Stepping foot into Fit Social is bewildering in the best way.
From the start, the boutique fitness center strikes an eye-catching impression. Done entirely in hues of black and white, the space draws its color from the personalities inside it. Those personalities — a mix of certified trainers and locals — are chatting amicably as they walk out of yoga class, catching up over smoothies at the SocialBar, or making plans to meet new friends during spin class next week. In other words, they’re socializing. They’re happy. They’re sticking around for more than just the 60 minutes that class is in session.
It is Fit Social, after all.
“There’s so much energy in this place,” enthuses Steve Farris, Fit Social’s CEO and founder. Indeed, energy is key to the studio’s identity. It’s part of the beats that power the indoor cycling classes, a focal point during restorative yoga sessions, and a driving force in each of the HIIT workouts.
Yet just as energy defines the classes themselves, so too does it embody the space as a whole. As Farris explains it, Fit Social isn’t just a place to work out; it’s a place to hang out, make new friends, and forge a healthy lifestyle that is just as enjoyable as it is sustainable.
For Farris, the concept behind his studio at 188 Main Street began to take form in 2015. The Hudson Valley native, who grew up in Saugerties and now calls Poughkeepsie home, spent a number of years working in both the fitness and hospitality industries. Yet after graduating from Queens College with a degree in fitness and nutrition as a supplement to his degree in exercise science and wellness from Dutchess Community College, he found himself struggling with his own personal fitness.
“I fell into a complacency state of mind and couldn’t connect,” he recalls. To shake himself out of it, he pursued group fitness classes and soon realized they were the perfect fit. “I’m a very social person. I was yearning for a social side [of fitness].”
By 2017, Farris was playing around with ways to meld the fitness programming he loved with the social component he craved. As he tossed out one idea after the next, he couldn’t shake the concept of Instagram from his brain.
“How can a fitness studio resemble social media?” he remembers asking himself. “How can I create a social environment that fosters that same feeling for members?”
And so he landed upon Fit Social. Designed entirely with socializing in mind, the studio is nothing less than #InstagramGoals IRL. Indeed, Fit Social’s Instagram is a perfect embodiment of what to expect inside the space. As a few scrolls of the @fit_social_studio feed reveal, the boutique center inside the Queen City Lofts building at 188 Main Street is just as cool as it is approachable. In terms of design, Farris overlooked nary a detail to get the vibe just right. His decision to stick with matte black and white colorations creates a simultaneous sense of grittiness and refinement that welcomes everyone from teachers who stop by to cycle before class to lawyers who crave a power workout during their lunch break.
Even though Fit Social is relatively new to the Hudson Valley – it opened in October 2019 – it’s already carved a niche for itself a place for everyday people to get fit and have fun. The studio offers three main courses: HIIT, or high-intensity interval training; RIDE spin classes; and YOGA. Along with restorative yoga sessions, the gym also boasts a proprietary HIYo, or high intensity interval yoga, course for individuals who crave an extra burst of exercise as they find their zen. In all of the classes, Fit Social keeps enrollment size small to enable instructors to work closely with participants to make sure everyone gets the assistance they need. For more individualized exercise, Farris hosts personal and small group training as well.
Inside the three studio spaces, technology places a critical role. In the RIDE room, for instance, the spin bikes wrap around a center “stage” from which instructors control music and oversee riders. Music is a critical component within each class and operates as a motivating force to inspire attendees to work to the beat. As for the gear, every bike is hooked up via Bluetooth to a monitor to track performance and, later, send results to each participant’s app profile.
Yes, Fit Social has its own app.
While the app is an easy way for attendees to register for classes, it’s also a home for them to measure their progress and workouts each month. With statistics about calories burned, class rankings, and overall attendance, it’s a tech-friendly resource for fitness accountability.
What Fit Social does not have, however, is mirrors.
“We don’t believe in having mirrors,” Farris explains, adding that the entire space is 100-percent judgement-free. “We have amazing certified trainers who are walking through and correcting form.”
Even after classes end, the Fit Social experience continues. After taking a shower in one of the spa-style bathrooms, guests can stop by the SocialBar for a smoothie and a bite to eat or, depending on the time of day, a beer or a glass of wine. And did we mention Zeus Brewing Company is right next-door?
“Once someone walks through our doors, they feel like they’re part of the studio,” Farris enthuses. “Our members are taking multiple classes per day [because] we’re creating a space where you can come in and find yourself. That’s the end result here…to keep people connected to their health.”
Fit Social may be relatively new to the Hudson Valley, but its positive reception has Farris eyeing future locations outside of Dutchess County. While Poughkeepsie is his home, he’s excited to spread his passion for fitness as a social concept to other corners of the region.
“The difference maker for us is we carry our vibe into each and every aspect of what we do,” he notes. “You feel like you’re walking into our actual Instagram feed.”
188 Main St, Poughkeepsie