Review: Physique 57

A class at Physique 57 is a cross between a motivating session with a life coach and an exercise class.

Courtesy of Physique 57

Ab exercises with bands. // Courtesy of Physique 57

From the moment you enter the studio, the atmosphere is inviting, bright and filled with positive attitudes. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be there and gives off the sense that this is the best part of their day. You definitely gain a spring in your step just from absorbing the positive vibes.

With skylights and soothing colors aplenty, the studio is a sunny and airy space. The actual exercise rooms are surprisingly small and square-shaped. I found this a bit odd, because you are forced into closer quarters than usual with your fellow classmates. Nevertheless, when the music started pumping and the other ladies in class stood up upon the instructors arrival, I quickly forgot about the room’s appearance.

The workout included hand weights as a warmup, barre work that made my thighs and calves burn, floor work for abs and then an exercise band looped around the ballet barre. The workout was not easy and definitely on par with similar studios, like Bar Method (which I have been practicing for a little over a year), but I would chance to say that the moves were not as effective. I found myself sore the next day, but I didn’t feel the same burn in class as I do at Bar Method (though believe, me there WAS a burn). Perhaps this is a good thing and speaks to the ease of the Physique57 moves, but I didn’t feel as challenged. Many of the exercises were very similar to Bar Method, but performed in a slightly different way or position.

One thing I didn’t love, was the tempo of the class. Though I enjoyed the current music and upbeat demeanor of the instructor, it felt a bit frenzied at times. I just may not be used to it, but hearing the instructor spout inspirational phrases as I huffed and puffed through thigh-toning moves came off as a bit cheesy. Bar Method seems more like a fluid dance through class, building up the tempo of the music with the intensity ebbing and flowing. I like this because it is generally a relaxing and zen-like experience, a time to center yourself. Meanwhile the environment at Physique57 was “go-go-go! Imagine how great you’ll look after this!” instead of doing the exercise for yourself and your own betterment. I guess it seemed more superficial, you could say.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my afternoon at Physique57 and would absolutely consider returning for another try. Though I am biased as a follower of Bar Method, Physique 57 is still a fun workout.

*Disclosure: My class at Physique57 was free-of-charge as a press courtesy.

Review: Nail Plaza on Third Ave & 51st

Sketchy, clean and moderately-priced, are three words I would use to describe this Midtown nail salon.

While on my lunch break, I decided to try out “Nail Plaza” because it is right near my office building. I am a New York City nail salon connoisseur, so I feel confident in comparing this one to others in the area.

For a midtown nail spot, the prices at this salon were to be expected. Manicures are $12 and pedicures are $25, which are the true prices. Unlike almost every other nail place in the city, Nail Plaza offers neither a mani-pedi combo deal, nor a mid-week special.

When I entered the salon and inquired about pricing, looked disappointed and then just asked for a manicure, the ladies were quick to offer me a $7 discount “just this one time.” AKA why I called this place sketchy, but hey, I am not one to turn down a discount. Further along into my manicure, the woman doing my nails, Esther, handed me a pink slip with their menu of services. A stamped message on the slip entitled me to 20% off waxing, mani’s and pedi’s every time I showed it…which be where this mysterious $7 discount came from. Though I appreciated the dip in price, I felt bad when the salon continued to charge everyone else the full $37. The other customers had blatantly heard them offer me a better deal and still had to pay full price.

As for the actual manicure and pedicure services, they were just okay. I went during my lunch break and the woman doing my nails knew I only had an hour, so this could explain why the job felt rushed. Nevertheless, this nail salon did not offer many extras like other salons in the area, like the free massages as your nails dry or your choice of scented oils during the service. Though my nail technician haphazardly threw polish onto my fingernails, they still look great. Also, I appreciated that Nail Plaza uses higher quality products, such as luxurious-feeling moisturizers and brand-name OPI base and top coats.

While I liked the final outcome and think my nails look well-polished, I would not pay a higher price again at Nail Plaza for less service than other salons in the area offer. It was definitely not a bad experience though, and I would return if I was in a pinch, needing a quick and reliable mani-pedi near my office.

What: Nail Plaza Nails and Spa
Where: 831 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10022 (between 50th-51st)
When: M-F 9:30AM-8:00PM, Sat. and Sun. 9:30AM-8:00PM
Contact: (212) 980-2308
Cost: $12 manicure, $25 pedicure, $20 gel manicure, $35 shellac manicure and $10 polish change