Midtown East | Throwback Fitness | Throwback

Let me set the scene for you.

It was a Sunday morning and my alarm was blaring even though it was already well past 10 AM. I rolled out of bed, basically crawling to the kitchen for some coffee. My roommate Jess and I had signed up for a noon class at Throwback Fitness – a studio we’d seen within the ClassPass files but had not tried yet. Only problem was we were in recovery mode after being out late the night before, each waiting for the other to suggest canceling class despite the fee, but neither of us wanting to give up.

Little did we know that was only the first of many times we’d be squaring off against one another that Sunday, willing ourselves to push through the pain; and little did we know how thrilled we would be that we hadn’t cancelled class.

Enter Throwback Fitness

Enter Throwback Fitness

And so we “threw back” some coffee, pulled on our sneakers, and headed uptown, making it to class only about one minute late. (Sorry, Ryan!)

Basic Breakdown 

Class Name: Throwback

Instructor(s): Ryan Wilke

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Class Overview: Neither of us were sure what to expect when we arrived at the studio, but were greeted by Ryan, our stud of an instructor, upon arriving. Hoping our eyes weren’t too bloodshot, we introduced ourselves and got settled. Ryan began the class with a warm-up: laps around the 2nd-floor studio. After the run, we played a get-fit version of 20 Questions; here’s how it went. Ryan split our class of 5 into two teams. Ryan would think of a person, place or thing, and each of us could ask one yes-or-no question at a time. But here’s the catch: before we could ask a question, we needed to complete 7 squats and 7 mountain climbers. Then you could run to Ryan and ask the question. There were no real winners here except for Ryan, who probably got a good laugh from us running up to him and breathlessly whispering, “IS IT SOMEWHERE YOU GO TO RELAX?” …Clearly we were tired.

Then it was time for “Phys. Ed.” The Phys Ed portion of class was an individual workout of 90-seconds on the Rowing Erg and then 90-seconds off the Erg, doing an Increasing Ladder of Renegade Rows + Hollywoods. This 90-seconds on/90-seconds off lasted for 15 minutes – which I thought would be a breeze but was obviously wrong. By round 3, I was already feeling it, and still had a ways to go. Halfway through, Ryan realized that Jess and I, working on rowing machines next to one another, were only about 50 meters apart. It became a race to the end – Ryan announcing our distances and keeping the rest of the class informed of our neck-and-neck status up until the buzzer (finally) went off. I basically collapsed (in defeat) off my rowing machine upon completion – it was quite a workout. I forget how intense rowing is, and combined with the off-the-erg strength training, it proved to be an intense part of the class.

Next up was “Recess.” Wild Wild West style. After a quick ab session of flutter kicks and low planks, we were again split into two teams. (Ryan asked for our favorite “Fall Drink” as our team name; while Jess fed into the “White Girl” stereotype choosing Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I shouted, “Pumpkin Beer!” Which says a lot about who I am as a person.) So Team PSL faced off against Team Beer. Half of us started on the erg, and were instructed to sprint to 200 meters as fast as we could. Our opponent would face the rowing machine and perform 28 pushups (round 1) and then 40 squats (round 2). Each of us armed with a tiny water gun, the winner of each round would get to squirt the other. The third and final face-off round was off the erg: sit-ups and burpees (everyone’s FAVORITE!). Then we did a nice stretch-session to end the workout.


This class – above everything else – is SO much fun. The ambiance is bright, personal and welcoming. Between the 90s-inspired decor, total throwback playlist, and encouraging instructors, it’s very hard not to feel comfortable in this setting, regardless of your fitness level. That rowing machine combined with strength training will kick your butt, but it does it in a way that I’ve never seen at other studios – by making it a friendly competition. It’s not often you find a class that you can laugh through while still getting an effective workout. I think next time Jess and I try this, I won’t play as hard for Team Beer the night before. But regardless, it got me moving, kept a smile on my face the whole time, and was a fantastic way to start my Sunday. Plus, the personalized e-mail today from Ryan thanking us for stopping by was a real nice touch 🙂

Additional Details: 

  • Cubbies are available to store your stuff, and they have towels there for your use. No showers just yet.
  • The vintage looking shirts are SO CUTE. Almost impulse-bought one on the way out.
  • While this class is not the most intense I’ve done, I believe a lot has to do with how hard you push yourself. It’s designed to be effective, but you have to put the work in to feel the results.

Will Visit Again?: Definitely! 🙂


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