It’s 8:55 A.M. on a Thursday morning, and I’m sprinting down 26th street in Manhattan like I’ve never sprinted before.
I’m supposed to attend a Full Body class at the Body By Simone studio in Chelsea, and I’m running late. Created by Aussie trainer Simone De La Rue, Body By Simone is a fitness club and personal training studio loved by stars like Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Karlie Kloss, Sandra Bullock, and one Taylor Swift. Body By Simone, known as BBS by those in the ~inner circle~, offers four types of classes at their LA and NYC studios: Trampoline Cardio; Hips, Thighs, Buns; Full Body; and Dance Cardio. And BBS has a cult following.
I first learned about BBS from a friend of mine, who told me that she sets an alarm each week so that she can score a coveted spot in BBS using ClassPass. The classes usually get filled up within the first hour they’re available through the fitness network. According to the BBS website, the goal of their classes is to create “strong, powerful bodies inside and out” and achieve “the desired dancer’s physique.” Any workout with the word “strength” typically scares me, and I rarely stray from my usual workouts of yoga, running, and indoor cycling. I’m a cardio, Child’s Pose kind of girl-not push-ups or Pilates. But, I saw Taylor Swift had Instagrammed from a BBS studio. I’ve always loved following in Tay’s footsteps (she may or may not be the reason I learned how to play guitar in high school). If Swift was up for the challenge, so was I. I reached out to the studio, and BBS hooked me up with a spot in their hour-long Full Body class. It’s an interval training class that brings in BBS’s signature cardio moves as well as upper body, lower body, and core work. And, just my luck, De La Rue herself was in NYC, teaching the class.
After studying paparazzi shots of celebs making their graceful entrances into BBS studios, I imagined a similar entrance, nay entrée, for myself. I wanted to float in clutching a coffee, with massive sunglasses covering my face, a bold red lip, and a fancy purse carried daintily on my arm like it couldn’t contain more than a single Altoid. Instead, I arrived sweating bullets, carrying two massive tote bags-I had to go straight to work afterwards, people-and cursing the fact that I, a mere mortal, don’t get to *float* around the city like a celebrity. My chariot is the F train, not a private black car.
Once I stepped into the studio, I found myself surprisingly comfortable in the hallowed BBS halls.
The receptionist greeted me with a smile, and, after checking me in, she gave me a quick tour of the space, noticing I was a BBS virgin. It looks like your typical studio: A locker room with showers and nice soaps, cubbies to store your belongings, and three separate spaces for classes and personal training sessions. Around me, women buzzed about, storing their things and grabbing what seemed like an endless array of equipment to take into the main studio, where our Full Body class was happening. I followed their lead, grabbing a yoga mat, a pair of wrist weights, light dumbbells, and a gliding disc. I walked into the main studio, and immediately De La Rue greeted me in her cute Aussie accent and asked my name.
De La Rue is a blonde firecracker-tiny, but oh so mighty-with an infectiously upbeat personality.
She was wearing bright pink leggings and a matching sports bra, and, unlike many trainers I’ve come across in dark studios in NYC, she smiled-she actually smiled! The class was packed full, but De La Rue helped me find a corner to set up shop. De La Rue is a former Broadway dancer-turned-personal-trainer, so the class began with some Zumba-style moves set to Top 40 hits. I expected to feel insanely out of my league among the BBS regulars, but to my delight the class wasn’t all models and movie stars. Sure, some of the attendees knew the cardio dance moves like the back of their hands-meanwhile, I’m flailing in the corner-but the group of women spanned all ages, shapes, and sizes. There were other newcomers like me, too. I felt no judgment every time I missed a beat, thanks to De La Rue’s positive reign.
After dancing, the workout got pretty intense.
We pulled on our wrist weights and did some arm lifts. “I can handle this,” I thought-but then the sets kept coming. My arms started crying inside. Then, it was time for hand weights. The moves were simple and subtle, but the kind you knew would make it hard to carry groceries tomorrow. De La Rue asked us to get our gliding disc, and we moved on to leg work. We lunged and glided across the floor all while waving our arms like BBS swans. I’ve never felt so graceful while having all the muscles in my legs quiver. My inner thighs were on fire. De La Rue earnestly encouraged us to smile through the pain. I appreciated her enthusiasm, but I could barely muster a grin.
The rest of the class was kind of a blur: some leg work on the yoga mats-where I kicked my neighbor by accident-more dancing-with some high kicks that came out of nowhere-more legs to my *delight* and then a final, wow-that-hurt abs workout. I thanked the still-cheery but sweaty De La Rue and headed to the locker room to change.
See if you can spot me in the gray tank, giving the workout my BBS best.
While showering, I thought about what I’d read on the BBS website the day before: “The Body By Simone technique is not a quick-fix; it is a lifestyle. This might sound like a cliché, but it’s true.” Before the class, I read it laughing. But now, I could see how BBS could become a pleasant addiction. It’s a tough but encouraging workout, focused on strengthening your body rather than burning cals. I hate strength training, but with De La Rue leading the way, it pushed me through it. It was one of the toughest fitness classes I’ve taken, but one of the most empowering.
Leaving the studio, I felt like a swan warrior.
I walked out of BBS and down the metal steps to 26th street, where I’d seen so many celebs photographed post-workout. “We’re not so different, you and I,” I thought to myself. Then I sprinted to catch the A train, my legs aching the whole way. I texted my BBS junkie friend on my way to work to try and get a sense of how that Full Body class would feel tomorrow.
I found out the hard way that, yes, you are *very* sore after your first time BBS-ing. So, will I pay $35 to take another class? Probably not. New York is expensive as it is, and I have my brunch funds to think about. But! I will set an alarm to score a spot with my ClassPass membership. That way, I can get the celeb treatment without the splurge. Next time, I’m making a better entrance, too.
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