but to my mind these barre-esque, Pilates fusion classes that have become a staple of well-to-do New Yorker gym-goers diets are a bit of an "Emperor Has No Clothes" situation. If there is a fitness advantage to them, I simply don't see it.
The very nice instructor was encouraging, remembered all of our names and gave good feedback on alignment. At the same time, I didn't break a sweat. And except for a vague soreness in my triceps, there is no evidence that I took a gym class that night. What's more, I went to sleep the night of my class with that itchy feeling I get when I miss a workout.
Of course, I'm all for anything that gets our sedentary populace moving, but I'm not sure these anemic, pricey classes are the answer to very many people's needs. My little brother took me through a 15-minute weight circuit at a hotel gym last month that, frankly, had this (and -- I don't mean to pick on Nalini -- any barre class I've taken) beat. What's more, nothing we did requires a professional studio or supervision. We can all do some light weight bicep curls in our living rooms, can't we?
What Fitness Level It Required: I would feel comfortable bringing a beginner, but not a fitness buff. In fact, this would be a great starter class for a fitness newbie.
What It Cost: $30 per session
Would We Go Back: I had a perfectly pleasant time, but for $30, I can buy my own resistance band and do some leg lifts at home.
Check out photos of the new Mind Body Studio at Chelsea Piers in the slideshow below:
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