Let’s be honest. There are generally two kinds of people at workout classes: The people who want a fun, shake-it-up sweat session, but will only come by once a month or so. And then there are the dedicated addicts who will diligently keep coming week after week until they could do the workout in their sleep. Megan Roup’s Sculpt Society is fun (and tough) if you’re a haphazard joiner, but it’s really built for the latter kind of client.
Roup kicks off her classes, which have an ever-expanding following, with dance cardio. Then you transition into strength training moves, using signature sliding disks. You’ll do a round of abs, then sculpt one leg at a time with an ab break in between legs. You can use the optional ankle weights if you're feeling really tough. She breaks up the sculpting and donkey kicks intentionally. “I concentrated for fifteen minutes on one side of my butt, I don’t want to go directly into it again,” she tells me after what was perhaps the sweatiest class of my life. “I need a mental break as well as a physical break before I do the other.” The class is finished off with another fun round of dance cardio — but this time you know all the moves from the beginning of class. She calls this a “party moment" to make you forget how hard you just worked out.
Be prepared: During the strength training and leg lifts, you’re going to sweat. A lot. “Because your heart rate’s up as you’re sculpting because of the cardio you just did, you’re having to work a little harder,” she explains. “It’s in a similar sense of a HIIT class, it’s like you’re spiking your heart rate and then you’re bringing it back down and then up and down again… You don’t realize that as you’re doing these slower movements, you’re sweating and it’s more intense.”
The class is a very productive 50 minutes, and you can take it at her Energi studio near New York’s Union Square, which just opened this year, or at Project by Equinox. When her Sculpt Society was in early days, she would teach all her own classes which occasionally only had a few people in attendance. Today, people have gotten hooked, and she’s expanded to two studios, and has four trainers who help her teach. She also has a mat class for people who don’t want the high-impact of the jumping that comes with dance cardio, as well as a bench class.
The music when I went was a fun combination of rap songs I was vaguely familiar with but couldn’t name, and Taylor Swift dance remixes to which I knew every word. It really was a killer mix. “I spend a lot of time on my music — I feel like I'm a full time DJ,” Roup jokes. “I’m literally on YouTube or iTunes all the time trying to find new songs with dance remixes that have a bpm that’s fast enough for dance cardio.”
People who do her class regularly take it very seriously. She has loyalists who come five days a week, and the classes routines are formatted to help them. She always does the same flow, but she mixes up the moves done in the strength training and sculpting blocks every week. However, she’ll keep it the same for seven days in a row, so that her regulars can get a hang of the combination and spend their time focusing on small movements, rather than on learning the combinations. “There’s something about knowing where you’re going and being able to focus on the little muscles,” Roup says.
While anyone can try and enjoy her class, it’s the Roup addicts who lead. Consider yourself lucky if you’re behind one of them in the studio, as it seems like they could basically teach the class by the time they're on their fifth day of the week. Ultimately this fosters a community you find yourself wanting to be a part of. Even if, like me, you’re someone who constantly bops in and out different classes, this one will make you at least consider placing your loyalty in Megan’s hand and canceling your ClassPass subscription.