Ever get nostalgic for high school soccer practice? Then you’ll love Velocity Sports Performance, a New York City boutique gym with workouts that feel more like prep for team sports season than group fitness classes.
Opened in 2004 by former marine and Olympic-level wrestler “Coach” Dave Tebidor, Velocity just celebrated its 10-year anniversary by signing a lease for another decade, and it’s no wonder the athletic space has staying power.
“We don’t want to kick your butt. We want to make you strong,” Coach Dave told us when we stopped by for a recent workout, pointing out that helping both athletes and non-athletes become functionally fit—in terms of strength, agility, balance, and more—is the goal of every workout at Velocity.
In our class (most sessions are very small groups or personal training), that meant starting with a 20-minute dynamic warm-up that felt like a serious sweaty challenge, with runs, lunges, high knees, butt kicks, squats, and more—all up and down an indoor track. After that, we hit tough strength training by pushing a Prowler back and forth and pulling a weighted sled with a rope. Balance and agility drills followed, from standing on a Bosu ball with one leg for 30-second intervals to quick footwork with a rope ladder.
At Velocity, you won’t get a toned, tanned trainer-performer a la SoulCycle or Barry’s Bootcamp to lead you, or loud pop beats to propel your movements. Instead, Tebidor is the chill, quietly motivating coach you tried desperately to impress as a (lanky) 16-year-old, so he’d give you a spot on the team. He encourages you every few minutes and walks around correcting form, his shaggy, gray hair falling in his eyes as he reminds you of how important it is to eat breakfast. As if we were competing for gold stars or for a spot on the first-string line-up, we all hustled in an effort not to disappoint him. And for the record, he did kick our butts, even if that wasn’t the stated purpose. —Lisa Elaine Held
Who’s it for: Anyone looking to get functionally strong, workout buffs thinking of running a marathon or tackling other sports/endurance challenges
Velocity Sports Performance, 133 E. 58th St., between Park and Lexington Aves., 6th floor, Midtown East, prices upon request, www.velocitysp.com