Refine Method: Take 2

Operation Look Not Awful in a Bikini In OBX/Run Strong And Awesome Races is well underway, and today I decided I desperately needed some more strength training.

After I blogged about Refine Method last time and that I wasn’t the hugest fan, Brynn, the founder emailed me to say she was sorry to hear that and would love for me to try the class again, on her.

I realized early this morning that tonight would likely be a relatively early night and emailed Brynn to ask her if I could take her up on it tonight.

I will say this first: I went into the class tonight in a much better mood than last time, and I went in knowing what to expect. I also went in really wanting to like the class.

I took the 6:30 class with the adorable Emily Cook. In these boutique fitness classes, it’s pretty common for the instructor to introduce herself to you so you feel like you’re getting more personal attention when she says, “Good job, Theodora!” (And dude, it works. And I did get a “Good job, Theodora!” once or twice.)

So, since I didn’t do a full review last time since I wasn’t a fan, I’ll give you a brief review now.

The sixty-minute class starts with a brief warm-up that includes some squats, jumping jacks and punches.

It’s then broken up into three circuits of strength moves. Each circuit is repeated a few times (I lost count each time) before moving on to the next. The circuits included exercises like diagonal squats, push-ups, jumpbacks (burpees, basically) and a number of moves using their pulley system, which is sort like TRX but with more resistance.


[via Dori]

That’s the pulley system, but that’s in their UES location–I went to their Union Square location, which looks far less barre-y.

Edited to add: Dori tells me that that’s their old set-up in the UES location. There’s no barre there now either.

The last time I went, I definitely broke a sweat and it wasn’t easy, but I got both a more enjoyable and a better workout tonight. Emily is incredibly upbeat and played so much cheesy music (by cheesy, I mean awesome) the entire time, that I couldn’t stop smiling. She corrected me, but it felt like she genuinely wanted me to understand how to execute the exercises correctly. She also did a great job cueing the class, and pointing out things like “if you don’t feel this in your core, you’re not doing it right.”

The class ended with some ab work, that included rolling from laying down to sitting up, hinging back slightly. (I did this against a foam roller to support my jerk of a lower back.) We ended with some stretches laying down, and Emily came around and gave us each a 30-second-ish quad massage while we were stretching. So random, so awesome.

Dori and her friend Melissa Z. were there, and Melissa said that something “felt weird” while she was doing jumpbacks, and Emily took the time to have her demonstrate her jumpbacks and where they felt weird in between classes so that Melissa could make sure she had the correct form.

FYI, they’re doing a promo code “PREVIEW” right now to get 20 percent off class packages.

Why did I like this class so much more than the last one? Tonight’s instructor just had a great energy–upbeat and the type that made you want to work harder, rather than the type to make you feel like you weren’t working out hard enough, which is how I felt last time. I definitely see myself trying this class again.

20 comments on “Refine Method: Take 2

  1. Heather

    I LOVE Emily. Hands down, she’s one of my favorite instructors I’ve ever had! They call her Boot Camp Glinda!

  2. Laura

    I really liked that first Refine class we took – I’ll totally go with you some weekend! Good to know about the 20% off code 🙂

  3. Dori

    That’s actually the old pulley system in the pic. The UES pulleys are the same as Union Sq – no barre! I’m REALLY glad you liked the class better. The first instructor you had is usually great so maybe it was just a bad day. You’ll have to take Brynn’s class soon! I hope we can take class together more!

    1. Dori

      @Dori: Btw, I had a spin instructor the other day who stood against the book and called out commands. He didn’t get on to ride once and he didn’t go around the room either.

  4. Katie @ Katie Moves

    This sounds like a class I would love! Wish I didn’t live in the country so I had the opportunity. Oh well 🙂

  5. dorry

    I think it’s great you went back to give it a 2nd try! some days are just better than others and so many factors contribute to why we do or do not have a good experience. I’m trying all sorts of classes and new studios. it’s fun, but I almost always prefer to just go out for a run…then I can be on my own schedule!

  6. Megan @ Run Like a Grl

    That sounds like an intense class! I think I need to get myself to one of those classes and try it out! I’m always nervous about getting a not-so-good instructor and having a bad experience. I’ll keep this place/instructor in mind!

  7. Laura @ Joyful Shimmy

    I am glad that you had a better experience this time around. I took my first Refine class with Bryn and it was hard yet I really appreciate her corrections. I like that it was a small group setting so there was attention and cheerleading reminders yay you are doing great. It’s good motivation.


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