We have a couple of friends who are nothing short of zealous about salad. They get straight up feverish about perfectly chopped kale, and truly believe that their favorite Sweetgreen dressing is God’s gift to us all. We’re more likely to ascribe heavenly distinction to a well-executed grandma pie than an oil-and-vinegar emulsion, but we eat salad on a regular basis because we know it’s good for us and our body says thanks (followed by, “now, where’s our lox bagel?”), even if we don’t relish every bite. Working out at BFX Studios sort of evokes the same feeling for us as chowing down on a salad. BFX delivers all of the components of a smart, challenging workout, and we know that we’re doing ourself a solid by powering through, but we just don’t savor the experience. That said, for someone who cares a bit less about the flavor of the workout, and more about its efficiency, BFX might be the best thing since white bread (again, we’re sticking with the grandma’s pie on this one).
Testing our limits before we even set foot in the studio, navigating BFX’s site to select a class in the first place was an exercise in brain burpees. Seriously, no less than 8 categories live within BFX’s “Master Class” program, with a handful of subdivisions for each (including Kira Stokes’s Stoked Series, found at BFX, Bandier and beyond, which we’re ignoring here as it warrants its own, standalone review on The Jonesing). You don’t have to be a mathematician (or, in our case, even adept enough to pass high school calc), to realize that’s a sh*tload of offerings, a lot of which sound very similar; pretty much the indecisive class-goer’s worst nightmare. With that said, BFX Burn and BFX Build are the two classes most prevalent on the studio’s group fitness schedule, checking BFX’s HIIT and strength boxes, respectively.
When you walk into BFX, it’s pretty quiet, with the exception of an occasional grunt from the downstairs gym area where people are working out individually or with a personal trainer. Overall, it’s hard to pick up on a studio vibe, the lack of which feels sort of sterile and formulaic. The workouts, too, have a formula, for which we formally nominate BFX for a Fields Medal, because damn these classes leave us tired and sore every time. BFX Burn is broken up into 6 blocks of exercises (In BFX Build, we circuited through 3 strength-based blocks instead, utilizing TRX straps for some exercises), most of which include a strength exercise, like rows or bicep curls, and a pure plyometric exercise, like jump squats or high knees. In most our of classes, there have been 1-2 Tabata blocks, where we go HAM on an exercise, like push ups or mountain climbers, for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before going all out on a second, equally taxing, exercise, followed by the same fleeting reprieve, then taking it from the top again. While we’ve encountered 4-minute Tabatas elsewhere, BFX alone is the home of 30/30’s and 20/20/20’s which eliminate the aforementioned 10-second rest (literally, help) and hit 2 and 3 exercises, respectively, for the whole block without any breaks.
Look, some people file fitness under business, others under pleasure. The first squad’s boutique fitness dream, BFX is all business, from the front desk greeting, to the instructors, to the crowd (more so a self-motivated crew than a community; we’re never witnessed any pre-class camaraderie or mid-class animation). If you’re looking to get in, get after the workout, and get out, BFX promises an above average boutique class experience. But for those who typically borrow energy from the environment, an instructor’s words of motivation, or others in the class, BFX might not be your favorite HIIT or Strength game in town, though we’ve always crawled home too whipped and winded to regret showing up.
Gonna Cost You
$32/class, but BFX is a solid ClassPass standby, morning, noon or night.
In our experience, BFX instructors are consistently very nice, and, just as importantly, qualified to lead class. That said, in keeping with the “all business” vibe, they’re not bringing the kind of personality that energizes and inspires a room, or delivering on nuances that make us feel like we’re in totally awesome hands, like asking for names, or offering personal corrections and individual encouragement.
BFX is so huge, it houses a Cyc Fitness within its walls, in addition to the Master Class studio, plus a downstairs gym with machines and free weights for solo workouts and PT sessions. Locker rooms are equipped with showers et al., so clean up and go forth.