If you aren’t familiar with Michigan, you are probably wondering: What’s Beer City? It’s a nickname of Grand Rapids, voted Beer City USA in national polls. Western Michigan is also where I grew up. Every time I go home for the holidays, I’m on the hunt for a good workout. Spoiled by New York City studios, there isn’t as much to pick from in Michigan, but I have to say more and more options are popping up in the area and I’m no longer stuck working out in the family room or running through the snow. Read on for my reviews of four Grand Rapids-area group workouts!
Disclaimer: FZIQUE is in the process of moving studios and this review is from their original location. FZIQUE popped up in Grand Rapids a few years ago and I learned of it through a friend. Cycling-obsessed, I signed right up and was impressed that the class was professional, using clip-in shoes (it makes such a difference). Overall, the workout was great, considering there’s NO spin class competitors in the area (the YMCA, etc., doesn’t count). I’ve taken several classes at FZIQUE and appreciate how they take advantage of all positions on the bike and incorporate weights, though the style and quality seemed to vary a bit by instructor. The bikes are pretty good, though in the actual studio I wish they had a mirror on the wall. I’ve never been to an indoor cycling studio in NYC without one, and it really makes a difference mentally on pushing yourself, and checking form during class (maybe there will be a mirror at the new location). As cycling is my favorite type of workout, I really wish there were a spin competitor in the Grand Rapids area to compare FZIQUE to, but for now it definitely works! First class $10.
credit: pure barre
I’ll be honest, Pure Barre is good, but not my favorite, at least in NYC. It’s a workout that I do periodically if it fits in my schedule, usually when I don’t have time to sweat as much as in a spin class. Regardless, I am very pleased that because it is a franchise it has been expanding rapidly; I went to the Grand Rapids location and a Grandville studio is set to open soon (yay!). Thankfully, the class was nearly identical to the ones I take in NYC. It’s apparent that the training and quality of Pure Barre across locations remains the same. My favorite part of the particular class I took was the mix-up of music, they played a lot of throwbacks from five years ago that pumped me right up. And after class, it’s convenient to hit up Starbucks next door. First class is BOGO.
Credit: Beer city barre
The name alone of Beer City Barre made me want to try it immediately – such a fun play on words! And as someone who enjoys the balance between the bar and barre, this place fits in the lifestyle. Beer City Barre is a new studio in Grand Rapids that teaches the Barre22 method and the owner, Cori, taught the class that I took with my friend Amanda. She was so welcoming and it immediately felt good to be supporting a local business; I wish I could come more often. The class went through the usual barre segments of arms, abs, legs and seatwork, and they all kicked my butt. I did enjoy that Cori’s class included ample stretching, which is crucial with the high repetitions. First class is free.
Credit: FLEXcity Fitness
I love a good HIIT class; it’s definitely one of my favorite workouts. Who wouldn’t want to maximize calorie burn? With barre, TRX, running, cycling, and body-weight exercises all in one studio, FLEXcity Fitness will keep you moving for an hour. I love a workout that will keep you dripping in sweat the entire class, and FLEXcity delivered. Having large windows that let in a lot of natural light during class is definitely different than the dimly lit studios in NYC, but it’s not necessarily a negative. Overall, the class seemed like a great option to mix up your workouts. I especially like how you can get in a little running while it’s cold outside, but not so much that you’ll get bored on the treadmill. If you’re on the other side of the state, FLEXcity also has locations in Lansing and Bloomfield Hills. First class is free.
Where do you workout in Grand Rapids? Total Body Bootcamp is still on my list and I need others to try (hopefully including new ones to open soon). The above studios definitely help me to stay in shape on vacation now. If you’re a studio-owner in the GR-area, I would recommend offering a “Home for the Holidays” package in the future so that out-of-towners can get their workout on for a discounted week unlimited, it definitely beats Planet Fitness for me!