Brick studio

Brick Review | New York Grand Central

Brick New York first came to my attention because of coffee. Specifically, caveman or bulletproof coffee. You see, I work in Midtown East, which is developing a better healthy food scene but is still somewhat of a wasteland. Even the closest hot matcha is several blocks away from my office.

So I was aimlessly searching to see where I could find a good bulletproof coffee (made with butter and MCT oil) — and that’s how I found Caveman Coffee, located inside of Brick New York’s newest location.

Although my husband is an ardent Crossfitter, I haven’t had much exposure to the workout myself. Thankfully, Brick provides a free first class for first-time students. I went with B Fit, their strength and conditioning class.

GRADES

My grading system is from 1-10, with 1 being either the worst and 10 being either the best. For difficulty level, my assessment is subjective. For class size, small is less than 10 students, medium is 10-25, and large is more than 25.

QUALITY OF brick b fit WORKOUT: 7

I really wanted to love this class. Described as “increas[ing] both strength and cardiovascular capacity with basic barbell movements and metabolic conditioning,” I was expecting to be in a world of hurt (in a good way) after this class. While I definitely got a decent workout in, I think that it could’ve been enhanced in a number of ways, which I’ll lay out below.

 
the workout
The class was split into three sections that were respectively four minutes, sixteen minutes, and twelve minutes long. We started with a warm-up of AMRAPs of five Dublin presses, ten rows, and fifteen bicycle crunches. The strength portion had us paired with a partner, where we did eight barbell presses, eight ring rows (or pull-ups, for those who were able), and 15-20 weighted sit-ups. The conditioning portion consisted of rounds of wall-balls and kettlebell swings, every minute on the minute, increasing by two reps per movement every three minutes.
I found that there were a few too many breaks built into the class, leading to a considerable amount of dead time. This was particularly problematic during the strength section. My partner started with ring rows while I did barbell presses. This meant that I waited at least thirty seconds for her to finish her sit-ups before I could start during each round. I would then typically have about a minute and a half to rest before the next round began. A better way to structure that segment could have been to have us alternate between the ring rows and barbell press before doing sit-ups.
I acknowledge that the breaks also may have felt excessive for me because my weights weren’t heavy enough. I assume that if you’re working really, really hard, those breaks feel entirely necessary. For me, I wondered if I should just keep going.
That said, the conditioning portion was really challenging. The strength section of the class was well-constructed, focusing primarily on upper body and core. The regulars here are probably in very good shape.
SIZE OF CLASS: small

There were only eight people in the class this morning, leaving plenty of room and equipment for everyone.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTOR (lauren fleri): 7

Lauren is warm and friendly and started the class off with good energy. She demonstrated each move thoroughly, which I appreciated as someone new to the class. Since the class was small, she also walked around the room and corrected form and provided encouragement during each round. I especially appreciated this during the conditioning section.

My one piece of advice to Lauren would be to push each student more during each round. Since I really wasn’t sure which weights to use, it would’ve been helpful to me if she’d provided some individual feedback and increased the weight in some instances. That said, I understand why an instructor may be hesitant to do that — often, a student knows his/her own limitations.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MEDIUM

There are a lot of modifications available to students who take this class. Lauren was also very effective at explaining each move and coaching us through it, meaning that no one in the class at any point was straight up moving without knowing what they were doing.

That said, this class isn’t easy. As a beginner, even just getting through the conditioning portion and finishing each round will be a challenge. As a more experienced student, if you pick really challenging weights, this class will definitely give you a good workout.

STUDIO QUALITY: 8

Brick has three different fitness rooms on the basement floor, as well as Caveman Coffee on the ground floor and locker rooms a floor above. The studio also provides paleo meals from Kettlebell Kitchen (order in advance) and other paleo-friendly snacks and beverages. There’s even a smoothie bar if you need a post-workout refresher.

The rooms are clean and equipped with high-quality fitness toys (as I like to call equipment), although there are no mirrors, which is a bit weird. The locker rooms are fully stocked, but it’s slightly annoying that the towels are to be found on a different floor.

My main complaint lies with the locker rooms — but as a caveat, I’m very spoiled by Equinox. You have to bring your own lock, and many of the lockers were full despite having no locks on them. Like most studio locker rooms, the space is also a bit cramped, with benches located directly in front of lockers.

TIPS
  • Come here prepared to work! B Fit is not a class that’s easy to cheat, because of both the size and the nature of the workouts.
  • This class is available on ClassPass — so if you’re a member, it’s worth checking out! Especially since there aren’t a lot of comprehensive strength workouts on the platform.

Into functional training? Check out my Week of functional training at Equinox!

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