After tiring of the fact that her favorite workout was not available in New York, last week fitness aficionado Amanda Freeman opened the doors to New York’s newest boutique fitness studio, SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone).
Don’t be confused by the name: it’s not a barre workout. SLT’s studio is lined with Megaformers, an uber-modern version of the Pilates’ Reformer. And the workout, which has huge following in Los Angeles, is described as what would result if “cardio, strength training, and Pilates had a baby.”
We caught up with the Freeman, the co-founder of healthy newsletter Vital Juice, to find out why she decided to bring the method to the Big Apple:
How did you first discover SLT? I had jobs that brought me to Los Angeles a lot, and I used to do trend forecasting. So I was always very into the new, hot thing. Someone told me about this exercise class I had to try. In LA it was called Pilates Plus. But it was always booked. When I finally got to the class, everyone was really into it and had great bodies. It was very different from anything I had ever seen.
What do you love about the workout? I like Pilates and its results—long, lean bodies. But I was always frustrated because I felt like I needed to do another workout after. You don’t sweat or get your heart rate up at Pilates. But SLT is a hybrid version—it’s like Pilates plus you get a cardio workout, and you feel your muscles quivering. [Editorial note: Well+Good tried it last week and we second the muscle quivering!]
Why did you change the name? To me, it was important not to have the name Pilates in it, because people have the impression I had—that it’s not a real hard workout. SLT stands for the actual results that you get and that I want—strengthen, lengthen, tone. And I want to attract people who want those three things.
Why do you think the workout will resonate with New Yorkers? It’s the Type-A version of Pilates, which is very New York. You want to feel like you really worked out. I think women who do barre classes might like SLT. It’s definitely a different workout, but they’re both going for the same results. At SLT, you’re not pouring down sweat like you would in spin class—it’s a little more manageable— but you get the combination of cardio, strength, and stretching, just like at Physique or Exhale.
Do you have plans to expand? I want a bunch of studios! I’m already looking for additional locations, but it’s so hard for boutique studios to find space. I do need this to catch on first. We’re not full right now, but the LA people are worried that it’s going to get sold out. If it does, I’ll just try to open more. —Lisa Elaine Held
SLT, 37 West 57th St., btwn 5th and 6th Ave., Ste. 703; $40 per class (first class is $20), 212-355-1737, www.sltnyc.com