When I first packed my bags to move from Bondi Beach to New York, I anticipated that the relocation would impact me in a few major ways (sun deprivation, for one) but the most persistent, nagging worry was that I’d lose touch with the active, healthy life that came so naturally while living in Sydney, and that I would end up subsisting on Shake Shack and Oreos. While binging on Netflix. In my studio apartment. Alone. Thankfully, I’ve been living in New York for over a year, and my health hasn’t spiraled out of control—yet—and instead, I’ve discovered a thriving fitness scene that every single one of you should make the most of when touring (or relocating to) the Big Apple.
Manhattan’s fitness obsession rivals any place in Australia; yes, frostbite is a legitimate risk if you go for a run outside in winter, and yes, this is a city built on convenience, but that doesn’t mean the lifestyle is a lazy one. Quite the opposite, actually: With over 8.5 million people living in New York City alone, and many more traveling in every day for work, the dense population feeds a thriving wellness community in which there are, quite literally, studios, cafes, delivery services, and events to serve every single fitness niche. And you can bet the major wellness trends breaking out in New York right now will make their way to Australia in no time.
Keep reading for a breakdown of the top six things I recommend every fit girl tries when visiting New York.
A fit girls guide to NYC
If you thought meditation was a solitary activity, you’re doing it wrong. MNDFL is the buzzy new group meditation studio offering 30 and 45 minute group sessions in a chic, calm studio tucked into downtown New York. Since launching at the end of 2015, a bunch of themed classes have been introduced, including sessions engineered around sleep, energy, and emotions. I love the sleep class in the evenings when I’m working late and struggle to switch off. First-timers pay $10 for a class, and it’s well worth the investment.
Located on the corner of Bleecker Street and MacDougal Street vegan cafe, by CHLOE, first opened it’s doors in mid-2015—and there’s basically been a queue out the door ever since. It’s located super close to NYU, and is a popular hangout spot for the younger crowd and students, thanks to the reasonable pricing. Order the guacamole burger and sweet potato fries, or a matcha and blueberry muffin, and tell them Jasmine says hi.
If you want to spot someone famous, forget about hanging around the West Village; just book yourself into this model-packed gym. It’s frequented by Sports Illustrated models and Victoria’s Secret’s finest, which is testament to the body-sculpting workout you’ll experience here. The first time I visited, I nearly (nearly!) quit during the warmup, so go in knowing this challenging circuit class isn’t for beginners.
Alright, so services like ClassPass and Fitreserve aren’t healthy destinations exactly, but they are your ticket to multiple. Both of these monthly subscription services will give you access to fitness hotspots including gyms and studios. FitReserve charges $79/month for five classes, while ClassPass asks $125 for unlimited sessions; both of which work out to be cheaper than casual visits to most of the gyms in the city.
This sweat-dripping, beat-bumping, candlelit class isn’t your average yoga session. I’m personally obsessed with the loud hip hop soundtracks, dark and heated rooms, cool atmosphere, and intense combination of bodyweight-based resistance movements and intense yoga sequences. With locations in Flatiron and Soho (and Brooklyn, if that’s your jam), this new yoga class is fast becoming a major thing in a way that echoes SoulCycle’s initial rise to cult status among the wellness set.
New York, and America in general, get a bad rap for being packed with greasy, processed fast-food, but it’s not all McDonalds and Chipotle in the city. Hu Kitchen is one of many super-healthy grab-and-go destinations that offer a quick, cheap, easy, and nutrient-packed meal. Everything is completely unprocessed, and they serve a full paleo breakfast menu, fresh juices, organic coffee, vegetable or grain bowls, and sides like organic quinoa and root vegetable mash. Yep, it’s delicious.