Erica Sara (erica-sara.blogspot.com)
Dori (in blue, third from left), at Refine class.
I waste a lot of time. Playing on the internet, laying in bed, watching TV episodes I've already seen and general procrastination are some of my favorite activities.
I don't, however, like to waste my time when I work out. I want that one hour a day I devote to exercise to be as effective as possible.
As part of my quest to find the perfect workout, I've discovered some incredibly efficient one-hour exercise classes in New York City. One of my favorites just so happened to be named New York Magazine's Best New Workout of 2011.
And rightly so.
Refine Method packs a fast-paced combination of muscle-toning strength and fat-burning cardio into a one-hour session. After a brief warm-up followed by planks and push-ups -- full-body exercises that strengthen the core, biceps, triceps, shoulders and back -- the real fun begins.
By real fun, I mean a whirlwind of upper body, lower body, core and interval heart-rate bursts that happen so quickly you can’t really think about it. Using a proprietary pulley system where the resistance increases in proportion to your strength, the majority of Refine Method exercises focus on full-range-of-motion exercises. No two classes are ever the same, and the incorporation of props such as sliding discs and weighted medicine balls offer more opportunity for unique, challenging exercises.
With 12 students to a class, there is a clear emphasis on form to ensure each exercise is performed to achieve maximum benefit and avoid injury.
The constant variation throughout class, and the fact that no one section drags on very long, ensures that your muscles stay guessing and the time flies by. Before you know it, you're stretching your legs with elastic bands to soothing music in a dimly lit room. You feel at peace.
While some men might write off fitness classes as being for women, Refine Method is most assuredly male-friendly. I personally enjoy bringing my guy friends to Refine and watching them struggle.
The only downside to Refine is the convenience of the location (it's at 340 East 71st Street). While the Upper East Side spot happens to be convenient for me, I have some friends who love the class but not the commute. I know others who love Refine so much they make the trek from all corners of the city. But at the rate Refine is growing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a larger space in the future.
The first Refine Method class is free. A new client intro pack is $100 for eight classes. Single classes start at $25 and the price goes down with the purchase of class-packs and monthly memberships. For more information and class schedules, visit http://refinemethod.com.
Dori Manela is a writer, content manager and social media consultant. Raised in Queens, Dori now lives in Manhattan, taking as many exercise classes in NYC as possible in search of the perfect workout. She started Dori's Shiny Blog in November 2007. As her passion for fitness grew, DSB turned into a health & fitness blog. With the help of her favorite social networking site Twitter, Dori has connected with other bloggers, boutique fitness studios, companies and readers to share her love of working out.