Thursday, May 17, 2012

Body By Simone: A Review

Boutique fitness studio, Body By Simone opened up late last year but I only recently read about it on a Well + Good NYC article. Intrigued, I did some research and learned that its creator, Simone de la Rue, is a former dancer from Australia who has been building up quite the fitness presence among celebrities as well as the ladies-that-lunch. She's been called the "new Tracy Anderson" because of her focus on dance-based fitness and the utilization of light hand weights, and celeb-cachet (similar to Ms Anderson).

Body By Simone is located close to the west side highway, in west Chelsea - not incredibly convenient to get to but once you see that the creator of the method looks like this it's inspiration enough to trek cross-town!


The studio is surprisingly large, considering the limited number of classes on the group fitness schedule. There is a main studio, a loft-like space lined by mirrors, and two smaller studios, one containing a number of trampolines. After observing for a few minutes it suddenly made sense why the space was so large. It is to accommodate the private clients, of which there are many. In fact, the studio caters mainly to its private clientele and I saw private classes taking place before, during and after my group class.

There is a beautiful locker room, very boudoir-red, with lockers (bring your own lock though) and showers. There are also large posters of a very fit-looking Simone and other equally fit instructors plastered all around the studio.

Dance Cardio is the studio's signature class and is the one I signed up for. My instructor was Alison, a petite blonde who is also a professional dancer. There were four other women in the class, two of whom were brand new so I was glad not to be the only newbie.

The class was 45 minutes of dance cardio, and 15-minutes of floor work targeting the arms, and abs.

The dance cardio portion consisted of many different sequences that were repeated throughout in different variations. There was a lot of jumping, skipping, foot tapping. At the same time we were doing pulling, punching and jabbing motions with the arms. We skipped with high knees, did jumping jacks, and essentially kept moving for the 45 minutes. With the exception of two short cool-downs that were embedded within the dance cardio portion of the class.


The class is very high impact, fast-paced and choreography-based. So if you have bad knees, hip injuries or do not enjoy synchronized choreography, this may not be the class for you.  For everyone else, this class will be great fun. I was drenched. I will emphasize that this class is pure cardio, a similar feeling as going for a run. I also want to emphasize that the dance sequences were repeated many times so even if you don't get it the first couple of times, you will eventually get the hang of them.

For the last 15 minutes we grabbed a mat and set of 3lb hand weights and did a short arm series followed by an abdominal curl section. I was not a fan of this section. It felt too short and left me wanting a bit more.

Overall, this class was great fun. The only issue I had was that I couldn't hear the instructor at all due to a lack of a microphone. I had my eyes glued onto her so that I could follow along, since I could not hear any of her verbal cues. This led to some frustration. I brought this upto Alison after class and she explained that the lack of a microphone is a conscious decision. The routines follow the same sequence and are repeated again and again, and most clients soon become familiar after which they follow along without any issue.

Worth checking out? Absolultely! Classes are $35 but the first class is complimentary. The schedule is currently limited but the studio expects to add more classes soon.