Hot Workout: City Row
Faking it is never cool, right? We've found one exception. City Row — a studio gym class that re-creates, very accurately, the feeling of gliding along the water (while you work your ass off) — has won us over with its genius WaterRower machines. Nice to look at, and super-effective at giving students a comprehensive, full-body workout using real water to create resistence, the blonde-wood machines fill City Row's Union Square studio, arranged so that everyone in the room faces the instructor in the center. Using a tiny mic to call out the sequences, City Row instructors lead the class with equal parts fierce motivation and gentle encouragment: Newbies get a great tutorial on the machines before class starts, which makes jumping in to the fast-paced class a lot less intimidating.
Incorporating intervals on the rower with core work on a mat laid out right beside your machine, the one-hour class moves fast — literally. Pumping music sets the pace and helps keep you in the zone if you start to feel exhausted (which you will). The motions take a while to adjust to, but once you nail it you'll feel the flow of each motion to the next, toning every muscle and raising your heart rate to keep you in the calorie-burning zone. Three different types of classes offer gradual levels of intensity. Signature Row uses the machines for the whole hour for intervals, Row & Flow splits time between the Water Rower and the mat for 30 minutes of yoga, and Row & Core offers a Pilates-focused core mat workout. One thing's for sure: You will be so out of breath that singing "row, row, row your boat" is definitely out of the question. But life will be a dream, fitness-wise, if you keep it up.