The idea of aqua spinning, alone, raises many questions: What does one wear to class? What is the temperature of the water? Do you sweat heavily? Is that sanitary? And these are all fair concerns about a workout routine that, until now, has been relatively under the radar and only popular among Europeans. For those willing to try the water-based cycling class, and see how the above questions are answered, Aqua has just opened the first studio of it's kind in the United States in New York's Tribeca neighborhood.
For those of you who would rather let someone else be the guinea pig, read on. On the opening evening, Aqua's loft-like space is as inviting as a serene spa: walk downstairs toward the locker rooms and you can see the small pool, 4-feet deep and with 15 stationary bikes submerged; music plays, not too softly and not too loudly, lights are dimmed and walls are flanked with tea candles. The atmosphere, like the workout itself, is not as intense as a heart-pounding race at Flywheel or the girl-power induced mantras during a Soulcycle class. Instead, it balances low impact and high resistance in an intimate setting, where an instructor can help you really focus on your muscles, your core strength, and your balance and stability in the water. On top of working your legs, abs and arms just as much as you would spinning on dry land, underwater exercise is far more beneficial to your muscles and joints. In fact, the hydro massage you get from the water resistance can visibly reduce cellulite through the draining of the lymphatic system.
It may not be an everyday-type of workout, but it's a fun, less stressful alternative to pencil in to a regular schedule of kicking your own ass. In terms of dress code, wearing a bikini, a pair of short shorts and sports bra or a speedo one-piece will all fly. As of now, the Aqua studio is female only with full-service locker rooms, plus showers right out of the pool. You won't get your hair wet, but you will be submerged up to your chest while on the bike. Sweating is minimal since the pool water keeps your body temperature down, and after you won't feel sore.
While this new workout craze may take some time for cycle enthusiasts and fad class devotees to wrap their heads around, there's definitely something to be said for the strengthening, lengthening and toning that these sessions can provide. In the case of Tribeca's new Aqua classes, spinning the wheels never felt so good.
Aqua's Tribeca studio is located at 78 Franklin Street, between Church and Broadway, (212) 966-6784
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