By Jessica Major
As a college student, it is easy to get overwhelmed, stressed, and consumed by school work. It is easy to get lost in a world full of early morning classes and late night studying, and one can feel fully removed from other life activities and stress relievers. I both believe and practice that exercise is an essential component of maintaining a student’s sanity as it provides relaxation while incorporating another aspect of life that is not school.
While education is vital, looking after one’s mental and physical health is just as crucial, and the outlet of working out allows students to take their noses out of their books and improve their mental and physical health. Now that I hopefully convinced you, a Yeshiva University student, to incorporate exercise into your schedule, you are probably wondering: where do I begin? Where can I find a workout space that suits my independent needs and can ultimately help achieve my goals? Lucky for you, I am going to suggest a number of different workout classes all walking distance to and from Stern College.
Only one block away from the Brookdale dorm, there is a 305 Fitness Studio (https://305fitness.com) where working out feels like one big dance party. At 305, you are receiving all of the benefits of a full 45 minute cardio exercise class, without the thought “when is this going to be over?” Personally, as a dancer, I find 305 workout classes to be incredibly fun and entertaining. It is a judgement free zone where the staff are constantly hyping the class members up, emphasizing the importance of self confidence and expression. All of the teachers are bursting with positive energy and they constantly express the importance of loving yourself and the people around you.
Another great NYC workout option is Soulcycle (https://www.soul-cycle.com) which is located near Stern College on West 27th Street, and is one of my all time favorites. Spinning for 45 minutes on a bike is not the only thing that you are signing up for. Soulcycle is a community based workout space where the staff and participants feel like one big family. I always find that everyone at Soulcycle is incredibly friendly and warm, making the workout a safe, enjoyable, and comfortable environment. Each Soulcycle instructor has their own flavor and each class has a different atmosphere, depending on the instructor’s music taste. If you are obsessed with music like I am, the class playlist will totally make or break your workout. I think it takes a few tries to find an instructor that you truly connect to, but once you find that person, you will be hooked! One thing that is absolutely certain about a Soulcycle class is that you will always leave the studio dripping in sweat and feeling extremely satisfied with your workout.
A less dance based class is Barry’s Bootcamp (https://www.barrys.com), an intensive workout that incorporates both cardio and conditioning. When you sign up for the class, you are given the option to either begin on the treadmill or on the floor. If you start on the treadmill, then the second half of your class will be focused on floor work, and vice versa. While on the treadmill, the instructor will give you guidance on how to maintain and up your speed, while also giving you challenging incline numbers interspersed with walking breaks. The floor part of the workout incorporates some type of fast pace conditioning, mainly weight lifting, with a combination of standard floor workout exercises. People tend to find Barry’s Bootcamp challenging for two main reasons: either they hate running, and/or because there is one instructor that tells both the people on the treadmill and the people on the floor what to do, if you aren’t very focused on their directions, it is easy to get lost or confused. The reason I enjoy Barry’s Bootcamp is because it is a two in one workout where you are gaining a full body cardio class along with a weight training, conditioning session.
While the rush of a group class can be exhilarating and motivating, working out independently in a local gym can be both relaxing and less time consuming. Attending a dual curriculum college means that we don’t have as much free time as other students. I live in a building a few blocks from school, and when I don’t have the leisurely time to attend a workout class, I workout downstairs in my apartment’s gym. There, I am not forced to listen to an instructor, rather, I have the freedom to choose my own path and workout routine. Additionally, at the gym a person is less likely to focus on the people around them, because everyone is focused on their own independent workout. I would suggest going to a gym if you are someone who knows which equipment is most effective for you, and if you prefer to workout on your own or you can bring a buddy with you in order to increase motivation.
Overall, there are a number of different exercise classes and facilities that are aimed to help people pursue their workout goals and aspirations. My advice is to be open minded and to acknowledge that each place has their own benefits and downfalls; therefore, it is helpful to switch up your weekly routine and not be too rigid with your exercise choice. No one ever finishes a workout and feels a sense of regret, rather, you will experience a sense of accomplishment and pride. I believe that if a person, especially a college student, incorporates exercise into their busy schedules, it will ultimately help reduce stress, perform other tasks with more ease, and improve mental and physical health.