Meatpacking sort of feels like the Wild Wild West of fitness, which could very well mean it’s the next frontier for burgeoning boutique gyms. But for now, Kore is holding it down for HIIT lovers in the District (actually, that’s a great f*cking name for a studio; someone get on that ASAP). And luckily, Kore classes leave nothing to be desired on the intensity front. In a 1-hour session, “downtime” is essentially nonexistent, limited to a minute after the warm-up, dedicated to grabbing a heavy and less-heavy kettlebell, plus a tough and less-tough resistance band – the only equipment we used throughout class. So, if you’re about that work(out) hard, play hard life, next time you’re hightailing it down West 13th Street to Le Bain, do yourself a favor, and detour to Kore for a real-deal HIIT beatdown.

In the spirit of Meatpacking, Kore brings panache to its HIIT experience from start to finish; moments before go-time, our instructor sprawled open a huge door to reveal a mood-lit, medium-sized classroom. We noted a handful of TRX straps hanging in the back, which we’ve actually never used in a session, likely because of our next observation. Also in the spirit of Meatpacking, Kore stuffs throngs of people into the space like it’s a club; and we wouldn’t bother showing up early to stake out a spot, because odds are that you’ll be crowded by a (spot-encroaching) late-comer anyway. Our best guess is that the studio caps classes at the fire safety maximum occupancy, though we’re not sure how we’d stop, drop and roll in such close quarters without being trampled, since the packed house cramped our ability even to complete certain exercises full-out.

Despite our persistent fear of losing a eye courtesy of a too-close-for-comfort neighbor, Kore delivers a (worth the) money workout. After a warm-up of dynamic stretching and body-weight exercises like jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, and planks (revisited at the end of class), we moved on to core work, where we had high hopes given the studio’s namesake. The burn was very real, but paled in comparison to the subsequent lower-body action. Performing each exercise with our heavy kettlebell, dropping set to our less-heavy kettlebell and finally utilizing just body-weight, we squatted, lunged, et al. at an ambitious pace. Switching gears to arms with our resistance bands, we performed bicep curls, shoulder presses and the likes in the same drop-set progression (sans body weight, though there might be something to a third, band-less set since lifting our arms to wash our face post-class was a challenge).

Unlike other bootcamp or HIIT jams where typically an instructor demonstrates, and then you tackle an exercise at your own speed (read: fitness level, and/or state of hangover), at Kore, our instructor called out every rep, and we felt compelled to stay on her aggressive count (as did everyone else; including the ripped, 70ish-year-old to our left). Bottom line – rigorous, fast-paced, and leaving no muscle group untouched – the Kore method pushes us to our limits; so much so that we’d recommend the faint of heart exercise elsewhere, and probably those brand new to boutique fitness, too.

Gonna Cost You
$34/class, but very bookable on ClassPass. If the 3x/month CP situation doesn’t cut it, Kore offers a $200 unlimited monthly pass for devotees.

Instructor Vibe
We would best describe Kore instructors as intense, which evinces itself in various forms. Kore’s crew prioritizes ass-kicking, so if you’re in search of warm and fuzzy feels, keep it moving. During one class, our instructor singled us out for dropping our weights on a lower-body movement, which felt pretty brusque to us. Ultimately, the challenging and effective workout trumps a scolding here or there for us, but for those who rather not be subjected to a (sometimes sharp) dose of tough love, Kore might not be an ideal fit.

Studio Sitch
For a studio outfitted with locker rooms, products, showers (a pair per locker room), bathrooms (one per locker room), Kore’s facilities still leave something to be desired. While on the one hand the space and amenities are luxe, the studio is on the small side, making for a squeeze in every way. Whether waiting outside the classroom for our instructor to usher us in, or scrambling for a shower after an early morning class, the whole situation feels cramped.