Fitness entrepreneurs don't typically hire MIT engineers to help them design new studios.
But that's exactly what self-proclaimed exercise science geek and Refine Method founder Brynn Jinnett did to create the brand's high-tech new workout stations, which are being revealed this week inside its splashy new West Village location.
"This is basically going to be our laboratory for a lot of new things and equipment," Jinnett says, "the first being the station, which we’re hoping to hone and really perfect here before bringing it uptown."
Refine, which offers a high-intensity boot camp-style workout in a boutique environment, opened its first location in October 2010, on the Upper East Side, and later debuted an Upper West Side Studio. A Union Square location existed for a brief stint before being shut down because of landlord issues. And as the brand has grown, Jinnett has consistently tweaked and upgraded the method and equipment to make it as efficient and up-to-date as possible.
We stopped by the new downtown spot to bring you this sneak peek inside.
It's on a charming far-west stretch of Perry Street, and the studio's industrial-glass doors open into a stairwell with super high ceilings and white-washed brick walls, leading to the check-in desk and retail area. Then you descend the staircase to get to the action.
Downstairs, a reception area has plenty of bench seating, lockers, and a neon Refine sign, plus two showers. (You'll need them.) The studio is expansive, with a chic, industrial feel. Fourteen workout stations line two walls, with mirrors on a third and leather resembling cushioned panels on the other for throwing med balls. And everything is custom, with the Refine "R" logo affixed to everything from kettlebells to boxes (for box jumps and more).
Of course, the new stations are the centerpiece of the space, and with a cable system instead of the previous bungees, they look every bit as high-tech as they are.
The main differences from the old system are that the cables make for constant, smooth resistance, Jinnett explains, and a larger range of motion. Most importantly, they allow you to choose custom weights, instead of being restricted to resistance band combinations. "This is basically any weight you could possibly want up to 500 pounds, and you can achieve it really quickly just by dropping the pin in, so you can tweak it for a different set, to get just a little bit heavier or a little bit lighter," Jinnett says.
To take it further, she'll be debuting an assessment program at the studio in January that uses video technology to assess movement patterns and will then create customized programs for clients willing to commit to three-months of classes. "It basically allows us to customize your plan within the group setting," she says, offering modifications for movement issues you may have and tracking your progress to hone in on real results. You don't have to be an MIT engineer to appreciate that. —Lisa Elaine Held
Refine Method, $34 per class, 131 Perry St., between Greenwich and Washington Sts., West Village, www.refinemethod.com
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