journey to buff: brooklyn body burn

Remember when I spoke of not being a hero? Never have those words held their meaning so vociferously as when describing a class at Brooklyn Body Burn. My emails to friends harkened back to old Sanford & Son episodes, where Fred Sanford cried out that he joining his Elizabeth, that he was having the big one! Wills were drafted and plans for the cat were hatched. In toasty offices and behind computer screens, my friends were trepidatious, cautious, waiting with bated breath. I had a group email going where friends expressed interest, but were reluctant to dive into the deep end of the pool. In short, they were waiting to see if I’d survive. Meet Felicia, the fitness guinea pig. So when I walked into the loft studio in Williamsburg, I was genuinely afraid.

If you’ve ever been smitten with SLT class (BBB’s closest competitor) or have gotten repeatedly punched in the face whilst taking the hardest Pilates class you’ve ever taken, then you’ll love Brooklyn Body Burn, a 50-minute class where you’ll move on machines that resemble individual torture devices. KIDDING.

The space is airy, draped in light, and sits on the Williamsburg waterfront. Inside, you’ll find towering ceilings and a very effusive front desk staff, who won’t hesitate to welcome you and usher you to your contraption. Once you receive a demonstration of the Megaformer and a sampling of exercises meant to serve as a class preview, the instructors and staff will assure you that yes, you will be confused. Yes, the class will seem overwhelming, at first. The pulley system and sliding carriage will confound you and remind you of that time you got kicked out of step class because you were violently uncoordinated, but newbies are bookended by regulars, and the teachers offer the precisest of instruction and a host of modifications.

I was still terrified, but I told myself that the hardest part was getting here. All I could do was the very best I could, and I told myself this: DON’T BE A HERO. I vowed not to let my inexperience shame me, and to be proud of how strong I’m becoming.

And then class started. We started by our left and right sides pretty intensely, pretty quickly. From sliding lunges on and off the Megaformer {they call these elevator lunges; elevator to hell, naturally}, to sliding squats and pulses, you will constantly work areas of your glutes and thighs that you couldn’t imagine existed. Know that you’ll get drenched within the first 10 minutes of class because not only are you strengthening, lengthening and toning your muscles in minute, slow movements until exhaustion, the repetitive nature and the constant movement deliver a terrific cardio workout. Form is tantamount, and my instructor, the very lovely and patient Eileen Kielty, kept racing over to correct my form. Interestingly enough, ten years of yoga helped in this class because when executing moves on a moving carriage, core and balance are critical.

Or you’ll fly off the machine.

Once both sides of my legs were ready to be sawed off, we focused on core work from which, three days later, I can see feel the effects. Think pikes, planks, mountain climbers and using the Megaformer as a means to move against our own body weight. Barbells accompany the lower body work, although I didn’t touch my weights in my class as I was more focused on not being a hero and navigating the machine. Trust me, I still got an insane low-impact, high intensity workout.

Although I had to stop nearly every ten minutes {I’m talking full-stop, no movement, face wipe-down and a slight whimper}, the class flew by and I honestly felt strong leaving. Granted, BBB was the hardest workout I’ve ever done {this coming from someone who works out 5-6 days a week}, but I would absolutely go back. As soon as I got home, I replied all to my group email with the following subject line: BROOKLYN BODY BURN: I’M NOT A CORPSE, with a note that read, let’s do this!

Teachers I Took + Adored: I took class with Andrea Dusel-Foil + Eileen Keilty, and both are exceptional beyond measure.

What to Know: You can work the machine barefoot or with barre, no-slip socks {the studio sells them}; sneakers aren’t required. There are no showers and the bathroom serves as a changing room, so come prepared to burn. Come with a huge bottle of water because you’ll need it. Opt for very form-fitting clothes, and leave your ego at the door because BBB will make you humble, I promise you this. Also, your first class is $18, and newbies get a 5 class for $79 deal, which expires in 30 days.

Bottom image photo credit


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