"Hip, Hip Hop, Hip Hop anonymous?"

A love affair with fitness

My name is Leah and I'm a fitness junkie. Before you start picturing me spending hours at the gym with dumbbells, I should clarify. I nearly always feed my addiction at Flywheel Sports with their cycling and barre classes (if you've never been, I strongly suggest trying them out and if you're in the NYC area and want a buddy, I will happily go with you). That said, I do like to mix it up and try new things. Changing exercise routines is great for your body and can stave off plateaus and getting too familiar with a particular method which, for some people, can lead to autopilot. I know I should probably mix things up more often than I do; I'm working on it.

Luckily for me, New York City is FULL of fitness studios. On my block alone there is a famed bootcamp studio, a yoga studio, and a dance studio. Confession: I live on the border of Chelsea/Flatiron, the so-called "Fitness District." Still, studios are expanding quickly and new stand-alones opening all the time. If you love to sweat, NYC is paradise. Among the delights in this fitness Garden of Eden, is Uplift Studios.


In a word, Uplift is awesome. It is all-women, but not in a cheesy way. Instead, it's a fun, easy-going environment, free of any judgment. The locker room is stocked with all things a girl might need (even straighteners), and I think the lack of guys is what keeps any gym smell away. Sorry dudes. The space itself is gorgeous. High ceilings, a bar/check in area with high stools where you can sit and read a magazine before class. There is a personal training area and an enclosed classroom (though you can see in from the rest of the studio). I probably didn't describe that well, take a look

Left: View from our hike. Right: Photos from Uplift's website and Facebook page (top to bottom: bar/check in area, photo from the panel I attended in the personal training area, shot of a class in the group fitness studio).

Left: View from our hike. Right: Photos from Uplift's website and Facebook page (top to bottom: bar/check in area, photo from the panel I attended in the personal training area, shot of a class in the group fitness studio).

 Uplift offers three class types: ENDURANCE (HIIT style), STRENGTH, and SCULPT and then variations on these, i.e. STRENGTH Happy Hour which means there is wine after (I'm not really a drinker but I do love me some good wine). Kickass classes aside, Uplift offers an incredible slate of programming to round out their aim of creating strong, empowered women in all aspects of life. I love these events as there is really nothing else like them. Fun stuff, all women, positivity- sign me up! With Uplift I have gone to Cold Spring for a late-fall day of hiking, attended a superb career panel, made a vision board (more in a later post), and most recently attended a Hip Hop class!

It had been a long time since I last put on my dancing shoes in any formal way. When I was younger I did a hybrid modern-ballet class for many years but stopped in 5th grade. By that point there were only a handful of us still in the class for my age group and I was the youngest. One afternoon, I had a wardrobe malfunction. I don't know how I told my parents I was done, but I do know that I didn't tell them why. I just kept hearing the older girls laugh at me and felt that I could never show my face again. I was even ashamed when I saw them in the hallways at school. I hate that this was my reaction and way of dealing with this situation. Looking back, I want to scream, "Just tell Mom what happened and you'll realize it's not so bad! Don't stop just because of this!" Monday quarterbacking. In college I got bitten by the dancing bug again and spent a year taking Modern Dance but after that, nada. 

Just go big.

This past Thursday I was finally able to take the now monthly hip hop class at Uplift (one of their instructors, Rachel, has a hip hop dance background and as part of Uplift's aim of going beyond their traditional offerings, they have created a class that she teaches). Spoiler: I can't wait for the February class!

I was so nervous leading up to class. Not only was dance pretty far in my past but hip hop, say what?! (Ok, ok, we've all tried to be Justin Bieber and Beyonce.) I kept thinking of reasons to cancel- it might bother my knee, my friend was having a vision board party, I have a lot of meetings tomorrow, but I wouldn't let myself and I'm so glad I stuck it out. Musically, the playlist went from old school Missy Elliot and Prince to Fetty Wap and Justin Bieber and everything in between. The choreography was do-able but still challenging. As Rachel reminded us pre-class, "Just go big. Everyone is only looking at themselves" and she was right. Plus, Uplift is the kind of place where even if someone is looking at you, it's not in a judgy way. So I went big. Popping, freezing, booty shake, all in. Sure there were some Left Shark moments...

Bitmojis say it so well.

Bitmojis say it so well.

But we all had them, or at least I hope we did. I really couldn't tell you because I was too busy having fun and not caring!

In case you were wondering, yes, I've noted down the March class date in my calendar too.

Have you ever taken a hip hop class? Did you have a long-time hobby/activity that you gave up?