When we were told Eric Villency was the wizard of wellness, we didn’t realize he kind of actually is. Villency designed the SoulCycle bike, Peloton bike, Barrys Bootcamp equipment and the touch points at Equinox (to name only a few). He’s had a handle – quite literally – on the fitness scene of late, which is why we could think of no better person to ask about staying fit in winter. Below Villency gives us his favorite spots for winter fitness and why you need to try them…
1. Equinox: Where it all began. I’ve been going since college and it’s still the gold standard for me and the bedrock of my workout routine. My week starts and finishes here. It’s a “choose your own adventure” with a roster of fantastic classes like Tabata. Best of all, their Sunday yoga keeps me straightened out, and who are we kidding – everyone needs more stretching in their life.
2. Run Smart: No matter how many years you’ve been running, you can always learn something new. Brian Rosetti of Run Smart can get you ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon or simply help you get past some nagging problems with your form. I put the tricks to use at the Hudson River Park. I grew up a city kid a few blocks from Central Park and pounded the pavement in the loop more times than I can count. But exercise is most enjoyable when you can get an escape. The Hudson River run is as scenic a run as you can get in NYC. The real highlight starts on the Upper West Side Greenway with insane views over the Hudson as you continue past the “Cherry Walk,” so named for the over 2000 cherry trees lining the path, and continue up the route passing Grant’s Tomb (Grant’s Tomb where history comes alive!). In short, this scenic run is the perfect antidote for the urban jungle.
3. SLT Pilates: Certain exercise disciplines skew to female demographics, but I’ve done enough barre classes that I am not foolish enough to think that any are easy. Us guys tend to blast our bodies with weight training and high impact movements and I admit there isn’t anything more fun than throwing some steel up with tunes blasting in your ears. However, as the arrogance of youth has faded, I’ve developed a growing appreciation for low impact exercise movements that lengthen muscle and build core strength. SLT keeps their classes moving with great playlists and a very accessible form of Pilates.
4. Refine Method: New York has an incredible roster of studios that offer high intensity interval training and Refine Method stands out from the pack with a workout that will push you to your edge without feeling there is a high risk of injury. It’s the result of a thoughtfully prepared choreography of movements created with an impressive knowledge of kinesiology that gets results and will keep you guessing what comes next.
5. Sports Lab NYC: When you hit it hard, injuries are inevitable. Dr. Keith Pyne from Sports Lab NYC saves lives and enables an active lifestyle. I have no doubt he could part the Red Sea. I’ve tested his skills over the years with strains and pulls and he’s never failed to get me sorted out.
6. Barry’s Bootcamp: where you need to bring your A-game. In an era where “participation trophy” is the punch line to a joke, you actually deserve one for hitting a Barry’s class where you will work until failure.