We don’t exactly self-identify as club rats, and wouldn’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. On a typical Saturday night, we’re much more inclined to take down a bottle or two of wine at dinner (+2 for hitting the sack before midnight) than to turn up with bottle service. So when we signed up to test drive 305 Fitness, a dance workout inspired by the Miami club scene, we considered the possibility that we might feel a touch out of our element. As it happens, with an extremely welcoming vibe, emphasis on uninhibited fun (no liquoring up required) and a cardio burn rivaling many HIIT classes, 305 Fitness is pretty much the only club scene in NYC that we’d recommend frequenting.

When we dub 305 Fitness the most ratchet of cardio dance classes, we say so with the highest regard. There’s nothing hoity-toity about about the choreography at this studio, so if you can’t get down with generous hip-shaking, booty-popping, and occasional twerking, this might not be the dance situation for you. The thing is, in a room full of people (ok, females) just having a good time with it, we actually surprised ourselves with how little we cared about looking ridiculous when dipping it low and picking it up slow (sup, Christina Milian). Well, actually, we picked it up fast; no braking for sensuous body-rolling here. We fired through dance moves at what felt like lightening speed for most of class. On the one hand, this aggressive pace made for an effective cardio workout, but at the same time, we struggled to pick up some of the sequences before our instructor had moved on to the next. And in unequivocal, boutique workout fashion, 305 stealthily includes classic exercises like squats, jumping jack, punches and lunges into its choreography, supplemented with a couple of plyometric “sprints” that capped off our warm-up and the toning section of class (not super memorable, but damn were we grateful for the brief cardio hiatus). If the “pant and sweat” was a dance move, we’d be nailing it.

As if maneuvering our own bodies isn’t enough of a challenge, it’s worth noting that at peak times you’re likely to encounter a packed house (305’s only undesirable consistency with a nightlife environment, in our opinion). The large studios can get extremely tight, to the point where you’re likely to graze a neighbor at least once during class. While our instructor did her best to bounce around the room demonstrating (and motivating) to stay visible, it’s hard to maintain a great view if you’re not towards the front of the room. We found this to be particularly problematic during our first few classes when we wanted to hang towards the back, but our line of sight was obstructed by the throngs of bodies ahead of us. So, we’d recommend checking your self-consciousness at the door and getting situated towards the front of the room to make sure you get your money’s worth.

And that brings us to our ultimate impression of 305 Fitness. We’re not sure if it’s the underground vibe (clubby lighting and all), the live DJ (on-site, dropping beats for every single session), or the easy-going nature of 305’s instructors, but something about this place inspires people to give zero f*cks, which is just the right attitude to get the most out of this workout.

Gonna Cost You
$32 for a single class, but 305 offers more substantial discounts than most studios when you buy in bulk.

Instructor Vibe
The instructors at 305 are really bomb; as in prone to extreme explosions of energy, not to mention extremely welcoming (our instructor introduced herself to every single new person in class; and thanked them for showing up) and motivating. Most of the instructor’s we’ve encountered are present or past dancers with larger-than-life presences that feed the room in a big way. Also, 305’s founder can be found on the schedule regularly and present around the studio, which we think is a great touch if you believe in that whole top-down theory.

Studio Sitch
While decor doesn’t make or break a fitness experience, 305 infuses its personality into its studios, which certainly doesn’t hurt in setting the tone for fun. The Village space is populated with funky artwork and signage, a lot of which has an irreverent, girl power message. In addition to two classrooms on the underground level (along with one set of lockers), up top there are locker rooms with showers, products, and pretty much everything you need to leave feeling awesome with the exception of a change of clothes (BYO).