By Marni James
Off of busy West 14th street, a small orange sign marks the way into CLAY, a unique, innovative fitness experience. Although many have probably passed by without thinking twice, it’s definitely not a place to miss.
Clay supports every member in his or her individual pursuit of health through physical training, mindful exercise and nutritional guidance. The alluring space, which is decorated in soothing colors, has lots of natural light from the many windows and skylights. The fireplace lounge near the treadmills and stretching area made me feel like I was in a glamorous ski lodge, not on 14th street. The space is inspirational and inviting, but not pretentious at all. The amenity-laden locker rooms are modern and pristine and the back-end of the locker room has a lounge where members can e-mail, watch TV or enjoy a coffee. The staff, from the front desk, to the group fitness teachers, are energetic and extremely personable.
At CLAY, members are offered a Program Advisor who will develop an individual integrated fitness program based on the members’ needs and desires. Advisors take into consideration each member’s specific lifestyle, giving them a customized plan of activities, including weight training, group fitness, cardio, meditation and massage. CLAY offers a range of group exercise classes, including: cycling, yoga, Pilates, Gyrokinesis™ and body conditioning, among others. The two new classes that I tried out are Cardio Dance and WellSCULPT. Cardio Dance is a high intensity workout that teaches music video style dance moves that the instructor choreographs to the latest music. In my class we danced to a new Britney Spears song and although I have no rhythm, it was a total blast and really got me sweating. Next up was WellSCULPT, a high repetition, light resistance strengthening workout with props like weights, weighted bars, resist-a-bands and even a step to really strengthen and challenge your muscles. My muscles were aching from this class for a few days after, but the way you feel upon leaving is definitely addicting.
From a relaxation perspective, CLAY offers body work therapies that provide deep relaxation, stress reduction, increased flexibility and range of motion. Finally, from a nutritional perspective, CLAY has on-site nutritionists that provide consultations and personalized programs. For those that want something before or after workouts, CLAY’s café serves great-tasting, healthy meals and snacks and the rooftop seating area allows you to enjoy your meal outdoors from March through November.
25 West 14th Street, NYC