“I was afraid people would compare it to barre classes,” says Brynn Jinnett, the 27-year-old founder of Refine, a boutique fitness studio and workout that opened on the Upper East Side in October. In the end, the former dancer begrudgingly installed a barre in the studio.
“The Lotte Berke method is the opposite of what we do here,” she says. In contrast, Jinnett studied how professional athletes train—from hockey teams to the NFL—and designed the Refine Method based on their movement patterns, but targeted at a female body aesthetic.
The theory behind the Refine Method, which is a combination of cardio and resistance training, is that your body should be exercised in the way it was designed to move. Instead of working individual body parts, classes focus on functional movements, which means you won’t ever find yourself doing bicep curls or crunches.
“We think that the way to build a body that’s healthy and looks visually proportional is to do the movements that you do in your life,” explains Jinnett. Classes are broken into several sets of circuits involving mat exercises, a resistance pulley system, and intense cardio spurts.
During the class a few weeks ago, a seamless soundtrack of motivating music propelled a group of 12 students through each circuit rapidly, hearts pounding and muscles fatiguing. I was initially intimated by the pulley system—I have to clip what, where?—but ended up preferring it to free weights, the pulley’s smooth resistance helping with the alignment and consistency of my movements.
When we finally stepped up to the barre, I gripped it tightly as we moved through fast-paced lunges. “When you’re ready,” instructed Jinnett, “let go.” —Lisa Elaine Held
The Refine Method, 340 East 71st St., between 1st and 2nd Ave., $25 per class, $225 for unlimited monthly classes (prices vary depending on class package), first class is free.
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