It feels like the last decade of my life has been an odyssey of amazing fitness locals, healthy eateries and game-changing healers. But what's the point of frequenting awesome fitness studios and watering-holes if we're not going to share them, right? SO...we're going to start sharing our happiest and healthiest spots around the neighborhood, city and country! Starting with my very own 'hood, Williamsburg. For volume one, it's all about where to sweat and then refuel.
Modo Yoga for Hot Yoga: If you're looking for an epic sweat sesh in a room that is as pristine and architectural as it is Zen, head to Modo Williamsburg. Brighter, bigger and, well, fancier than their West Village outpost, hoards of hungover Brooklynites head to this heated wellness bastion every day to sweat out their toxins, and we think you should too. Our fave? The 60-minute class with music is always a good time. Get there early though, the rooms have a tendency to get packed.
The Living Room Brooklyn for highly personalized small group workouts that pack a punch: Founder, Erica Romano, wanted to create an atmosphere where local fitness-seekers could get their workout on but in a small group setting. As a result, you can expect tons of personal attention to ensure you're form is on-point and that you're getting the most out of your workout. A one-stop-shop for all your wellness needs, The Living Room Brooklyn offers a variety of classes from pilates, to HIIT, to "coredio" so there really is something for everyone. And if that wasn't awesome enough, you can also get massage and nutrition coaching on site. Hell yeah! We love the "Inner Olympian" and "Not Your Momas Pilates" for quality toning and shaping that also gets your heart rate up.
Sync Studio—Spin. HIIT. Yoga. Repeat: Sync Studio really has figured out the perfect workout trifecta. Need good cardio? Come spin with us! Hips are tight from spin? Come to yoga with us! Need full-body toning? We've got HIIT for that. A neighborhood vibe with seriously forward-thinking classes, this local boutique fitness center is definitely one I frequent often. We love interval circuit with Geneva Simms. It's the perfect balance of "so hard I know I'm getting a good workout" but "not so hard I never want to come back" and all delivered in the kindest and most supportive way thanks to Geneva.
CKO Kickboxing—For a calorie torching workout: This no-frills kickboxing gym will seriously kick you a$$. I made the mistake of brining a few fitness newbies to their Saturday morning class and won't do that again. With hour-long classes of bag work coupled with floor exercises ranging from the dreaded burpee, to jump squats and crunches, it's no wonder you reportedly burn up to 800 calories an hour. We love that every class starts with jump rope to get your heart rate up from the get-go.
Healthy Places to Eat:
Bliss Cafe—For veggie bowls piled high with goodness and flavor: This is one of my favorite spots on the rapidly changing Bedford and if I'm ordering in, it's usually from this place. Their hand-written menu and hole-in-the-wall vibe are part of their charm, but it's their clean plates of decadent veggies and sauces that keep me coming back. My favorite is the bliss bowl (steamed veggies, seaweed, sweet potato & brown rice with the most delicious dressings around) usually served up with a side of sass, but it's worth it for their epic plant-based yummies.
Champs—For healthy bites and healthy cheats: A Brooklyn
institution, this healthy spot serves up incredible salads and bowls for the vegans and non-vegans in the area. Jonesing for an awesome salad or veggie bowl? They've got you covered! Got your kids in tow and need something of the pancake variety? They've got that too. Want a pre or post workout smoothie loaded with goodness? Yup! We're partial to the Kitchen Sink Salad and Breakfast Burrito.
The Bean—For creative smoothies & smoothie bowls: I might be partial to this place because it's so conveniently close to my apartment, but their smoothies and bowls seriously rock. Packed full of vegan protein, these bad boys are as creative in flavor as they are in name. We love the Smooth and the Naughty and their ability to customize for us food allergy folks. Plus, if you're ever in need of a quick nosh, they also serve up healthy vegan treats like bliss balls and protein bites. Yes, please!
El Beit—For their turmeric lattes and homemade mylks: Perhaps the friendliest spot Billyburg has to offer, I've never been greeted with anything other than the biggest most sincere welcome. Plus, for those of us that are sensitive to caffeine or lovers of all things healthy, their Golden Milk Chai is spectacular. It's served with their homemade nut mylks which are unsweetened and smooth as silk. This is one of our favorite spots to hang out with a laptop in one hand and delicious beverage in the other.
Modern Love—For beautifully presented vegan comfort food: This relatively new (September '16) eatery is serving up all our childhood faves but with a clean and elegant twist. Think mac and cheese, BBQ ribs and Caesar salads gone vegan but with all the flavor and flair of something much less healthy. Service is spectacular and you can even get seasonal kombucha on tap or a glass full of your fave wine—pick your poison. This is our new go-to for an impressive healthy spot you can wow your health-cynic-friends with.