My Favorite Workout Classes in Philadelphia

Monday, February 17, 2020

For any readers I might have who are not from the Philly area I apologize, but I'm back today with another Philly-centric post! Today I am chatting all about my favorite workout classes in the city and why!

Before I get into specific classes and studios, let me back up and talk a little about my fitness journey in the city. I have always been a fairly active individual. I swam and played tennis growing up through high school and even swam my freshman year at Tulane (club swimming). After giving up team sports I would go to the gym a few times a week in college and I always enjoyed attending a 20-minute Arms and Abs class. Upon moving to Philly in 2014 I hopped right into the city's fitness scene. I started out with a membership at a local yoga and pilates studio, a gym membership, and a class card at a local spinning studio. Over the years I have been a member of both ClassPass and GymPass and have tried MANY of the local and national studios located around the city. The list below are my favorites - but if you have any suggestions for a good studio in Philly I would love to hear, I am always down to try out a new workout class!

Best HIIT Workout: BPM Fitness, located at 18th and Spring Garden in the Fairmount neighborhood. BPM is locally owned by Shoshanna and runs several types of classes, the most popular being a combination class with 25 minutes of spinning and 25 minutes of strength training circuits. While all the instructors are awesome, Wes is my favorite instructor, he really knows his stuff involving form, is super energetic, and is very motivating. If you are not into spinning try the 45-minute strength only class.

Great for: TRX, Kettlebells, Cardio/Strength Combo, Friendly Staff

Runners Up: Orangetheory Center City, F45 Center City, Ripped PHL, Unite Fitness

Best Spin Class: Flywheel on 15th and Locust Street. Flywheel is a national chain, but I love love this studio. Located underground on Locust Street, the spin room here is one of the best. I really love the new bikes they've put in, they're very easy to adjust and the stadium seating ensures that everyone can see the instructor easily. I like that at Flywheel the instructors push you past your comfort zone. I have gotten all my spinning personal records at Flywheel and its something I can do at 6am when I'm barely awake. My favorite instructors at Kat (the best explicit rap playlists), Nicole (she has the best interval work),  and Amandah (she's super sweet and also plays great music).

Runner Up: 45 Minute Spin only class at BPM (discussed above), just bring your own spin shoes to clip-in or wear sneakers!

***One more note, I am not a big Soul Cycle fan, but I have been to the Philly studio and Meaghan Kelley has great playlists and is super energetic***

Best Hot Yoga: Priya Hot Yoga on 19th and Callowhill. Priya is my favorite yoga studio in the city due to the number of classes they offer, the convenient times, the overall welcoming atmosphere at the studio, and I like a lot of the instructors. Go to 5pm Sunday with Rachel for a chill way to unwind after a long week, try Brittany's Tuesday or Thursday classes for more of a challenge (but she knows her stuff) or take a Monday slow-flow with Megan to start your week off on the right foot. I also really like Jillian's sculpt class and Lisa's Saturday morning 75 minute class, it has great flows!

Runner Up: I like the Yoga Sculpt class at Core Power Yoga, but its not my favorite for a traditional flow. Philly Power Yoga on Sansom is good for a nice flow, I especially like their late-night beginner class. 

Best Sculpt: Sculpt Jawn at Lumos Barre and Yoga at 20th and Green Street. This class is one of my favorites in the city. I've done a couple other classes at this location but this is the class I come back for. The studio is really cute and kind of has a Harry Potter theme (hence the Lumos name). The Sculpt Jawn class is offered Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays and consists of about 25 minutes of yoga flow followed by 25 minutes of cardio (think jumping jacks, dancing, squats) and some light weights/sculpting movements. My favorite teacher is Sara (she teaches 6am on Tuesday).

Runner Up: The Yoga Sculpt class at Priya Hot Yoga at 8:15am on weekends and Yoga Sculpt at Core Power Yoga

Best Boxing Class: Everybody Fights at 20th and Market Street. The TRAIN Class involves 10-12 stations with different cardio based movements, including several boxing circuits. While this is not a pure boxing class (Title Boxing on Market Street offers a class with a lot more boxing) I really enjoy the format of this workout because I can get my heart rate up, lift some weights, and also practice my jabs and hooks. I also recently took a class at Rumble Boxing and really enjoyed that, but I've only done it once so I didn't want to review based on that one time.

Everybody Fights also offers heavyweight classes, yoga classes (I have never done yoga here though), and even open gym for their members. You should bring your own gloves and wraps.

Runner Up: Rumble Boxing (like I said, only tried once but I really enjoyed the mix of boxing and core/strength exercises) 

Best Pilates Class: Solidcore at 22nd and Chestnut Street. Oh my God. This is the hardest class I do on a regular basis. I've taken Solidcore classes over 30 times and I am still terrible at them - its so difficult! That being said, I always leave feeling like I've gotten a great core workout and have strengthened muscles that I have not worked in a long time. I don't go to a specific instructor here, mostly because I go at different times each week whenever I can fit a class in my schedule. I try to go once, if not twice a week. If you try it, just know you will be horrible the first couple of times. It is also very fast paced, they don't give breaks (you need to take your own) and the instructor talks the whole time. You need to go a few times and learn the movements and get used to the class format before you start to feel more comfortable. One thing to note, this studio does not have a shower so make sure you're able to pop back home after class.

Runner Up: Thrive Pilates classes on Sansom Street, Pilates at Lumos Barre and Yoga

Personal Trainer Shout-Out: I also want to give a shout-out to a personal trainer I worked with the months leading up to my wedding, Jimmy Sutton from J'aime Fitness in Fairmont. Jimmy and his wife Jaime own the personal training studio, but they recently opened up a studio with group fitness classes. I haven't been by to try the classes yet but I plan on it soon! Jimmy and Jaime are both super nice, local business owners and they're great trainers. I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to get better form!

The Best Books Set in Philadelphia

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Whether you are from the great city of Philadelphia, planning a visit, or just are looking for a good book I have some recommendations for you which all take place in the city of Brotherly Love (actually I heard they changed it to Sisterly Love for 2020, can anyone confirm?). 

When I plan a trip I love to try and read a book or watch a movie set in the place I'm going. Like reading A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway before a trip to Paris or Nine Lives by Dan Baum before visiting New Orleans (both are excellent by the way and you should add to your TBR). 

Being from the Greater Philadelphia Area, and living within the city since 2014 I love when I find a good book which is set within the city I love so much. 


1// Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson : Set in 1793 (duh) in Philadelphia during the yellow fever outbreak. This is a children's/young adult book but I think adults would enjoy it too. The story follows Mattie, a young girl working in her family's coffeehouse with dreams of expanding the business into a larger enterprise. As more and more people fall ill in the city reality shatters the world Mattie has inhabited thus far. 

2// Long Bright River by Liz Moore : Set in current day Philadelphia, this book was just released in January 2020. Alternating between past and present, the story follows Mickey, a patrol officer in Philadelphia's 24th district (Kensington). Mickey and her sister Kacey were brought up in Fishtown by their grandmother following the death of their mother via drug overdose. While Mickey has taken a path in law enforcement, her sister has gone down the dark path of addiction. When several women are found murdered in Kensington around the same time Mickey realizes she has not seen her sister around the streets for sometime, Mickey works to try to find her sister while also getting clues about who might be committing the homicides in the neighborhood, This book was dark, gritty, and sad at times. It was very well written and gave a raw look at the opioid epidemic which rages on in Philadelphia (and many other US cities. It has some twists along the way and was easy to get into. I highly recommend. 

3// Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid : Another new release, I have not personally read this book (I'm on the waitlist at the library). Therefore, here is the brief synopsis from Amazon: 

"Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times."

4// Silver Linings Playbook by Mathew Quick : You've probably heard of this one because of the movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. But it is still worthwhile to give the book a read! The book is always better right? The Eagles play a central role in the story of Pat and Tiffany, there's a love story, and it is set in Philly. Pat is having a hard time getting over Nikki, his estranged wife, at the same time the Eagles are on a losing streak and he is being pursued by Tiffany, his odd neighbor. Pat's therapist has some odd suggestions and there's dancing involved. Say no more right?

5// The Dutch House by Ann Patchet : Another book in my TBR pile - but still I've heard some great things from my friends who have read it! Also, if you like audiobooks I've heard Tom Hanks narrates this one! From Amazon: 

"At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril's son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they're together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they've lost with humor and rage. But when at last they're forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested."

Some other Philly inspired book purchases include the following cookbooks by Philly based chefs!
House of Cheese by Tenaya Darlington - A book about cheese pairings and recipes from the famous Di Bruno Brothers cheese shop, based in the Italian Market neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Zahav - A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solmonov : Zahav is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. And while it might be difficult to get a reservation, now you can make some of Solmonov's recipes at home.
Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia : For Pizza lovers (everyone) the creator of Pizzeria Beddia in Philly has a treat for you. From basics about sauce and dough to delicious recipes you will be whipping up delicious pizza creations in your home. 

Do you have any great city-based booked recommendations? I'd love to hear - especially if they're set in Philly!

Let me reintroduce myself

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Wow, so that break lasted a little longer than I intended. Sorry about that. Clearly a lot has happened since December 2016 when I published my last post. Let me give you the highlights.


 Traveled to Iceland, Spain, Tennessee, New Mexico, Las Vegas, and more. I got the opportunity to work on a project at my job where I was traveling to Spain almost every other week in the Fall. It was awesome working with a smart, interesting international team! I miss them now!

My mom and I with my new cat, Leo! Adopted April 2017

          My two cat babies (Kalliope and Leo)

Alex and I in Iceland in June 2017

Me, Alex, and our friend John in Iceland in 2017

from a Family photo shoot in June 2017

Oviedo, Spain where I traveled for work, Fall 2017

Teverga Spain, where I went hiking one weekend I was traveling

More shots from Treverga, Spain - Fall 2017


2018 was an amazing year! Alex and I got engaged in February and the Eagles won the Super Bowl the same weekend! After that, I left for Hawaii to spend 10 days with my friends in Oahu and Maui! What a great start to the year! Some other highlights in 2018 were a trip to CMA Fest in Nashville with my best friend Alex (not my fiance), spending lots of time down the shore with my hometown friends, especially Jeanine, planning our wedding, heading back to Spain and Vegas for work, and just spending time with friends and family.

The night we got engaged, February 2, 2018

Our engagement night

Completing the Lanai Pillbox Hike in Hawaii, February 2018

Maui, February 2018
Black Sand Beach in Maui

 Our engagement photos, October 2018


2019 went by in a flash! January started with my first ride on a private jet for work (but to Michigan in January) and I wrapped up my long-term project at work and started a new project in the fall. I got MARRIED in June, had my bachelorette party in March in Miami, and went on our honeymoon to Australia and Fiji right after our wedding. We also went down the shore in the summer, visited family in Pittsburgh, and I did my annual trip to Vegas for work. 
Getting ready to go down the aisle

Entering our reception, NOLA style

 The hora! 

The best day ever (all wedding photos by Sean Marshall Lin photography in Philly - loved working with Sean!)

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

Petting Kangaroos was a dream come true!

Zip-lining in the rainforest in Australia

Such a bucket list moment after our 24+ hours of flying!

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb complete!

Champagne breakfast by the ocean in Fiji

Golden hour in Fiji

In our private plunge pool in Fiji

With some of my work besties in Vegas in September

Christmas 2019

And now you're all caught up! Well, almost. In January 2020 I turned 30 and my husband, Alex, and I headed to New Orleans to celebrate. It was a great weekend and I didn't feel sad or upset about turning 30 at all. In fact, I am ready for my 30's and excited to see what this decade will bring. I have a lot of fun planned this year and can't wait to bring you along with me!

If you want to follow-along in between posts please follow my new book-focused instagram @lauragetslit

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