Gyms in NY have gotten a little fancy. Rock climbing walls. Live DJ-sets. Attendants spritzing you with 68.3-degree Himalayan rainwater.

But you—you’d rather get back to simple in-your-face, muscle-burning basics.

Introducing New York City’s best-kept secret: YG Studios, an innovative bare-bones fitness studio concept with classes that fall somewhere past “hair on your chest” but nowhere near “blind you for life” in terms of strength.

By connecting health and fitness enthusiasts (you and me) with A-list trainers and fitness instructors (aka gurus) that can best serve them, YG Studios eliminates the need to go to a boutique studio –thus eliminating the need to pay crazy prices to get a good workout. (Bonus — classes cost $28!).

There are eight different locations throughout NYC. No, they’re not gyms–but add a few yoga mats and weights to any loft in Manhattan, and you can get your sweat on, hard. It’s fitness without the frills. Sure the lemon infused water, and complimentary green apples on your way out the door are great but real fitness isn’t really about any of that. It’s about the workout, and the people leading it.YG Studios is built around the concept that an extraordinary workout speaks for itself, and the foundation of that workout is an extraordinary instructor. You won’t find any ho-hum, run-of-the-mill instructors here, just highly qualified super-stars doing their thing the way they see fit.

If you’re looking to start training like an actual football player using footballs as stability and agility props, show up for the GridIron Power class with former professional Women’s League tackle football player Jay D. Dantzler.

But if you’re just looking to burn off last night’s steakhouse visit, try the TGIF with former Tracey Anderson Master Trainer Jason Bayus–it’s an intense cardio conditioning class that combines innovative toning sequences with intervals of easy-to-follow dance breaks. If he likes you, he’ll even yell at you a little. (He means well).

I recently took the “Barre Burn” with Jessica Bailey who used to teach at Physique57, Exhale, and Pure Yoga. At this point in her career, the girl could teach a barre class with her eyes closed, her cueing and form correction was spot on.

Barre Burn at West Park Presbyterian Church

Barre Burn at West Park Presbyterian Church

The class was held at West Park Presbyterian Church on West 86th street. I must have passed it at least three times, thinking to myself, there’s no way the workout is being held here. Low and behold that’s exactly where it was, head up the four flights of hundred year old stairs and you’ll see discover a beautiful space with high vaulted ceilings, windows that allowed for just the right amount of natural light to shine through, wood floors, and some brick walls. No fancy juice bars or towel service here. I later found out the Shen Wei Dance Company practices, so if it’s good enough for Shen Wei, it’s good enough for me.

Jessica Bailey, barre guru.

Jessica Bailey, barre guru.

The old brick walls of the church were used in place of a ballet barre. Having no barres to grip onto for dear life made the lower body series we did instantly much harder. We then moved on to an upper body series using 3lb weights, core work including planks, pushups, and a variety of abdominal exercises. By the end of class Jessica had me sweating like a Baptist preacher.

The great thing about a back-to-basics workout is that it doesn’t require much. A few weights. A mat. Good music. Instructors.

Checkout the website here for a list of their current classes and package pricing.



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