Just like restaurants or fashion labels, different workouts generate buzz at different moments in time.
Why? It’s not always clear—sometimes it’s because of a totally novel approach to fitness, other times it’s due to who’s showing up to sweat (Instagram-happy models and A-list actors certainly help). And of course, some are just such killer workouts that people can’t not sweat and tell.
Whatever the case, there’s no doubt these seven studios got people talking (during rest periods, of course) this year.
These were the buzziest workouts of 2016—how many have you done?
Y7 kicked off the year by bringing its dark, Drake-heavy classes to Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue and then expanded its presence in New York City yet again by opening in Union Square and then moving into the Upper East Side shortly after. And if that—not to mention the studio’s social media-ready merch—wasn’t enough to build up major buzz, the starlets and influencers who seemed to flock to the hip-hop-infused flow definitely did the trick.
Gotham has been a go-to Manhattan spot for models and high-powered executives for a long time, and this year it expanded its reach by opening group class-focused Gotham G-Box in Soho. The move meant the city’s fitness-obsessed could now experience the trendy training style, while it-model Gigi Hadid continued to promote her trainer, Gotham’s owner Rob Piela, all over the place. Boxing, by the way, had a really big year in general—and seems poised for a knockout 2017, too.
Pilates is a tried-and-true method that’s rarely in the spotlight, but New York Pilates founder Heather Andersen is changing that. The brand set up three new locations in the Empire State this year, all of which are just as chic as the crowds of young women clamoring for Reformers.
Speaking of chic, downtown spaces in NYC filled with young, wellness-obsessed women, Sky Ting is the yoga version—and it was the place to be for high-quality yoga with a healthy dose of cool-kid vibes this year. Owners Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones upped the profile again this fall by opening a sprawling second location in Tribeca, complete with gorgeous design and an infrared sauna.
Love it or hate it, this sensory-overload circuit-training concept in Manhattan—by way of South Africa—got people talking thanks to its novel (AKA slightly crazy) approach to fitness and its grand plans for expansion. It was the “you’ve just got to try it once” workout of 2016.
The Megaformer workout
Okay, this one isn’t a single workout studio, but we’re making an exception because the Megaformer—and the many studios that use the machine to deliver muscle-quivering toning classes—had a hell of a year across the board. While Sebastian Lagree, the method’s founder, is based in Los Angeles, it’s certainly gone global: There are now more than 300 studios around the world licensed to use the Megaformer. In New York City alone, SLT landed major investment capital for expansions and gave some of its current studios upgrades, while Brooklyn Bodyburn announced a third location to open in March in Park Slope. And places like Sculpthouse in Atlanta expanded the possibilities of the workout, combining Megaformer and treadmill intervals.
Is LIT the new HIIT? Well, not exactly. But the super original, low-impact approach to high-intensity interval training hit (sorry!) the fitness scene at the perfect moment. The method almost feels like a manifestation of the current workout zeitgeist, as a way to work crazy hard in intense intervals while skipping the body abuse that’s often involved and ensuring easier recovery. And if you’re not near the LA-based workout? No problem: LIT Method now has an at-home option.
Want more best-of-2016 intel? Here are the 10 biggest celeb wellness secrets we learned this year. And as for 2017, we have a few predictions, too.