© Daniel Cavazos

After several weeks of taking it easy physically—a tumble from my bike during the New York Century left me with a bruised tailbone—I sampled a fitness class at Human at Ease, a whole-body wellness studio that Jen raves about. Knowing little about Intensati except there’s a call-and-response aspect, I brought a water bottle and an open mind.

The instructor, Elina, welcomed me and quickly explained the concept: each move in the aerobic circuit is labeled a principle (like focus or desire), and there’s a mantra associated with each (“My desire is strong”). Imagine Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley set to dance music. She started the class with a “share,” something all Intensati classes begin with, about an aspect in her life that could use some improving and what she’s doing about it. 

Elina then led the class through the principles, incorporating kickboxing, running in place, and jumping, while we yelled back the declarations. I expected the responses to feel hokey, but they never did. Elina’s enthusiasm spread quickly, and her smile never faded—even while my energy dwindled.

Half the time was spent repeating a circuit of about 12 principles, before moving on to core work, pushups, and stretching. Unfortunately, this aspect is where Itensati falls short: it’s too repetitive. I wish there were different circuits, or they could have been broken up.

Surprisingly I was unable to hold some of the yoga-inspired stretches when the sweating portion of the class ended. I could barely keep my arms lifted and was slightly sore the next day. Regardless of the repetition, Intensati offered a good, solid workout that’s low intensity enough for even the most devoted couch potato. As a low-priced community class, Intensati is definitely worth a try; Elina leads it every Wednesday at 8pm.


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