The 2000 square foot Tone House studio just off Union Square is totally open plan – as you enter to sign in at reception, the previous workout may still be going on right there, giving you a terrifying taster of things to come!
Noticeably absent are the treadmills and cumbersome equipment of most workout classes, and there are no lockers or shower rooms either. Instead, it’s just a red-lit, turf-lined open space plus – as described on the website – “professional ‘toys’, nicknamed The Harness, The Core Crusher, The Intimidator, and more, hang from the walls and line the floor – silent, ready, willing and able to take your workouts to the next level“!! What was I in for?!
Our class was lead by the Tone House creator, Alonzo Wilson, a former collegiate and professional athlete and fitness model. His desire for New Yorkers to experience the extreme in athletic-based training was the motivation behind the launch of his own workout studio.
Alonzo has created a workout around ‘movement training‘. Most workouts these days focus on running, jumping, cycling and lifting weights while staying in one place, but remaining abnormally stationary prevents our bodies from maximising their full potential. At Tone House, you don’t isolate specific muscles or stand still for long – the workout uses the entire body and many muscle groups to expend more energy for an effective and efficient workout.
What unfolded was a relentless, rapid-fire hour of sprints up and down the studio, hurdles, sandbag-weighted jump squats and lunges, pushing weighted sleds up and down the studio, jumping against ginormous rubber bands, lunging one-legged with a foot in a TRX strap, and burpees… so many burpees…
We transitioned from explosive to dynamic exercises, trained with resistance and velocity, put TRX Suspension and Rip Trainers, Training Ropes, Ultimate Sandbags, Val Slides and Plyo Boxes to good use, and caught our breath during active recovery periods.
I felt like I might throw up at several points during the workout, operating in an anaerobic state for most of it, and totally exhausted by the end – I had massive admiration for the fifty-something lady in my class who attends three or four classes per week!
We started and ended with a “Go team!” huddle – totally cheesy but somehow it worked: Although Tone House workouts are very individual, you do thrive off the energy and camaraderie of the group, high-fiving as each set is completed and cheering each other on as groups of three took it in turns to sprint to the end of the studio and then get back to the start line with killer burpee-pressup-backwards-jumps!! There’s a competitive, motivating and encouraging atmosphere that pushes you on.
Tone House is 100% the hardest workout I’ve ever put myself through, even more so than Barry’s Bootcamp – I guess when you remove the treadmills and open up the space, the workout is very different, and was a shock to my system! But there’s a hugely addictive feeling and sense of achievement that comes with completing such a killer workout, and it’s that that keeps me going back to Tone House. Whether you’re an athlete or just want to train like one, this will push you out of your comfort zone to realise your full potential.
Class cost: $20 first time, $35 single class pass
20 East 17th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10003