Bandier is definitely known as where the cool kids work out in NYC. Their upstairs studio (Studio B) has numerous classes throughout the week from some of NYC’s top trainers – Taryn Toomey, Amanda Kloots, and more. Unfortunately, these classes are at least $30 a pop, so I try to keep an eye out for the rare community class. Last month, the odds were in my favor and I got into a class with SurfYogaBeer.
SurfYogaBeer (SYB) is an organization that runs fitness retreats throughout the year in locations throughout the world. When they’re not traveling to faraway places, they host classes at Bandier, as well as a run club and surf club in the city (don’t worry, surf club is in the Rockaways; nobody’s hanging ten in the East River).
After a full week of workouts (including some two-a-days because I like to pretend I’m a competitive athelete and not a professional in corporate America), I was looking forward to a relaxing yoga class at Bandier. This is not what I got (note to self: read the class description!). There’s nothing quite like a #surprisebootcamp class, and luckily, this was a fun one. The class moves between strength circuits using weights (2-3 exercises for 2-3 minutes each), active recovery incorporating yoga moves, and cardio bursts. It was a fun, well-rounded workout, and it’s definitely suitable for all fitness levels–you can take the moves as slow or as fast as you need to.
The instructor, Jen, led a fun class and had a great playlist complete with mid-2000s throwbacks (aka key to success).
While this class was 95% not yoga, SYB offers yoga classes at Bandier, as well.
Bandier always makes me nervous, partially because I feel like I’m not cool enough to be there, and partially because the rest of the crowd there reinforces that idea. But when I showed up to SYB, the head of the organization made me feel right at home. He introduced himself as Mantas, which of course immediately reminded me of Mantis Toboggan from Always Sunny, but he fortunately refuted that association with his down-to-earth nature and inclusive personality.
As for the rest of the team–they were friendly, but mainly on a surface level. SYB has “hype men” (??) in class to pump up the energy and to tell class-takers about SYB retreats. I spoke to one “hype man” (lol, sorry) and he told me a bit about the organization and mentioned the group would be going out for drinks after class. I didn’t have plans and this seemed like a fun way to meet new people, so I thought I’d stick around. However, in reality, when I tried to mingle after class, I got passed around from SYB representative to SYB representative. I understand that they are offering the community class to recruit newbies to their retreats, but it felt more like a hard sell of their retreats than genuine mingling or even networking.
Further, after waiting around for 10 min after class, it became clear that drinks weren’t happening. I tried to mingle a bit with some of the regulars and they didn’t seem very interested in talking to me and instead asked me to take pictures of them. Not a good impression. I really liked Mantas, but I wish the rest of the group was a bit more inclusive, especially since they emphasize the inclusive nature of the organization.
Overall, this was a fun bootcamp class and potentially a great way to meet new people. For me, I probably wouldn’t come back to a paid class just because there are so many great studios already available through Classpass (some even with the SYB team–looking on the website, I saw instructors from Fhitting Room and Flex Pilates). I’d give the community class another shot, but I do wish the team was a bit more inclusive and did a better job of practicing what they preach.
Bandier classes (bootYcamp and yoga) are $25 and include mats and weights. Surf retreats are $125 for the day (not bad in the grand scheme of things). Retreats are hella expensive–the Cuba trip is $1,700 for 3 nights excluding airfare–but they look like a ton of fun.
featured image via SYB Yelp page.