I Tried It: The Hardest Workout in N.Y.C. (and Lived to Tell the Tale)

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Photo: Courtesy of Tone House

I did my research before I stepped into the expansive workout space that is Tone House’s new 7,500 square foot NoMad studio. “The hardest workout in NYC,” called out one publication. “Warning: you need to be in at least decent shape before you attempt this class,” alerted a Yelp reviewer. “If you can make it through the warm up, you won’t die,” read another. Promising.

Created by former college football star and current Wilhelmina fitness model Alonzo Wilson, Tone House is not for the faint of heart (or anyone prone to fainting). “We believe that every individual has the capacity to be like the athletes they admire, and to train like them,” says Alonzo in a statement.

The extreme athletic-based workouts are meant to bring out that inner athlete through a series of intense sports conditioning exercises. Think: burpees into sprints, sprints into bear crawls, resistance harness running, and weighted sled pushing. No problem, right? Except maybe a little if you’re not Serena Williams or Tone House native and Sports Illustrated model Nina Agdal. I know my way around a track and I actually actively use my gym pass. Someone might even generously refer to me as in shape. But my preliminary research still left me anxious. I took solace only in the fact that I had signed up for TH 101, a new introductory class designed for newbies to “The Turf.”

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Courtesy of Tone House

And what a smart decision that turned out to be. The workout began with the dreaded warm-up I read so much about. We hopped, skipped, laterally hopped and skipped, and sprinted our way around triangular foam wedges. Nothing too serious. I should be fine, I thought. Then came four rounds of moving burpees. Okay, a little more serious. I might make it through this, I thought. With the warm-up complete, we moved on immediately to a series of sprints and bear crawls. I will die here, I thought. The next segments involved velocity battle ropes and resistance harnesses wrapped around our ankles. The easiest part of the workout involved laying on my stomach for “butt kicks” and I use “easiest” loosely.

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Courtesy of Tone House

Truth be told, I struggled every step of the way post-warm up. The Tone House workout is definitely the most challenging workout I've done in New York City and beyond. I owe my completion of the class entirely to the motivating tunes (my class instructor put together a playlist below!) and the supremely supportive class environment. Seriously, high-fives and excessively encouraging commentary runneth over on The Turf. No great athlete succeeded without the support of some kind of team and Tone House knows that. The instructors encouraged us to push ourselves but also to push each other. And it totally works. When my soreness passes in approximately a month’s time, I plan to return. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have hours of foam rolling to do.

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