Crash Course: The 360 class at EVF Performance is an hour-long, high intensity strength and conditioning bonanza. It focuses on constantly varied functional movement with the goal of keeping you in tip top shape for your other workouts, sporting events, or for anything life throws at you. The class is open to any and all fitness levels. EVF 360 is offered indoors and outdoors (during warmer-weather seasons) at both the Upper East Side and Columbus Circle locations. Scroll through the full EVF schedule here. [line] [left]where: 1623 York Avenue
bring: water bottle, towel
perks: shower, outdoors
sweat score: 9 out of 10[/left][right]wear: clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
cost: first class $20 | drop-in $35 [/right][line]
The Upper East Side isn’t the fitness epicenter of the city, but it is home to quite a few workout gems that I’m looking forward to exploring. A few weekends ago, I made my way over to York Avenue to crash the EVF Performance 360 conditioning class.
While the company’s main bread and butter is churned at two crossfit locations and Row House, the group also offers indoor and outdoor high intensity, functional conditioning classes called “EVF360”. It’s kind of like a mix between crossfit and bootcamp. While the indoor classes incorporate kettlebells and other toys, the outdoor class is entirely focused on bodyweight exercises. From the class description on their website, I knew this was going to be my kind of sweat. Challenging. Intense. Fun.
I attended one of the outdoor sessions, which was perfect because the weather has been glorious in New York City. Cool temperatures, brilliant sunshine. Sorry DC, but I can’t say I miss your humidity and lingering summer heat one bit.
After signing in at the front desk, I killed some time before class watching the last part of that morning’s crossfit workout downstairs in the gym. The place was packed, the music was loud, and there was a lot of cheering going on. Definitely the kind of environment that delivers a shot of adrenaline. It’s hard not to get excited about working out with that kind of energy in the room.
After all of the 360 students arrived, we climbed back up the stairs into the fresh air and talked about the days workout. We would be running two blocks to Carl Schurz Park, which overlooks the East River and has plenty of open space for running, jumping, burpee-ing, and all sorts of other activities. It’s also the spot where November Project NYC meets on Wednesday mornings, so it obviously has a reputation for being a great spot for sweaty pursuits.
We arrived at the park and started class with a round of introductions followed by a dynamic warm up of functional movement and stretches. Think squats, side planks, and a funky lizard hip-opening stretch. This was when I immediately regretted wearing light colored shorts. Pro tip: wear black or dark colors. I walked away from the workout with a smile on my face, but my light blue shorts and white top were filthy.This isn’t the best look if you’re planning to do a few errands or meet friends for brunch after.
The first workout consisted of a partner exercise. While one partner sprinted up a set of stairs, around a bend, and back down the stairs, the other partner was in charge of busting out a set of broad jump burpees. The catch? This went on for twenty minutes. Was it challenging and full of good-for-you exercises? Absolutely. But I would have preferred if we switched things up a bit more to keep it exciting. That said, this was definitely a mental and physical endurance challenge. Game on.
Aside from our own antics, there was plenty going on in the park to keep us entertained through the relentless rounds of sprints and burpees. At that early hour, it’s a popular spot for dog owners, dog walkers, and parents of small children. I will never complain about watching puppies play while working out. Show me a corgi and I’ll do sprints all day long. Also, the stairs where we did our running repetitions were being used as a backdrop for a young family’s photo portrait session. It was a hilariously awkward juxtaposition. Sweaty grunting runners flying up and down the stairs. Mom, dad, two small babies dressed in immaculate matching outfits trying to maintain focus and smile angelically at the camera. Sorry for the interruption!
After the 20 minutes mercifully ended, it was on to the next round of partner fun. Except this time, while one partner completed a circuit of exercises, the other got to rest. It was bliss! At least it was bliss for a few short moments, because my partner was crazy fast and seemed to finish the circuit just as soon as I had caught my breath. Good for him, challenging for me.
The exercise circuit included five walking lunges, an all-out sprint down the park pathway, a round of pushups and dips, and a sprint back to meet our partner. This back and forth went on for another long while, maybe another 20 minutes or so.
I was totally wiped out by the end of the 60 minute class. While the circuits were longer than I personally like, Jay was a fantastic motivator and really kept us focused and on our toes the entire time. (Side note: when not coaching at EVF, Jay also works as a doctor and spent the entire previous evening on call at the ER. Talk about dedication!) I’m sure each weekend is different, with some classes targeting short bursts of activity and others tackling longer and more consistent efforts. I’ll be back to check it out.
Either way, I had a blast and really enjoyed kicking-off my weekend with such a fun and motivating workout. The people were warm and welcoming, and I felt a strong sense of community from both Jay and the other students. You also can’t beat the enjoyment of working out outside in a beautiful green park overlooking a body of water, surrounded by puppies, playing kids, flowers, and your fellow burpee-ing classmates. I’d call it a win!