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After being served countless ads on Insta and Facebook, I was ecstatic to receive the offer to check out some classes at brand new fitness studio, NEO U, on 5th Avenue and 38th Street.

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The space is tremendous, adorned with street art and inviting inspirational quotes. There is also the NEO Cafe, where the Hammer is THE protein shake to try.

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The gym is class-based and has its’ own platform to also offer their classes either in real time or to take on-demand in the comfort of your own home. To make this possible, the sessions are videotaped, so if this makes you squeamish, you may want to opt for the at home option.

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I tried three intense classes three days in a row, which I do not recommend as you will be sore, but I wanted to make sure I tried out as much as I could. The first class was Stronger with Time with Mat Forzaglia. The class is HIIT-based and incorporates weights and kettlebells. The class goes through sequences where each body part is fatigued and Mat works with any limitations your body may have.

NEO Strike, which focuses on boxing, was the next day with Gabrielle Machuca, who has taught at such highly-regarded places as Box + Flow and Equinox. The class is a mixture of conditioning and bag work, which Gabi felt is lacking in other boxing class offerings today. The session was illuminated with sexy lighting and Gabi’s encouraging words and individual attention to correct form filtered in between upbeat tunes. Gloves are $4 to rent, and they also have $6 NEO-branded wrap gloves for purchase.

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Lastly, I took NEO GO with Dani Irwin. This class is a bootcamp format and focuses on strength training, core work and cardio intervals. Dani’s playlist kept me going as I pushed myself 10% more than I feel I would’ve in any other setting. These classes helped me realize the potential my body has the capabilities to achieve, which was reassuring to experience. The studio also offers dances classes with VIXEN and yoga classes entitled, NEO Flow, but I didn’t have the opportunity to try out either.

There are many highlights to this space, but the bathrooms are definitely one of them. With dual rainhead and handheld shower fixture options, you’ll feel you walked into a luxury hotel instead of a gym. Complete with Malin + Goetz bath and body products, this space is your sanctuary after working your body to a sweat-inducing, body-shaking state.

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Something else I noticed in the locker room was the fact that there is a buzzing community where it seems like everyone knows each other. The CrossFit gym has been downstairs for the past 4-5 years and despite some rebranding attempts to become Neo Fifth to be consistent with the other classes, the gym has returned to its roots as CrossFit 5th Avenue. There are also boxing students that I spoke with that have followed Gabi from studio to studio for the past two years, and after taking her class I can’t blame them, she’s that good!

Bottom line, if you do not want individual attention put on you, this studio is not for you. If you do not want to get your money’s worth in your fitness classes, this studio is for you.

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And finally, if you do not want to be put in an attractive and encouraging environment, this studio is not for you. However, if you do want to take the type of classes that will change and challenge your body for the better with instructors that are so cool you want to hang out with them on the weekends, this is the place you need to be.

For more information on NEO U and their classes, please visit:

– Stephanie Carino

420 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018