I decided it was 100% necessary to try Refine Method with Katherine after she and Dori raved about the workout! I added it to my list of goals for August and immediately Katherine had me signing up for a class in the Union Square studio (located between 17 and 18 street on Broadway). Best part? New students get a free class!
Refine was founded by former New York City Ballet dancer (and Harvard-educated, I would never leave that out if I attended Harvard), Brynn Jinnett. Refine Method features a circuit-style of Cardiovascular and Resistance Training. According to the website, there is benefit from Cardio and Resistance Training together – “Through resistance training, we produce a cardio burn while building metabolically-active lean muscle, the antidote to traditional repetitive cardio and the most efficient way to change your shape.” We used cardio movements, kettle bells, elastic bands and a customized pulley system that offers resistance similar to free weights.
The studio was very simple and clean. There was a large room to the right which included changing rooms, large couch-type seating and lockers for your belongings. We took our shoes off and walked into the actual fitness area. It was a perfect size for an intimate class and I never felt too crowded. I was immediately greeted by the instructor, Pam. She recognized I was a new student and began to teach me about the class (type of movements and exercises, where to stand etc.) and how to use the equipment. Everyone in the class seemed to know one another and to be experienced!
We started the class with foam rolling to loosen our legs and back muscles. I welcomed it with open arms as my quads are ALWAYS tight from running. We continued with a warmup that included all types of stretching and some cardio moves to get our heart rate up before we entered into the series of circuits (with each circuit having a few sets, maybe 3). The circuits included cardio exercises and strength exercises. The strength exercises were done with kettle bells and the pulley system. The circuits we did included a variety of exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, “jump-roping”, ice skaters, and many different forms of planks! We used the pulley system for rows and for triceps work. The class ended with core work, a serious amount of glute work and wonderful stretches done while laying down. Pam even gave each one of us a short (random, unexpected and amazing) quad massage while we were stretching.
I definitely worked hard (and was sweating, as usual) the entire time but it remained an enjoyable workout. Pam was so upbeat, encouraging and helpful. She corrected any positions that were wrong. Not in a rude way but in a way that she genuinely wanted us to be executing the exercises correctly. The little tips such as “don’t arch your back, lean forward more etc” absolutely helped. I know that if you are not doing the exercise correctly, you will not feel the benefits and can even get injured. I would much rather know that a tiny shift in my hips or a slight movement of my back can change the entire outcome of the exercise.
SO will I be back? YES! But not as much as I would like. With all boutique fitness studios, comes a larger price tag per class. Refine is $32/class. It seems like a lot but you also get the feel that you are working with a personal trainer. They offer certain types of packages as well as a rewards program (which I am going to look into further when I decide how often I can attend)! Click here for the pricing!
What was my favorite aspect of the class? First of all, I loved the instructor, Pam. The classes are small enough for individual attention. Second, I felt great when I left. I loved the music and it put me in a good mood (we stretched to “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac, amazing). My body was also quite relaxed (even though I will definitely be sore tomorrow). I stretched all of the muscles that are normally so tight from running and was able to do so during a great total body workout! I absolutely believe this class is very complimentary to marathon training!