Where: Uplift, 24 West 23rd Street, New York, NY
Hey Laydeez: Get UPLIFTed
Want to know how I found out about Uplift? Not from a website, or a friend or bolt of lightning from the fitness gods; I found out about the studio the old fashioned way – via a flyer handed to me on the street. A flyer advertising a fantastically awesome introductory deal, too: four 55-minute classes for the price of one. WHERE IN THE NAME OF LADY AND WALLET-FRIENDLY WORKOUTS DO I SIGN UP?
On visiting an unknown:
- Uplift is located in my workout hood of choice, Chelsea. I checked out their website after picking up one of their postcard handouts and I enjoyed the message communicated there (mainly: “ladies are awesome and we love the shitake mushrooms out of you so come work out here”).
- I have made the mistake before, however, of having high hopes for a gym only to have my dreams crash and burn around me (one experience so unimpressive I didn’t even write about it for RYB, it was just too much of a joke to even be listed among some of the best gyms in the city).
- Uplift’s website gave me next to nothing to go on - virtually no pics of the venue (hint hint) so I was going in blind. This also explains why I took it upon myself to get a number of cell phone pics while I was there (which is so awkward when you’re trying to maintain anonymity, let me tell you. “Oh excuse me, I just felt like doing an impromptu photo shoot of the locker room, not that I'm a pervert or anything”).
- BUT. GREAT NEWS. The Uplift space is pretty much the jam. Not big (a lot of RYB’s fave spots aren’t big, though, its just the nature of real estate in this town), but packs a punch (It's a pun! Because sometimes you punch there, you see??)
- Absolute nicest lady at the desk when I walked in. Recognized immediately who had come to class before and who hadn't. Found out later that said “lady” is Leanne Shear, one of Uplift’s founders. Vaguely reminiscent of my interaction with Stephanie Tang at Sacred Sounds Yoga.
- Everything in the studio is so new and clean I would eat dinner off of it. The weights, the walls, the lockers, everything.
- It's small, but the lines are clean and the space feels airy. There is a big window on the 23rd street side, and the floors are shiny wood. The setup reminded me a little of Chaise23 (uh oh, a neighborly competitor).
- There’s astro turf on the front of the check-in desk. I just think that’s cool.
- Uplift’s whole “schtick” is being extra supportive and inspiring for all the beautiful women who walk through their doors. This is particularly evident in the locker room where there are messages of encouragement written on all the mirrors.
- You can tell by my pics below that I am not a professional with the camera phone. Please note how classily I highlighted the toilet in the background in on photo, and how the other captures my errant pinkie finger.
- Only one locker room, because this place is for lady flowers ONLY. NO BOYS ALLOWED. (Emphasis mine; they don’t seem like a militant bunch).
- Lockers aren’t touch pad, but have locks with keys on cords.
- SHOWERS. Lots of studios I’ve been visiting lately have no showers, which means you have to run home (or to another gym) to shower if you take a midday or early morning class. Uplift has two showers, both of which seem clean and in good shape (though I haven’t used them yet).
- Locker room is small but because the class size is small I don’t think there will be too much of an overcrowding situation.
The general setup:
- There is a glass-walled yoga/class studio in the back of the space, and an open space with exercise balls and (very few) machines. Not sure what happens in the open space , possibly one-on-one training?
- The studios, ball space, locker room and desk area make up the whole space. But everything is appropriated well.
Equipment and other amenities:
- Weights, pilates rings, yoga mats and blocks, all available. My only equipment issue was the yoga mats were light blue and therefore showed some scuff marks (seems an odd color especially since the studio seems to lean towards dark green). Everything else, though, is in tip top shape.
- Have a water cooler for refilling your own bottles. I believe they have water for sale as well (not sure as I brought my own).
- Website could use a little work. I couldn’t find the address of the studio on there (it came in a calendar reminder for the class I took, though). I know they are a new studio but it would be helpful for business to update the site and include some pictures of how nice the space is. If they want to hire me as a photog, I’m open.
The final word:
Surprised I hadn’t heard about this place sooner, especially since I’ve been on a whirlwind gym tour of the neighborhood. It’s a clean, modern, friendly place. Staff is helpful, in person and over email, and I left with a good feeling about the experience. If that doesn’t “uplift” you, I don’t know what will. As a final thought: they have this little random hangout area in the corner. Why not?
Uplift was formerly Rogue Female Fitness.
From the Uplift Website: In the Summer of 2010, Leanne Shear, a freelance writer and fitness enthusiast, was training friends and clients when her services were written about in the hugely popular blog Daily Candy. Helena Wolin, a corporate attorney and old college friend of Leanne’s, and Katie Currie, a corporate event planner and potential client, both saw the article and contacted Leanne. The women quickly discovered that they shared a philosophy of wanting fitness to be a big part of their lives, but not the only part. Having a robust social life was also a priority for them and despite what so many other fitness places preach, they knew the two didn’t need to be mutually exclusive. In early 2011, with a passion to empower women through fitness and social activity, and a little bit of kismet, Uplift was born. Since then, the buzz around Uplift’s unique approach to combining fitness and fun for women has gotten significant media attention and Uplift opened its first NYC fitness studio space on April 1, 2012 in the Flatiron district. The Uplift fitness studio provides a platform of empowerment, success and confidence for women that has never been done before.
Follow Uplift on facebook.