On New York's Upper East Side, gyms and boutique fitness experiences seem to be growing like weeds. You can't walk two blocks without running into one, kind of like nail salons. But that's a good thing. New Yorkers are competitive and pride themselves on being at the forefront of everything from food to fashion to tech, and fitness is no different. All these workout options are great for consumers who get to try out different methods and find the one that works for them.
The newest addition to the neighborhood is Ripped Fitness on 2nd Avenue between 75th and 74th (lucky for them the subway is finally completed!). It's across the street from a massive Equinox, who's afraid of a little competition? Not Brian Ripka, founder of RIpped Fitness and former CEO of Judith Ripka Jewelry. Ripped Fitness is an amazing high intensity interval training workout that runners will love. I am not a runner, in fact have always hated running and I'm a die-hard SoulCycle cyclist, BUT I have fallen in love with Ripped Fitness anyway.
The magic happens in what Ripka calls "the War Room" which is outfitted with gorgeous Woodway treadmills (nothing like your average gym treadmill) along the mirrored perimeter and workout benches centered in the studio with weights of varying sizes beneath them.
Brian teaches classes and has also assembled a team of awesome trainers to round out the weekly schedule.
Here's a breakdown of the method:
- Start on the treadmill, heeding the instructions of the trainer when he/she calls for a change in speed or incline (or both). They keep you motivated with pep talks and mantras that keep you focused and motivated, and keep you from giving up.
- Switch to the benches and follow the given circuit which can involve dead lifts, squats, planks, sit ups and much more. You never stop moving. Even when the trainer is explaining the circuit you're running in place or doing butt kicks.
- Return to the treadmill and run hills with varying inclines and end with sprints.
- Come back to the floor for more lifting or body weight work. Then stretch and you're done.
This workout is no joke. In fact at one workout with Nick Pags I actually threw up a little toward the end of class. I know, gross, but seriously is there any better measure of a kick ass workout??
The UES has been flocking to Ripped and I understand why. It's a super efficient and effective workout in a clean and stocked studio with friendly staff and great trainers, you can't ask for more. The fact that it's 2 blocks from my apartment doesn't hurt either.
I asked Brian why he started Ripped Fitness and he explained that as an avid runner, he wondered why there wasn't an equivalent of the popular spin studio for runners, so he decided to create it. He threw in strength training because he realized that was a more well-rounded workout, and Ripped was born. There are a lot of UES people that sure are happy he did! Ripped Fitness also has a Westchester studio in Rye Brook in case any of your friends in the 'burbs are jelly.