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Class Action: HIIT IT! with Daphnie Yang

New York's newest High Intensity Interval Training-based class makes the sometimes frightening workout style more accessible, without sacrificing intensity.
Plank intervals at HIIT IT! with Daphnie Yang offering corrections. (Photo: Daphnie Yang)
Plank intervals at HIIT IT! with Daphnie Yang offering corrections. (Photo: Daphnie Yang)


New York’s newest High Intensity Interval Training-based class takes the sometimes frightening push-yourself-to-the-edge workout style and makes it much more accessible (without sacrificing intensity), thanks to founder Daphnie Yang’s infectious enthusiasm and unaffected belief in every person trying to get in just one. more. burpee.

Yang, the founder of private training company Definitions Fitness, holds her HIIT IT! classes twice a week at Cap21 and Mind Shift Studios in the Flatiron. On a recent Tuesday night, she greeted nearly every student with a hug, a giant smile never leaving her face. (Many of them had followed her to the class after training for races with her through Team Challenge.)

Class consists of six rounds of two-exercise Tabata intervals, meaning you alternate two exercises at maximum effort for 20 seconds eight times, with 10 second rest periods in between. We started with cardio-heavy rounds featuring jump squats, jumping lunges, and then two different styles of burpees. Then, we did rounds of ab-focused and upper-body exercises, followed by a final killer cardio round with speed skaters and knee-tap jumps. By the end, everyone in the room was shaking and dripping sweat.

Throughout the sweat sesh, Yang circulated the room, offering personalized encouragement and corrections, shouting “Don’t you just feel so alive?!” in a way that was somehow sincere and motivating (“Actually…I do?!”). The next day, she sent a follow-up email. “Hi everyone! GREAT WORK LAST NIGHT! Thank you all so much for coming to HIIT IT! You all did an incredible job with the workout. I am so proud of you!”

Prices are low and there are no frills to be found, but I didn’t miss them. Clean showers and fancy lockers are nice, but there’s something about getting a really amazing workout in a room with a piano shoved into the corner, while actors practice musical theater on the other side of the wall, that just feels so New York. —Lisa Elaine Held

Who’s it for: HIIT enthusiasts, fans of The People’s Bootcamp, bargain hunters

HIIT IT! with Daphnie Yang, $20, Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Cap21, 18 W. 18th St., Studio 605; Saturday at noon at MindShift, 47. E. 19th St., Flatiron,