The Most Awesome #TBT Fitness Trend

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When it comes to working out, I’m not much of a team player. I mean, I’m all for group fitness classes — but more along the lines of cycling, Pilates, or bootcamp classes where I sweat next to the others, not with them. So, when a friend asked me to stop by the new phys-ed-inspired studio, appropriately named “Throwback Fitness," I immediately had flashbacks of being last picked in gym class.
Throwback is the brainchild of Brian Gallagher and Ryan Wilke, two fitness addicts who abandoned their finance jobs to forge new careers based on their fondness for the gym-class activities of their youth. I was warned that their classes would be humbling, but when I entered the studio and saw minimal equipment, save for a few rowing machines, I foolishly expected it would be a breeze. In keeping with the “throwback” theme, the class (which was pretty evenly split between men and women) began with a get-to-know-you activity where each participant shared his or her favorite '80s movie. (In case you’re wondering, mine was Just One of the Guys — '80s brilliance at its best.) Then, we stood in a circle and did some basic stretching, while Gallagher and Wilke explained the structure of the class.
For the first half of the class, called Phys Ed., we paired off, and while one person rowed furiously on the machine, the other had to complete a series of calisthenics with a medicine ball (lunges, push-ups, and sit-ups). Then, after the timed interval was up, we switched. The goal was to see which pair could row the furthest. The first round didn’t seem too bad, but a few rounds later, it become nearly impossible. Throughout the exercise, Ryan and Brian came around to check on our forms, cheer us on, and announce team stats.
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Next up was the "fun" part of class, appropriately named Recess. We were split into two groups and told to come up with a team name (shout out to Team Breakfast Club). The objective was to score as many goals possible by hurling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Nerf balls into the other team’s cage, which were on the other side of the room. However, before you start thinking how fun that sounds, there was a catch: Each team member was required to do a series of push-ups and ab exercises before being allowed to throw a Nerf ball. My team didn’t win, but it was fun as hell and a great workout.
We ended the class the same way we began (except in sweatier clothes), and we gathered in a circle for a cool down. Just like in a real old-school gym class, we got a thorough stretch — no ducking out early as I usually do once a class winds down. Afterward, I felt like I had somewhat redeemed my lackluster elementary-school self and couldn’t wait to get more friends on board for a fun, coed activity that doesn’t involve drinking. Cowabunga to that!
Throwback Fitness is located within Titan Fitness Studios, 305 Fifth Avenue, Suite 207 (at 31st Street); New York, NY 10001; 610-844-5364;

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