There is a spa vibe about Elevate, the latest venture by All Sport Health & Fitness. Discreetly tucked away in Wappingers Falls, this new satellite spot provides a more intimate experience than a gym. A one-room workout studio with candles flickering at the base of a golden Buddha, it features the latest darling of the exercise world, the yoga wall. (Actually, the yoga wall has been around for a while, but it’s been redesigned for modern-day needs using straps instead of ropes.) In hour-long classes that begin with traditional mat work, yoga therapist Joelle Van Sickle walks students through the steps of hooking their adjustable straps to plates in the wall, which they then use as a support to better stretch the spine and other muscles in ways that go beyond the yoga mat. “This class should be called ‘Surrender and Let Go,’ ” says one student. “It’s so relaxing.”
You’ll also find a traditional dancer’s barre in the studio — but not necessarily ballerinas. For the last five years or so, barre studios have been the “secret” fitness spot for Manhattan models and other workout fanatics who want to tone without creating bulk. Now they’ve finally wafted up our way. At a recent Saturday morning Barre Fusion class at Elevate, the place was packed to capacity with 14 yoga-pant-clad clients. “We are all goddesses in this class!” declared one participant. And, sure enough, it was true, as each seemed to grow a full inch taller using straps, tiny weights (great for high repetition), and of course the barre to stretch and lengthen every muscle group. “If you’re shaking, you’re making changes in the body,” instructor Ashley Layne encouraged, as the class groaned in gratitude.
On top of the high-powered yoga classes that Elevate offers, its Movement & Meditation class explores how physical and seated meditation practice feed each other. Students are guided through breathing practices and simple physical postures while learning how the body can lead the mind to find steadiness. On Friday evenings, the Karma for Cancer class brings together those who have been affected by the disease. Caregivers, survivors, and those in treatment meet to focus on healing, stress relief, and maintaining strength.
At All Sport’s Fishkill headquarters, you’ll also find a cutting-edge small group instruction class called Smash & Burn. Trainer Trish Mollica hooks and jabs her way through a boxing bag workout that has her students begging for mercy, but smiling nonetheless. “The class is about smashing the bag and burning calories,” explains Mollica. But you’re not just dancing around the freestanding bag. Students jog and jump rope and do push-ups and squat turns in a circuit around the gym floor. Mollica adds so many layers to the exercises that soon the students are just focusing on doing the moves, not on how hard they are. “You are so much stronger than you think,” says Mollica.