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Welcome to New York’s most ambitious boutique fitness studio yet


BFX 1
The view from outside. (Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

BFX Studio opened its doors on Monday, and it’s a boutique fitness studio with gym-size aspirations.

The Town Sports International-owned brand has a list of classes across the fitness spectrum—from Spinning and HIIT training to barre and yoga—with bells and whistles galore, like tech amenities and chic natural beauty products in the showers.

And while it’s only four days old, BFX has already secured space for two additional locations, in New York’s Financial District and Boston’s Back Bay, expected to open in December. (Talk about growing up fast.)

We checked out the space and sampled the classes to bring you this first workout report.

Inside the Studio

BFX occupies 10,000 square feet of space spread out over two floors. The first floor is at street level, with giant glass doors opening into a spacious lobby that includes the check-in desk, seating spread throughout, and the doors to both the Spinning and Master Class studios. It has a hotel lobby flair, only no bellmen.

The cycling studio’s 50 Spinning bikes are set up stadium style, with huge projection screens on the front wall, while the Master Class studio is set up for its variety of uses, with everything from medicine balls and kettlebells to a ballet barre.

Downstairs, a huge personal training floor is filled with functional training pieces, equipment from Technogym, and even Pilates reformers. A social area is home to a communal table and an iPad bar. Men’s and women’s swanky locker rooms include three showers each, stocked with products from Intelligent Nutrients’ Harmonic line (score!).

BFX_Build_TRX
Top: The screen kicking off the Ultra Ride. Bottom: Instructors Eli Ingram and Amanda Butler demonstrate a kettlebell push-up during Build, a strength-training class, which also uses a lot of TRX. (Photo: Melisse Gelula for Well+Good)

Tech Flair

In addition to the recreational iPads, BFX has a digital check-in system that means you’ll sign in on a giant touchscreen kiosk when you enter. And if you’re a major data-tracker, you can take advantage of the MyZone fitness system, which allows you to wear a heart rate monitor ($85 or free with certain class package levels) to see your stats on screen as you sweat and keep track of your results long-term.

Class Notes

The classes, of course, are what really matters, and BFX’s selection is like a 12-page diner menu, catering to all workout tastes. There are six different versions of Ride Republic (the Spinning program) and five Master Class offerings, including Build, Burn, Barre, Box & Bell, Power Yoga, and Cardio Dance.

And BFX recruited some well-known instructors to design various classes, from The Fhitting Room’s Amanda Butler to former Pure Yoga director and Exhale yoga instructor Michelle Demus to Spinning master instructor Josh Taylor.

We took BFX Burn with Butler and Eli Ingram, and it was a sweat-soaked, push-you-to-your-limits class with awesome energy and smart sequencing. The pair led us through eight rounds of different intervals that combined resistance training using kettlebells and med balls with Tabata pushes, plyometric bursts, and more—all set to a booming soundtrack. It’s an of-the-moment New York-flavored workout, for sure.

BFX
Half of the Spinning studio with its custom white bikes. (Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

Cycling devotees will likely find the Ride Republic experience to be more surprising, since Spinning’s class style is very different from a SoulCycle or Flywheel ride. We took the visually enhanced UltraRide, and Taylor played music straight from of the Out of Africa soundtrack, projecting images and videos of a cougar running through nature on the giant screens, for pace inspiration.

It was cheesy, but it also worked like a playlist narrative gearing you up for resistance-heavy stretches and sprints, and his energy, combined with lots of tough intervals, had most riders digging the experience and pushing themselves. Other instructors will use more pop playlists and choose what to display on the screens, and each version of Ride Republic is slightly different, too.

In the end, BFX is a studio many New Yorkers will want to get to know, but the brand will have to focus on helping people understand who it really is, since it’s personality has so many facets. —Lisa Elaine Held

BFX, 555 Sixth Ave., between 15th and 16th Sts., $30 per class, $149 per personal training session, with packages and monthly memberships available (no Spin shoes, so bring your own or wear sneakers), www.bfxstudio.com