The secret to a sculpted bod? Actually working out, ugh. But when your go-to gym routine starts to feel lame, it’s easy to let your fitness goals slide. The solution? Switch up where and how you get your sweat on. To help you out, we’re highlighting a cool, new studio every month—including what fresh gear to rock, just in case you need a little extra motivation. First up is Pop Physique.
What it is:
This barre studio puts as much emphasis on art as exercise. Founded by former pro ballerina Jennifer Williams, the classes themselves borrow from her dance expertise, while the setting is pure Insta bait with its playful wallpaper and pastel-coloured weights.
Where you’ll find it:
Pop Physique’s newest location is in Toronto’s uptown hood, but there are 15 others stateside in its OG location L.A. (and nearby), New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
What to expect:
Each one-hour class follows a similar structure of full-body warmup (expect planks), followed by upper body, lower body and ab sections, with one last butt killer to top it off. The movements (think: mini squats, leg lifts, tricep dips, etc.) vary between open floor and barre, standing and lying down, but the constant element is that each exercise involves high reps of small movements and only super-light weights, if any (I used one-pound dumbbells which sounds weak but was seriously draining by the end). Throughout it all, the instructor will prompt you to tighten your abs and tuck your pelvis; two small cues that make a serious difference in how effective your workout is. After you exhaust a muscle group, you get a quick break to stretch the area out and reset—trust me, you’ll need it.
Why we love it:
Cool wallpaper aside (the Toronto studio has fishnet-clad legs, while New York’s Bowery location has cherries and bananas), I love how intense this workout was—without leaving me a total sweaty mess. I tried a morning class and didn’t need to wash my hair before heading to work, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. There were audible sighs of relief coming from all corners of the classroom every time we finished a sequence, and my arms were aching the next day.
What to wear:
Socks are required for this no-shoes class. I love these ones because they have grip on the soles and a touch of cushioning in the heels for added comfort when your feet are up on the barre. Tights and a fitted tank minimize distraction as you’re switching from push-ups to bridges to lunges, while fun prints suit the selfie-begging décor.