Switch Playground Review – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): After SWITCHing out of our workout gear into brunch attire

For our first class together as an engaged couple, we decided to go way outside of our comfort zone, and try a new studio called Switch Playground.

Caroline’s review is in italics; Jon’s is in bold:

Switch Playground HIIT

For the past 3 months, due to injury, I have taken a break from bootcamp and most spin classes and have focused on toning classes, such as barre, and some light running. But when we were given the chance to try out Switch, I decided to cave and look at this as more of a couples activity then a bootcamp class. Doing research on Switch, I found that it was brand new and in a great NYC location (Union Square), originated from South Africa (huh? pretty cool!), and was a bootcamp style HIIT class that you do with a partner. I was intrigued and excited. Spoiler alert: I loved it!

So I’m coming from the different extreme here. I’ve been taking three or four bootcamp classes a week for the past couple of months, and think that I am, slowly but surely, starting to make progress. It’s always fun to try out a new studio, so I was really excited when Caroline told me that we had the opportunity to try out Switch.

I think this class is great for couples and pairs of friends who want to challenge each other and workout together. When Jon and I walked in, the front desk assigned us to station 6 together (um, who said I wanted to be his partner? Jk jk) When the doors open to the “playground”, you feel like you are going through the tunnel onto the field (or in this case- through the field onto the nightclub), high-fiving all of the 10 instructors as you run in. There was fog, strobe lights, loud music, and even a live DJ. The class started off with a 5 minute yoga warmup, and then each pair went to their respective stations. You spend 2 minutes at each of the 20 stations, doing two different exercises at each. There is every type of station you can imagine- treadmill, TRX, weights, ropes, bench presses, spinning, stairmaster, the list goes on- and even a barre section!

I couldn’t agree more; this class is built for couples/friends who want to work out together, as Switch really provides something for everyone. So while I probably couldn’t convince Caroline to come to a strict bootcamp class, like Brick B|X, with me, Switch is a great couples option.

So let’s talk about the start of class. I’ve never been a member of a cult, but I imagine initiation into one feeling a bit like this. I appreciated the positive energy as we entered the room, and I suppose the yoga intro was unique and somewhat cathartic, but I’m not going to lie, I felt a little awkward as the class “leader” started the countdown to pain.

The whole experience was sort of surreal, part workout class, part club, part performance art. As you arrive at your next station, an instructor runs over, quickly demonstrates how to perform the first exercise, and moves on to the next station. After the first interval, the instructor runs back, demonstrates the second exercise, and moves right along. The whole thing is really kind of bizarre for anyone used to a more traditional bootcamp class. Which isn’t to say that it was bad–just very different.

By the way, the DJ was amazing. We’ve all been in classes where the instructor might as well have just put on Spotify’s “most popular workout songs” playlist and hit play, but the music at Switch was legitimately great (think: a quality mix of EDM, remixes, and hip hop), which always helps a lot with an intense workout.

One of the reasons why I loved this class so much was the number of instructors. There were probably about 8 instructors in our class, and about 30 people- what a ratio! Unheard of in NYC! I felt as though I was always being watched and if I wasn’t doing something correctly, which tends to happen with me at bootcamp classes, I was being instructed on how to improve. The instructors were great with modifications (hell no, I was NOT doing TRX single-leg pistol squats). In addition, I loved the format of the class because you are always switching up the exercises and never doing the same thing for more than 30 seconds. I feel like this helps reduce the risk of injury, and in addition, when we left, I felt pleasantly sore but not limping in pain like I do with most bootcamp classes. An hour after class, I was ready for a nap and a massage- that was such an intense workout!

I completely agree with Caroline–Switch is truly a full-body workout (HIIT). You hit every major muscle group, and every conceivable genre of exercise, from free weights to bodyweight exercises, to steady cardio, to plyometrics. It’s guaranteed that you will do something new at Switch, whether it’s box jumps, barre exercises (those leg weights are legit), boxing, etc. In addition to ensuring that you’ll feel sore the next morning, this also means that the class goes really fast. It did not feel like the workout lasted an hour, and I actually wondered afterwards if I had even gotten a good workout. That’s until I had to grab the bench in the locker room to keep from passing out after standing up. So…yeah, that was a good workout.

Both Jon and I were pooped, but felt so accomplished after class. This class is a tough workout. I’d put this as in the same ballpark as Barry’s, Tone House, or Trooper FItness. The locker room situation is great (about 5 showers in each), and the staff was so welcoming and friendly. My only complaint was regarding the cleanliness of some of the props. We used foot weights at two of the stations, and since those stations happened to be towards the end of my rotations, they were all sweaty when I put them on- yuck! If you are looking for a tough workout with either a boyfriend/girlfriend, or workout buddy, or maybe even a first date if you are feeling adventurous (jk- she won’t show up for date #2) this is a great new studio for you.

We walked across town to Chelsea Market after class for lunch and holiday shopping (TCC recommendation: check out Dizengoff for the best hummus outside of Tel Aviv…seriously) and, as we walked, each of us couldn’t stop talking about how sore we were getting. It kept getting worse and worse as the day went on. Like that “WOW what the heck did I do to get this sore” soreness.

Switch Playground is a fantastic option for those of us who tend to get bored with our normal exercise routines in New York. I’m sure that it’s possible to make Switch a part of your normal workout schedule–we chatted with two of the trainers after class, and the exercises are constantly changing, so I don’t think the class would ever become boring. My only possible concern is that, without an explanation of the workout before launching into the madness that is Switch, it’s impossible to prepare for the next exercise (i.e. when I know that my next interval is a minute of jump squats, I’m probably going to take it easy on the rower beforehand. But, then again, maybe that’s a good thing; sometimes, our heads get in the way of our bodies.

Click here to view the entire blog post review about Switch Playground New York,  HIIT on ThatCouple.com