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Simply Fit Astoria: A No Judgement Zone

This exercise review is week two of a six-week series where the author discusses her experiences, both good and bad, at popular NYC fitness classes. Her sweaty struggle saves you money if the class isn’t more than moldy yoga mats in a humid basement, or will be your pocket guide to collegiate-approved sweat sessions.
Brangelina, yogalates, that weird peanut-butter-jelly-in-the-same-jar combo: everything is a mash-up these days (I think we all know who to blame—I’m looking at you Glee), so I decided to go with the trend by heading down to Piloxing this week at the popular Queens workout spot Simply Fit Astoria.
I arrived at Simply Fit Astoria after one of those days at work when you bring a 20 oz, glass bottle of organic, expensive salad dressing and it ends up breaking all over your brand new Toms and favorite pair of jeans that were innocent bystanders in the ill-fated olive oil prison break. Maybe that kind of stuff only happens to me… but you get the picture, it was rough and I was looking to punch something and picture the demonic salad dressing while doing it. Yet, I was a bit worried for the class, I mean we all know the gym classes full of geometric-patterned spandex, perfect gym-hair, Aphrodite-like robots where you automatically feel like morbidly obese panda and fight the urge not to run out the door. But, Simply Fit wasn’t like that. A genuinely friendly woman greeted me, handed me Piloxing gloves, and told me a bit about the class. The women at the class looked just like me, they had just gotten off work, were every size on the spectrum and didn’t throw me fitter-than-thou side-glances. It was comfortable and welcoming, and in a place like this city, we all need a little more of that. 
While I was feeling the warm and fuzzies, the woman at reception told me that Piloxing at Simply Fit is 45-minutes of kick-boxing and 15 minutes of Pilates-inspired ab workouts. Finally, a way to work off all of the croissants and gelato from my semester abroad. YES! 
As we waited for the previous class to finish up, I checked out all of the awards for the studio on the walls: Best Gym in Queens, Best Zumba in Queens for various years, and articles about the owner/founder Lisa Eskenazi. This place is the real deal – Thanks Groupon. (Honestly, if I could buy Groupon BFF bracelets I would, it has never steered me wrong). I pop out of my article-reading state to notice everyone walking out of the previous class. They are dripping in sweat, but look so excited and energized, so I optimistically head in, taking my place in the back…the way back. 
Lisa walks in, straight off of teaching her last class, which places her right next to Superwoman in my book already. She chats with everyone, knowing many women’s names and asking people about their days. It feels more like a community, than a workout class. It genuinely feels like a no judgment zone, not like Planet Fitness advertises—the last time I went there a muscle man laughed at me for watching Law & Order SVU (and everyone knows that show is a national treasure!). 
The class starts off with a warm-up, then ramps up until you look like you have just stepped out of the shower and your clothes are fully soaked in sweat. Lisa, or other trainers, change up the moves every few minutes and keep everyone on track during moments of oh my god, my legs are literally going to fall off. The class was definitely challenging, but I never felt like giving up and when the 45-minutes of kickboxing were up, I was surprised it went so fast.  Not to mention, punching the air and pretending it is your ex-boyfriend is much cheaper than therapy, so there’s that to consider as well. 
We moved onto abs exercises like planks and toe-touches to finish out the class. I was exhausted. My arm, legs, back, shoulders and places I did not even know could be sore, were sore. But, as I got on the N-train to head back to my apartment, I felt more uplifted than I had for a while. Not only does Piloxing at Simply Fit give you a great workout it also, most importantly, sounds trendy (yay cool points!) and features a truly inspiring instructor, while offering a safe space where everyone is encouraged to find their love for fitness. Instead of the judgey, skinnier-than-thou environment many New Yorkers face when trying to get their workout on, piloxing at Simply Fit proves that you can feel comfortable and torch calories all at the same time.
You can sign up for classes or get more information here: http://simplyfitastoria.com
Images courtesy of Instagram/@sfastoria
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