Across cities in the United States, January has become synonymous with fitness. Whether it’s beginning a new workout regime or starting a diet, people love to create a new start on the first day of a new year. Appropriately, Equinox releases a new signature class in January every year. In 2018, this class is called The Muse, a fusion between barre and cardio that will definitely make you break a sweat.
QUALITY OF the muse workout: 7
When reading Equinox’s entirely unhelpful description of The Muse, all I was able to glean was that it was some kind of dance cardio class. Since my friend told me that it was barefoot, I assumed that it would be sort of related to yoga, with some kind of stretching component.
This assumption turned out to be wrong. Upon entering the class, we were told to grab what were essentially tiny medicine balls — and nothing else.
So what did we do with these? We basically held them for most of the class, sometimes raising them in the air or twisting side to side. You’d be surprised how much three pounds on each side can feel like — especially in your upper back area. The class was non-stop, with no built-in breaks. While the workout was relatively low-impact, with burpees being the only real jumping move, we glided and galloped and chasséd across the room. The pace was relatively slow, and we did the movements enough times on each side that they eventually stuck. Even non-dancers like me (see my 305 Fitness review if you’re curious) should be able to get on board with this routine.
Despite the approachability of this workout, I had a hard time really getting into it. To me, it seemed odd that a dance cardio workout wasn’t more closely tied to a playlist, which is where 2017’s Firestarter really excels. The movements also didn’t really tell a story to me, which is something like I look out for in a class with continuous movement. Like Fully Loaded, final stretches were incorporated into the workout, but it ultimately felt anticlimactic.
The routine for this class has become more cohesive, and the flow also depends somewhat on the instructor. Routines stay the same for a month, giving students time to learn the movements thoroughly.
SIZE OF CLASS: MEDIUM/LARGE
Since there’s limited equipment, this class can fit as many people as the room had. In today’s class, there were probably around 30 students, mostly women and all first-timers.
I’ve taken this class at a number of studios since its release. No matter which location, there are typically between 15-30 students. Equinox Soho keeps the class the smallest, likely because of equipment limitations.
If you’re not accustomed to using weights, even light ones, then you will likely find this class to be very challenging. You spend a large chunk of the class holding either one or two three-pound medicine balls. If you’re like me and have child-sized hands, you will also find this challenging after a while. That said because the workout is low-impact, I don’t find that you need to have particularly good endurance to make it through. Not a lot of students took breaks at any given point. And even with the ballet elements, I didn’t find that you needed a superhuman amount of coordination to learn the routine.
STUDIO QUALITY (east 74th Street): 8.5
This location, like most others, is modern and well-maintained, with full amenities. My only complaint here is the number of stairs. You have to descend three floors down to get to the fitness studio and forget about having cell phone service.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you enjoy Barre and would like to add some cardio, The Muse is a good class for you. Like Barre, you use light weights with a high volume of reps, but there are some jumping and movement involved too. This is also a great workout for those who have knee issues or can’t handle high impact workouts. Although I didn’t originally think that I would want to do this workout regularly, I’ve found it to really help my coordination and even make me feel kind of graceful!
Like functional training? Check out my A Week of Functional Training at Equinox for ideas.