Even avid fitness buffs can get in a rut. So, to add some fireworks to our regimen this Fourth of July, we considered a fitness genre we’d entirely snubbed until now: the sexy (bump-and-grind) workout.
The promise of these sexy workouts? They’ll give you increased strength and flexibility—and another set of, um, transferable skills, which is probably why they’re a dirty little secret of group fitness.
Undaunted by the potential for serious cheese factor, we took our Lululemon places it’s never been—to three wildly different sexy fitness classes, with and without stripper poles.
It turns out Barry White actually does have a place in the fitness studio: Not only can sexy fitness classes rev-up your workout, say die-hard fans (and instructors), but you’ll burn more calories later, when you do your… homework.
Want to see how we learned to launch fireworks at the gym? Read more. Did we take our work home with us? Buy the book.
1. Pole Virgins at Body & Pole, Murray Hill
Well+Good Winner of: Gateway Class, Most Likely to Encourage Busting Out Sexy Moves (in Appropriate and Inappropriate Settings)
Pole dancing had its fitness moment ten years ago, but it’s still tantalizing to many women. (Those most likely host their bachorette party at Lucky Cheng’s.) The difficulty of this class comes from learning how to work the pole while not looking like an idiot. The upper-body strength required to achieve this is no joke, and spinning around the pole and even writhing next to it takes skill—and the ability to compartmentalize any Catholic guilt. I felt a little trashy instead of sexy at this Bada Bing Club of a fitness studio: The moves were pretty difficult (a few were even painful) and the cheese factor was seriously high. Cost: $35 ($20 for first class). Body & Pole, 303 Fifth Ave. (between 31st and 32nd Sts.), Suite 306, Murray Hill, 212-334-6900, www.bodyandpole.com
2. Kama Sensual at Crunch, Union Square
Well+Good Winner of: Most Inspired Take on the Pelvic Thrust
“Allow yourself to touch yourself” is not one of things I’m used to hearing from a fitness instructor during warm-ups. Especially when I can see a steady stream of dudes on the other side of the studio’s glass wall that just happens to abut the men’s locker room. (Free voyeurism with membership?) The campy class borrows from yoga, Pilates, and dance to focus on core-conditioning and pelvic strength. It’s also loaded with kegels, renamed “butterflies” at Crunch, probably because the instructor shouts it out a lot. While I never broke a serious sweat, the hip-openers did the trick, and I felt a real burn in my abs and butt. That’s what she said. Cost: Free with membership. Crunch Union Square, 113 Fourth Ave. (between 12th and 13th Sts.), Union Square, 212-533-0001, www.crunch.com
3. Qoya at Sacred, Bed-Stuy
Well+Good Winner of: Making Sexy Workouts Less Forced and Contrived—AKA Sexy!
Qoya is the Quechan word for “queen,” and you’re meant to tap your inner one as you experience creator Rochelle Schieck’s combination of “yoga, dance, and sensual movement.” I was a nervous nelly-turned-convert in her class: I loved Schieck’s appealing direction to “dance our yoga” as we flowed through sun salutations. And thanks to her, it didn’t feel ridiculous when we shifted to some serious booty-dropping and hip-gyrating. This is what burlesque has done for fitness! Her class mantra of “wise, wild, and free” climaxed with the chorus to “Rolling in the Deep,” as Schieck told us to let go and dance like you would in your living room with no one watching. Somehow I did. And I left actually feeling sexier for it. Cost: $20. Sacred, 197 Clifton Pl. (between Bedford and Franklin), Bed-Stuy, 347-715-4112, and at Bhakti Center, 25 First Ave. (between 1st and 2nd), East Village, 212-253-6182; www.wisewildfree.com —Lisa Elaine Held