Any Manhattanite will tell you what a luxury it is to have access to a pool. That’s why it feels like a treat to work out in one of New York Health & Racquet’s salt water pools. I recently visited their 50th street club to partake in their newest pool-based fitness class, Surfs Up. One of the club’s newest workout classes, it concentrates on working your core and midsection while increasing your cardio capacity using strength and balancing exercises.

Creator Chris Lacour came up with the idea after his life was flipped upside down by a snowboarding accident. He injured his spine so badly that it required surgery. Since the fitness guru could no longer work out, his muscles atrophied and he lost 30 pounds. Then one day his friend Jenni Lynn Patterson, who’s now his fiance, gave him the push he needed to regain his strength.

Patterson had been teaching water-based fitness classes for years and she knew it was exactly what Lacour needed to regain his strength. As Lacour regained his strength via aqua-based exercise, he began to research all of its health benefits.

“When you exercise in what your body experiences Hydrostatic Pressure which helps to take the lactic acid out of cells and delivers it to the liver more efficiently so that muscles don’t feel as sore after exercise,” he explained to me from the sidelines of the pool as I, ever the professional journalist, blissfully bobbed around NYHRC’s soothing salt water.

“This is a class for people who are tired of land workouts and need a break from the grind of weights and land classes,” he said of the ideal candidates for the class. “Surfs Up allows the participant to push themselves to their own limits in a safe aquatic environment. Your muscles and joints get the same benefits, if not more, than land workouts,” he continued. I’m not going to lie and pretend I’m so sick of land workouts that I just had to get myself into a pool, but this class intrigued me so I had to try it. After actually taking the class, I’d one-hundred-percent recommend it to anyone looking to shake up their usual fitness routine.

The 45-minute class started with Lacour showing us a few basic moves to get our bodies acclimated to moving through the water. We started off with various strength and balancing exercises and eventually we incorporated “weights” to get a more vigorous workout. I use the term weights lightly (no pun intended), because out of the water they are virtually weightless, but when used underwater in the pool you can feel your muscles working hard to execute each exercise.

As a former swim instructor, I was tickled when we were told to hold onto the wall and kick vigorously for 30 seconds. I wasn’t as tickled by the fact that I found it surprisingly hard, which perhaps speaks to my athleticism. Overall, everything about this class was fun and this beginner gives it a 10/10. I’ll definitely be back!

Surfs Up is offered every Thursday at 6:00 PM at New York Health & Racquet’s 50th Street club.

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