EXCEED Physical Culture: The Awesome Addition To The Tribeca Fitness Scene

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I have always loved Exceed – but getting to their UES location made actually GOING to classes there a huge challenge. So when I heard they were opening a studio in Tribeca, literally around the corner from work, I was giddy.  Last week I got the opportunity to host a workout in their new space during their soft opening. I immediately jumped at the chance and set about snagging a fun crew that would be up for a challenging, high intensity interval class.

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Exceed Tribeca is made up of two floors.  Upstairs was still under construction but it looked like it is going to be much bigger than the UES location. The ground floor is going to be the group classes space and the downstairs space is going to be where they do personal training sessions, which is where we held our class during the soft opening. Our group was tiny so it actually worked out really well to have it in the smaller space downstairs – although it easily could have fit more people if needed. Leading our class was Mike Jock, one of Exceed’s staples at their UES location (and who I’ve been wanting to take a class with) and Max Motkowski who is new to their crew.  Mike took the lead in the class and after giving a breakdown of the reasons their classes were shaped the way they were, gave us a demo of each of the four first stations. We then paired up and picked a station to start on.

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In the first round we had TRX rows, a rowing station, box jumps (or jump overs if you wanted the challenge) and a Med Ball station.  I started on the TRX and when my shoes started to slip, Max was quick to come over and brace my feet to make sure I got in every rep. Then we rotated through each station and I watched happily as Mike and Max worked the room, making sure people got the form cues they needed and made adjustments when needed. I LOVED knowing my friends were in good hands! The next round was TRX pushups, lateral box jumps and rowing. MedBall sit ups became slams and by the second station in that round I was already dripping in sweat. Each round got harder, but also was more fun! The third and fourth rounds replaced the TRX with Kettlebells and the rower with a heavy jump rope. My favorite moment was when at one point Mike described to one of the teams who was struggling at the Kettlebell station that the way to swing it was “Like in Legally Blonde, remember? Bend and snap!” while showing the perfect form for the swing. They laughed and then promptly started rocking perfect swings.

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The final round was a sit up ladder challenge. Each pair was supposed to do 10 straight leg sit ups passing the medicine between them, then scissor legs passing the ball, then straight again, then a version with a bridge, then straight, then frog legs while passing the ball, then straight before ending on one that included a double leg tap before tossing the ball. It was hard but also wildly funny since my partner and I kept almost beaming each other with the ball. The challenge ended when one team finished, and thankfully, the Real Pilates crew on the end came through in the core challenge and got through the ladder fast! My team was on the last move but I was grateful when time was called!

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It was a class that kicked my ass but was also just really fun. Exceed will be doing a “Friend and Family” preview week, starting on Monday, June 9th. It is first come, first snags the class. So get in there and check out this awesome addition to the Tribeca fitness scene!

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS

Fired Up & Inspired: Gabby Reece’s BodyWise at Exceed

GR at Exceed 2My very first reaction when I got the notice that one of my fitness icons, Gabby Reece, would be leading a workout at the always awesome Exceed, was that there was absolutely no way I could miss it. Held on the Sunday morning just before the Sports Bra Challenge, I knew it would be a lot to do on the same day, but really, how often is the chance to train with Gabby going to come along?
GR at Exceed 4After checking in at Exceed, I made my way to stash my stuff and caught my first glimpse of Gabby. She is a tall, striking presence and as I watched her explain the workout to the 2 Exceed trainers who were going to be assisting, I knew this was going to be even harder than I expected. Her program, BodyWise, is a 75 minute total body workout that combines cardio, resistance training and functional movement in a rigorous training circuit and is a workout that Gabby leads in a large warehouse space near her home in Hawaii. This event was capped at 30 people, but in Hawaii, it apparently can swell to 75 people! The group that had gathered on Sunday at Exceed was a fiercely fit crew and as she ran through a demo of every move we were going to be doing that morning, everyone seemed a little in awe of the fact that we were going to get to work out with her. There were 22 different moves for the 75 minute class and as I watched her go through each one in succession, I knew I was in trouble…not just because each one looked challenging but mostly because I was NEVER going to remember all 22!  Gabby paired us off and we all made our way over to the first station. In my head, I thought we were doing the same exercise as the people we were following. So not the case!  Less than a minute in, she came over and yelled at us –“WHY are you all doing the same exercise??” and all I could think was “Oh damn, I am already in trouble with Gabby!”  After sorting out what exercise we were supposed to be doing, and understanding that we were moving to whatever station the people we were following behind just finished, we got down to business.

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Due to the size constraints at Exceed, the stations were in both the main classroom and the personal training area, so the stations couldn’t really be laid out in any sort of pattern that might have made it easier to see where we were going next. But there were 2 extra Exceed trainers in there to help make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing at each station. Still, there was a lot of peering across the room to try and see what the group we were following was doing… but I was lucky the pair we were following included Claire Gould, TRX trainer at Pilates Pro Works, who was amazing. She would wait briefly before moving from her station and give us a quick demo of the two moves that station consisted of – seriously, I could have hugged her for that.
GR at Exceed 1Gabby moved constantly around the room, correcting form and pushing us to work much harder at every single exercise. There is absolutely no slacking allowed around an athlete of her caliber – and it was like she could spot when we were not giving it our absolute all from a mile a away and would be in our faces or by our sides pushing us to be our best. We worked with body weight, kettlebells, battle ropes, stability balls, and weights and moved to a new station every 3 minutes. It felt like the class was flying by, which is always the sign of an awesome workout. The BodyWise workout was challenging and seriously crushed me but I loved every minute of it… but the best part was getting to workout with Gabby Reece. She is amazing – pushing everyone to be the best we can be at every moment because really, she always believes we have a little more to give and won’t take less than our best.

I walked out fired up and inspired.

All photos by Eric Stafford from Stafford Sports Media

Ready To Work: Exceed Physical Culture With Ed Cashin

This week I finally made it up to Exceed Physical Culture to take a class. I have been hearing about how great the UES studio is for ages, so even though the “full body” description was a little vague, I knew I would be in good hands with one of the founders, Ed Cashin.

Exceed2 Ed has 25-years of personal training experience where he specializes in TRX, Russian Kettlebell and sport-specific training. Exceed Physical Culture was started because of his belief that “clients should have a facility that allows them to vary their workouts in an atmosphere that inspires results.” I don’t know why but I was shocked when I made it to Exceed and found the stunning street level studio. The main space is large with a glassed-off space in the back where the group classes are held – the space even includes Monkey Bars! The rest of the space that includes another downstairs studio, is used for personal training.  When I got there on Monday morning, the studio was filled to the brim with people working hard – always an inspiring sight to walk into!  I hurried downstairs to the changing room, stashed my stuff and made my way back up to class. I was ready to work.

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I met Ed and he gave me a brief overview of how the class would go before it started. We were going to be doing 4 stations per round – rowing/jump rope, TRX, Bosu Ball and a Kettlebell station with a pushup “break” in between each round.

After a brief dynamic warm-up session, we were broken into groups of four and did each exercise for time. The change up in this class was that the time at each station was based on whatever group was doing rowing. Each time, the rowers were given a distance in meters to hit and everyone else went at their station until the rowers covered that distance!

XCD1Exceed7There were 18 people in the class – which seemed huge for the small group space but once the class started, it never seemed crowded at all. I started out on the Bosu ball.  Ed described the first move, a push up with one hand on the Bosu ball with a belly slap with the other hand when I came up.  I knew I was in for a fun, ass-kicking session if that was the starter move!  Next station, I was on the jump rope and got a chance to scope out the room.  It was a fit crew and each station had some fun, challenging move – at TRX there was a one legged squat with leg lift, Kettlebells started out with a squat with press up. For the following rounds, each station had a new move that Ed would explain during our pushup “break.” I was so impressed with his ability to mix in so many creative and challenging moves using so few props!

Exceed4This class kicked my ass and I loved every single minute of it. In each round there were moves I had never tried before –and I loved the competitive cardio on the rower thrown into the mix. Knowing that the whole class was counting on me to get those meters done so they could move on made me haul ass. It was so fun to have all of these challenging new moves and really see what I could do. At each station, for every round, I was impressed with Ed’s ability to always be there, checking everyone’s form constantly – that kind of attention and focus on form is what makes a challenging class absolutely amazing.  I can’t wait to go back… and I really want to try out those monkey bars!

 

Photos and awesome video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media