Over the past several years I have lost 50 pounds and have visited nearly the same number of workout studios throughout the city. I’m no fitness expert but I have a lot of opinions when it comes to what makes a gym worthy of me spending New York City prices to sweat.
GRIT BXNG at 9 East 16th Street off of 5th avenue is one of the newest studios to hit Manhattan and located in prime Union Square real estate. Pitbull (yes Mr. Worldwide), Tony Robbins (the World’s #1 Life Strategist), and Bill Zanker (Founder, The Learning Annex) teamed up to launch a 50-minute hybrid workout that builds strength and confidence with powerful boxing sequences mixed with weights and treadmill – then a trip to the lobby bar.
The concept of the studio is as if a threesome happened between Barry’s Bootcamp, Orange Theory, and Rumble, but with many of its own unique touches. The studio features a full liquor bar (indoor + outdoor) for post class cocktails (and mocktails) and combines boxing + treadmills + strength training (bench + floor.)
When I entered the lobby the first thing that caught my eye – besides the throng of sexy, confident gym-goers – was the sapphire bedazzled boxing bag hanging from the ceiling adorned with the GRIT logo. I was not in a Kansas Planet Fitness anymore. The front desk posse checked me in with rented, barely used boxing gloves and pointed me down a set of stairs to the bathroom. On my way down I locked eyes with a handsome bartender ready to make me a GRIT Kale Martini or the $100 gold flake infused GRIT KNOCKOUT post-workout.
I walked down two flights of stairs and entered a bougie bathroom complete with girly hair products and sizable showers/lockers. Quickly I changed into my best workout, because let’s be real, even though I was about to sweat I needed to look like J-Lo.
After changing I ran back upstairs to the main studio and was immediately transported to the nightclub version of a gym. Multimillion dollar lighting and audio system transformed what was otherwise just a studio into a concert style venue. Our trainer (who is paid $1K an hour, mind you) — welcomed us from his stage located at the front of the room.
I found my number in the boxing section where I’d begin, while my fellow classmates located their start point either on the treadmill, strength training or with me hitting the bags. Once situated we were given instructions on the class format and told to follow the massive screens behind him for our movements. Then it was go time!
Throughout the class we jabbed, right hooked and uppercut; sprinted, jogged and inclined; and squatted, bicep-curled and burpeed. You hit each section of the gym several times so not to get bored with one workout, and to ensure your body endured a strength and cardio. While it is called GRIT BXNG, the boxing element is truly only one layer whilst getting a well-rounded workout. Throughout the entire class a DJ played the hottest music while our trainer zipped around keeping up with three different workouts happening simultaneously. The 50-minutes flew by and soon I was wiping the sweat off my face with a provided towel and heading back into the lobby to put back on some of the calories I had burnt.
In the lobby I ran into Bill Zanker’s daughter, Co-Founder Ediva, and she told me the reasoning behind Grit. She was sick of workouts where you’d awkwardly hover in the lobby, not interacting with any fellow gym-goers and leaving right after class to meet friends sweaty at nearby bar. By incorporating a bar right at the gym, you can meet people who are all drinking in workout attire together and obviously have similar interests – getting fit and booze. The drinks were strong and the crowd was receptive. Overall, GRIT BXNG is a real knockout.
Photos by Socially Superlative