Exercise classes are team efforts in NYC fitness studios

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Bryan Smith

 Cycling classes become team sports at Swerve Studio.

It takes a group effort to look this good.

At the new Swerve cycling studio, fitness enthusiasts aren’t just pedaling their own pounds away — they’re carrying the weight of their entire team.

The studio, which opened earlier this month, is arranged into three sections: blue, red and green. When riders reserve a bike online, they’re also reserving a spot on one of the three color-coded teams.

In class, riders all have individual screens on their bikes where they can see their own RPM (revolutions per minute, or speed) and wattage (energy output).

But unlike solo-minded spin classes, riders here can also see their Swerve score — the combined wattage of their team as a whole and how it’s stacking up against the competition.

“We strongly believe in the benefits of team cycling,” says co-founder Eric Posner, who came up with the idea during his former career in finance. Instead of entertaining his clients at boozy lunches and strip clubs, Posner starting bonding with potential partners by attending a boot-camp fitness class together.

“We found that the accountability factor was really what started to motivate people,” says Posner. “Instead of doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your team. It gets people to work harder.”

Instructor Trisha Kinsman leads a cycling class at Swerve Studio, 30 W. 18th St.

Bryan Smith

Instructor Trisha Kinsman leads a cycling class at Swerve Studio, 30 W. 18th St.

And Swerve isn’t the only team player.

At Crunch, a class called Gym Rat Race puts gymgoers into groups of three to five people after 20 minutes of more traditional strength-based training. During the second half of class, teams are pitted against each other while playing old-school childhood games like hopscotch, and having relay races.

Crunch instructor Courtney Alexander likens the whole experience to school recess, when kids take a break from their disciplined day to just play and have fun with each other.

“You see the kid come out in them,” says Alexander. “They’re really screaming because they want to win. People are laughing the whole time.”

Aside from familiar playground games, Gym Rat Race features Bosu, an adult version of musical chairs. While songs play in the studio, classmates perform interval exercises — like squats or side lunges — until the music stops. If a member of your team is too slow to freeze in place, they may be sent to the side and forced to do ten pushups or high knees.

“There’s a built-in support system to help encourage you,” says Alexander. “If you feel like you’re tired, they’re there to tell you, ‘You can do it!’ ”

Of course, when good old-fashioned competition is thrown into an already amped-up group of fitness-minded New Yorkers, the ante (and voice levels) will rise.

Participants limber up for their cycling class at Swerve Studio.

Bryan Smith

Participants limber up for their cycling class at Swerve Studio.

“There are some classes where the energy in the room is so intense,” says Posner, who points out that Swerve’s classes feature a giant flatscreen behind the instructor, projecting each team’s second-by-second progress.

“People start hooting and hollering,” says Posner.

Thankfully, Swerve’s upstairs juice bar and lounge provides the perfect place to work out any differences among teammates post-class.

“It turns into an icebreaker-friendly environment,” says Posner. “You’re more apt to talk to somebody after class who was on your team, because you both pushed hard on that sprint.”



Swerve Fitness (30 W. 18th St.; 212- 242-3330)

Crunch (For class info, visit crunch.com.)

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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