journey to buff: uplift studios


What lifts you up? What makes you bolt out of bed, jubilant for where the day will take you? Few things truly motivate me, however, the possibility of creating something new each day has been a constant, yet simple source, of inspiration. Consider that the word create need not be something tactile; it doesn’t have to be a photograph you take or a story you write or a deal you close, rather it can be ephemeral or emotional, because there is beauty in creating and cultivating a sense of abundance within yourself. There is power in cultivating presence, and I do this by committing to a journey to buff.

This morning I read a post where the author wrote about quieting the mind of chatter as a means of living your life, really living it, as it happens, in the moment it happens. There’s something powerful in that, in being a person who exists in the present tense rather than someone who continuously jettisons to a future state. The author notes,

Physical things only exist in the present. Keep your attention on something physical and that means you’re keeping it on something that is actually happening.

I’ve been talking a lot about my fitness journey, how it’s transformed my physical self, but it’s also had a profound impact on my sense of self. Gaining strength has made me more aware of my body, of its potential and possibility, and, as a result, I view my flaws as gifts worth celebrating. Failure isn’t an end destination, and I’ve adopted a state of imperfection as a means to further a journey to constantly return to thing that eludes me, challenges me. My life is a constant practice, and these imperfections, these I’m too weak to lift a 12-lb weight; my core is a bucket of fail, have become mantras that I take to each class in hopes of getting a little stronger every day. As a result, I’m calmer, self-aware, patient, and present, because committing myself to creating abundance within myself by the sheer act of a physical routine has ushered in a sort of bliss that I want to carry with me when class is over.

Case in point: yesterday’s visit to Uplift Studios for their Sculpt Fusion class. The buzz on Uplift is well-earned. The sun-drenched, ladies-only space in the Flatiron Fitness district is welcoming as soon as you step into the space. From the warm front-desk reception to the clean, minimal space adorned with weights, TRX bands, and books (!!!!), to the motivation axioms festooned on the walls, you want to get lost in the energy of the space: one of practiced abundance.

Class size is small, and the low-impact Sculpt class was a sweet fusion of yoga, strength training, Pilates and barre work. Each set of exercises ended with a burst of cardio {e.g. mountain climbers, curtsy lunges to side kicks}, and I immediately got my sweat on. The pace of the class only invites you to be in the present moment, as you’re coordinating upper and lower body movements {think resistance bands around your calves and thighs and you’re doing sumo squats to a chest press}. While I didn’t get a ton of hands-on adjustments from Madeline, my instructor, the moves were pretty easy to follow and my teacher executed meticulous demonstrations before we tackled each sequence. Madeline also offered modifications and motivation along the way. When class was over I felt calm. I felt I had created something new {namely, I didn’t drop my weights the moment I grew tired; I hung on a few breaths beyond my breaking point}.

What to Know: Uplift also offers high-intensity classes for those who love the Bootcamp vibe {Strength + HIIT are quite popular}. The space is equipped with towels, showers, a changing room and freshening-up amenities. Water is for sale, but the studio is also equipped with a fountain for bottle refills.


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