It’s that time of year again. The annual rush to get in shape for swimsuit season can be a panic-inducing rite of summer. Fortunately, the latest wave of results-driven workouts promise to deliver a better body—and fast. From calorie-blasting boot-camp sessions to strength-building kettleball classes, here, our guide to the best fitness strategies for getting bikini-ready in a flash.
The Fhitting Room
Based on recent science showing the streamlined efficacy of high intensity interval training, this Upper East Side gym offers full-body sessions that alternate between cardio bursts, short recovery periods, and strength-building weight circuits. Each exhilarating (and exhaustive) 50-minute session incorporates the use of rowing machines, dumbbells, pull-up bars, medicine balls, and more.
1166 Lexington Avenue, NYC; 212.772.1166
A veteran of cult fitness studios from Tracy Anderson to Flywheel, Mahri Relin is winning raves for her new brand of dance cardio workouts. A typical class begins with high-energy movements that get the heart pumping before transitioning into a series of exhaustive mat sequences designed to sculpt the arms, tighten the glutes, and engage the core.
Available for private classes and public sessions at Dance New Amsterdam
280 Broadway, NYC; 212.625.8369
Kettleball Krunch at the Surf Lodge
While the Surf Lodge’s summer fitness curriculum offers several formidable options—Muay Thai boxing and TRX among them—Kettleball Krunch stands out from the pack. Developed by instructor Rui Li, the strength-building sessions incorporate the use of ten- to 20-pound cast-iron kettleballs in a series of exercises that activate the entire body (as opposed to just one muscle group at a time, which is often the case with straightforward dumbbell lifts). Consisting of dynamic, fluid movements, the workout also requires coordination. “It’s like learning to dance but in a pretty hardcore way,” says Li.
183 South Edgemere Street, Montauk, New York; 631.668.1562
Amanda Freeman brings her groundbreaking exercise method to Water Mill with an airy, sunlit studio that’s set to open this weekend. Fusing elements of Pilates, cardio, and endurance training, the 50-minute workout is performed on one of Sebastien Lagree’s patented Megaformer machines (picture a beefed-up Pilates reformer) and targets the core, as well as the upper and lower body. Also on the menu: SLT Yoga, a series of power Vinyasa-style classes set to thumping, high-energy dance music.
50 Station Road, Building Number 3, Water Mill, New York; 646.588.9490
The Mercury Method
Equal parts yoga, Pilates, and strength-training, this innovative new workout has taken the city’s fitness scene by storm since debuting last fall. Designed by fitness video instructorLara Hudson, classes are held in a studio set to a steamy 98.6 degrees (the human body’s normal temperature) in an effort to boost the metabolism, burn calories more efficiently, and flush out toxins. For students in search of a better set of arms, there’s also Barre Fly, a new summer class which tones shoulders, triceps, and biceps by requiring students to maneuver a free-floating three-foot bar throughout the duration of the workout.
1444 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago; 773.661.2994
Beyond Bounce at Beyond Studios
In an effort to torch calories while improving balance and coordination, Beyond studio cofounder Brandi Marino has adapted her unique Pilates-based method for the trampoline—choreographing a mix of jumps, squats, and ab exercises that are significantly more challenging when performed on the springy surface.
4314 Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214.363.4607
Perimeter at Equinox
Exclusive to the fitness company’s Back Bay location, this popular circuit-training workout draws from a wide range of exercises including TRX-style chest flys, Spiderman push-ups, and lateral hops. Instructors interweave endurance-testing rounds of strength-training with brisk cardio drills. Students start by warming up in a circle (hence the workout’s name) to foster a sense of group energy and fortitude.
131 Dartmouth Street, Boston; 617.578.8918
Tracy Anderson Studio
Tracy Anderson’s new whitewashed Brentwood studio may look like a day spa (complete with a blow-out bar and soon-to-open health food café)—but fans of the celebrity trainer know her one-hour signature workouts mean serious business. Targeting oft-neglected muscles, the low-weight, high-rep method tightens and tones without adding unwanted bulk. Those in search of a flatter, smoother stomach may want to log extra time on Anderson’s new custom abdominal apparatus, which uses principles of resistance and extension to sculpt the waistline.
11918 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles; 818.762.3133
The Manhattan-born indoor cycling sensation arrived in Los Angeles last month with a pair of sister studios located in Larchmont and West Hollywood. Riders who sign up for a 45-minute class can burn up to 800 calories, thanks to an intensive series of intervals, climbs, and descents. Bikes come equipped with tracking devices that monitor speed and resistance (competitive types can opt to compare stats against other riders on the in-class big screen). If you’re looking for more targeted lengthening and stretching, the WeHo location also offers yoga classes.
147 North Larchmont Boulevard, L.A.; 323.446.2425
8599 Santa Monica Boulevard, L.A.; 310.360.7200
Blitz at Sports Club/LA-San Francisco
Extreme exercise enthusiasts who opt to take this boot-camp style workout can alternate between one of three rotating Blitz classes—each offered on a different day of the week—that focus on strength, endurance, or power, respectively. Led by hands-on coaches and restricted to only eight participants at a time, the high-intensity, hour-long sessions include nonstop repetitions of plyometric exercises, weight-lifting, and agility training that leaves little rest for the weary.
747 Market Street, San Francisco; 415.633.3900
The high-octane, quasi-spiritual indoor cycling class is peddling its way into the Bay Area this summer with studios in Cow Hollow and Marin County. Fans of the workout can expect heart-pumping sprints, arduous resistance rides, and handlebar push-ups—set to the sound of Madonna, the Beastie Boys, and more. Bonus: Popular New York instructor and recent San Francisco import Jenny Gaither will be teaching at both locations.
Marin Country Mart, Larkspur, California, opening June 8; 415.285.7685
2095 Union Street, San Francisco, opening in September