The New York Post – Although Alex Ifill works out at least five times a week, his favorite class is Noho Nights, Barry’s Bootcamp’s Friday night session that combines cardio, high-intensity interval training and a DJ during the class for a heart-pumping happy hour.
During the session, Ifill and other clients do jumping jacks and squats to EDM hits. A bulky man in the corner grunts in pain while doing a 90-second set of bicycle kicks. The lights are blood red, and 30 minutes into the session, the studio’s mirrors fog up from the increased body heat.
“We call it ‘church,’ ” says Ifill, a 34-year-old lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen who frequently attends class with his colleague Robert Garcia, 29. “It’s where we go to pray for the sins we’re about to commit during the weekend.”
In the past year, there’s been a rise in Friday night classes catering to health-conscious yuppies looking to blow off steam. Boutique studios such as Overthrow Boxing Club and SoulCycle now offer popular themed classes that foster camaraderie and sometimes even mix in booze.
Kirk Campbell, a sports medicine physician at NYU Langone Medical Center, says Friday night classes are a great alternative to hitting the bars for happy hour.
“I’ve seen a lot of my patients start working out more on Friday nights,” Campbell tells The Post. “They get to release all the stress from the work week.”
‘We call it ‘church’… It’s where we go to pray for the sins we’re about to commit during the weekend’
Plus, Campbell says, research shows that working out at night has health benefits. A study from the University of North Texas found that people who pumped iron in the evening had bigger muscle gains than those who worked out in the morning.
“Your testosterone levels are higher in the evening than in the morning, so you have higher strength gains and you’ll be able to work out a little bit more intensely at night,” Campbell says, referring to both men and women.
For Garcia, the Friday night class is also a great way to switch up his workout routine.
“If it wasn’t for this class, I would probably go home and change and just go to dinner,” says Garcia, a lawyer based in Lincoln Square. “It’s just a refreshing change of pace.” He and Garcia usually go to the dance clubs in Hell’s Kitchen after their workouts, but attendees sometimes head out for drinks nearby in Noho.
The $34 class was started in 2014 by Matty Maggiacomo, a 31-year-old trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp who wanted to offer a place for people to unwind in bar-saturated Noho. So he tapped his model boyfriend, Aaron Aanenson, a 29-year-old DJ, to perform a set during his hourlong sweat session.
“The music is there to help drown out the pain,” Maggiacomo says with a grin to his packed class of 59 people. And stressed-out New Yorkers have been getting the message.
“When we first started the class, we had 13 attendees, and now we consistently sell out,” he says.
And although sign-ups open every Friday at noon for the following week’s class, Maggiacomo says most spots are taken within hours. On any given week, there’s usually more than 10 people on the waitlist — so chances of nabbing a vacant space are slim.
Boxers trade blows at Overthrow’s Booze and Boxing class.Stefano Giovannini
Just a few blocks away at Overthrow Boxing Club, a boutique gym that attracts downtown scenesters and models such as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl Hailey Clauson and Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman, classic rock and beats by Beyoncé and Migos blast as clients trade punches followed by cold beers.
“It’s a great chance to find your inner badass,” Kathleen Munroe, a 33-year-old Astoria resident, tells The Post. She visited on a recent Friday night and sparred with other fit, athleisure-sporting women. “It makes me feel like I’m in a rock bar, or an illegal underground club.”
After the class, Munroe toasted beer cans with her fellow boxers.
The gym has been offering its $34 Friday night classes since it opened in November 2014. Because Overthrow has grungy decor — walls are splashed with neon lights, Bruce Lee portraits and graffiti — owner Joey Goodwin says he wanted to create a happy hour fight-club environment. In the past year, the class has almost doubled in clients.
“There is a huge interest in our Boxing and Booze class, and it often sells out,” Goodwin says.
SoulCycle’s $34 Friday night classes also sell out quickly. Since 2012, the boutique studio has had themed sessions, which vary from a Britney Spears ride to a class featuring only tracks from the Broadway show “Hamilton.”
On a recent Friday night, Tess Kornfeld, a 23-year-old writer, took an ’NSYNC and Backstreet Boys-themed class and says she couldn’t get enough of it.
“Hearing some of my favorite childhood songs pushed me to work out harder,” says Kornfeld, who’s based in Bed-Stuy. “I’d definitely take this class again.”
Image source: The New York Post