I wanted to switch up my workout routine this week so why not hit up Switch Playground???
I have been wanting to try out Switch Playground in New York City for such a long time now so I finally made the time to do so. This workout caught my attention on Instagram because it is advertised as a full body HIIT (high intensity interval training) which is my favorite way to train and I was also intrigued by how a group fitness class can incorporate a “playground” into a workout. Like HELLO that sounds fun, sign me up!! I figured in a group class setting it would be high energy.
I have been following the creator of Switch Playground, Steve Uria, on Instagram for quite some time now. I found some information on him through his bio on his IG page so I knew some of his background but as I was on the Switch Playground website I brushed up on some interesting facts about him. In a brief overview Uria founded Switch in Cape Town, South Africa. How amazing?! He has a reputable fitness career that has a length of three decades. His background in South Africa’s Special Forces Military gave him the opportunity to truly seek out the best in others and himself. He designed Switch with the hopes that when clients come to the playground, that they would leave feeling better, confident, and stronger than when they came in—mentally and physically. His lists of achievements go on, he was even voted the Top Fitness Trainer in the USA by Vogue. Damn now that is something to brag about!
As always, I will walk you through step by step, or should I say, lung by lunge, throughout my time at Switch Playground!
*If you are new to my page, please note—I am very particular when it comes to taking group classes. I do a lot of research and I look up instructors before taking class. This is my 100% honest review.*
Before arriving to NYC, I went on the Switch Playground website to book my class. There are two locations, 12thE Street and the SoHo location. I knew I would be attending 12thE Street. I called the studio to ask about the classes, I noticed there was the Switch 40 and then Switch playground. The woman over the phone told me the Switch 40 classes were newer and shorter than their signature. I knew I wanted to try their regular Switch class for my first time.
I was going on a Saturday and was booking class on a Friday and noticed the time and the instructor I wanted to take class with was waitlisted, bummer! (If you are looking to attend at a certain time on a weekend I would definitely suggest booking ahead of time). I had the option of taking a 12:30 PM class or a 3 PM class. Based on some research and some Instagram browsing of the instructors that had openings, I decided I would take class with Jenna Arndt at 12:30 PM.
Overview of Switch Playground
Switch playground is a 1-hour workout that involves 20-40 numbered stations with constant switching—like every 2 minutes. Later on in this post I will explain what equipment the studio includes. Each station is different but delivers High Intensity Interval Training. The stations last 2 minutes long which are separated by either a minute or 30-second intervals. There is one head instructor that leads the class over the mic and then there are several other instructors that guide and demonstrate the workouts at every few stations. There is also a live DJ in the class delivering all of the high energy beats and active lighting.
Switch Playground also offers Switch 40 and 1-on-1 personal training.Switch 40 involves Box Core and Cardio Circuit. In this post I will be reviewing their signature class.
The Studio: 12th E Street
I walked into the building with Will Smith’s song Switch stuck in my head. Yeah, I was like in 5thor 6thgrade when this song came out. What a banger!! Anyways……
Walking into the studio I noticed the huge Switch logo painted on the wall. I was really pleased with the greeting my sister and I received while walking in! There were two very sweet ladies behind the desk who asked our last names. We told them it was our first time there and they explained how every station is 2 minutes long and that there will be a lot of switching. One of the ladies asked us if we wanted to be partners.
*This class you are with a partner. I knew this prior to taking the class from my research but I did not know if I would be doing a partner workout with someone. I knew I wanted to try it out for the first time with a friend aka my sister! *
One of the ladies handed us each a towel and put a small sticker on them which had the number 1. She said that for the start of class to pick any mat and that the class will begin with a quick yoga session about 3-5 minutes long. After that she explained to go to station number 1 and that is where we would be starting. She then directed us downstairs to the locker room.
This was fabulous customer service. The two ladies at the check in were super attentive and did not leave us with any questions. Better yet, we didn’t even have to ask any.
Customer Service: 5 cups of Jo from me!
Downstairs had a hallway of lockers and then a separate men and women’s locker room. The locker room was not big but it wasn’t tiny either. There were 6 showers, a shelf of some towels, and two small benches. There was not a lot of room to get ready and either end of the lockers would hit the bathroom doors or the shower doors so I could imagine it could be hard to get ready here but hey, I would not imagine one would go to a beauty pageant after this. I could imagine someone getting ready for work though.
As I stated I went to class on a Saturday so I am unsure as to whether or not the locker room would be as packed during a weekday morning as it was when I went, but I know if it were me getting ready, I would probably leave class early just to get a shower. If you were to compare this to other studios, I could see why someone would be picky. I did not notice many toiletries either but I did notice the long mirror for a great mirror selfie Just make sure no one is changing behind you……….
Locker Room situation:
As I went back upstairs to do some clothes browsing, I noticed there was a selfie booth! If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I love selfies and I love photo booths. OH, AND WORKING OUT. Obviously, my sister and I had a pre-workout photo shoot and made our own GIFs of us flexin’. In 2019, your workout doesn’t count if you don’t have proof!! OH WAIT, that was also the case in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018….. 😉
I was looking forward to purchasing some Switch gear prior to arriving. I was hoping for a cute crop top but the clothes were simple looking. They are definitely made for lounging but also made to break my bank account. $90 for a sweatshirt that just had the Switch logo on it. No thanks…
Clothing Prices: 1 cup of Jo from me
Before entering the studio there was a class coming out and it was packed. The lobby was also crowded because everyone was waiting to get into the next class! My adrenaline was rushing because I loved the energy around me. Everyone had good vibes and I didn’t feel like an outsider. Have you ever showed up to a new group fitness class or new gym and feel like you’re an odd ball because you’re not in the “cool group” or a part of the cult, or talking to every employee there? Well if so, I did not feel like the outcast at Switch Playground. Everyone who came out of the class had a sweaty smile on their face and everyone who was going into the class seemed to be excited to start their workout. I did not feel intimidated, I felt delighted, ya know like the feeling you get while drinking your first iced coffee on the first warm spring day. Especially if you live in New Jersey…..
While entering the class there was a total of 5 instructors holding their hands up at the door giving everyone high 5’s and welcoming us into the studio. There were mats everywhere and a small stage in the front of the room with the lead instructor directing us to stand anywhere on an empty mat. I looked around the room and noticed it wasn’t extremely big so I was like how the heck are all these people going to fit in here?! But to my surprise we all did and I’ll explain why in just a movement. All around the room was equipment such as bosu balls, cables, resistance bands, barbells, dumbbells, treadmills, stair masters, rowers, TRX straps, etc. I looked behind me and saw a small space where the DJ was spinnin’ music in the purple lighting. It felt like I was in a NYC night club. I loved the lighting details it gave the space an underground club vibe.
To my surprise everyone quickly got into the room and Jenna, the lead instructor, was up in front on the small stage explaining that we will be doing a short yoga warmup and then everyone will go to the station number that was on our towel. I have never been in a group class that had a stretch or yoga warm up in the beginning of class and I absolutely loved it. The music was relaxing during the warmup and I was feeling all types of namaste in my three-legged dog pose, and my cat stretch, and downward dog. I am no yogi but I am pretty good at charades so yea my animal stretching is pretty on point. *brushes dirt off shoulders* My namaste didn’t last long because I was pumped to get things going after the DJ bumped—can you guess it??—Switch by Will Smith!
As the song was playing Jenna was directing everyone to go to their number station and the other four instructors were scattering everywhere moving the yoga mats and placing numbered mats all over the floor. This is how every partner duo fit around the room. We literally began right away.
My sister and I started off with a station of very light dumbbells. The station provided 2 pound, 3 pound, and 5 pound dumbbells. The instructor who was guiding us held up the number 1 and started showing us an isometric squat while throwing punches with the light dumbbells. She was also instructing two other groups next to us at the same time while the lead instructor over the mic was counting down and telling us the split times of the 30 second intervals. The first 30 seconds we did the squat punches and then the instructor came over and held up a number 2 and showed us weighted jumping jacks. The number 2 meant the next set or in other words—the next 30 second interval. When Jenna said switch, we went into the jumping jacks. Then we went back to the punches and ended with the jacks and switched onto the next station. At first, I was like hmm, this seems kind of easy and the instructor showing us what to do wasn’t super friendly but I think she also felt a little overwhelmed because everyone at first was asking her where to go as she was clearing the mats away after yoga. As I was observing the room so many people were understanding what was going on and others looked like they were just a little slow at switching in between intervals. I really respected that there were other instructors in the room assisting and how quickly they moved. Some were more hands on at correcting than others.
Each class is different so I will go over a few of the stations in no specific order! You must switch quickly in this workout. There is absolutely no down time.
- TRX station split with low rows and jump squats
- kettle bell station was split with kettle bell swings and squat to upright rows
- deadlift/burpee station
- chest press and weighted isometric squat low rows
- bosu ball core work (knee tucks/butterfly kicks
- resistance band biceps with single arm resistance upright rows
- resistance squat jacks/resistance lunges
- pushups/triceps dips
- Barbell overhead sumo squats
As I previously stated it seemed easy at first but then I really started working up a sweat from the constant switching and weighted to body weight to cardio stations. You are hitting every body part in this high energy workout!
Overall Workout: 5 cups of Jo from me!
One of the first things I noticed about Switch was that they gave you complimentary towels which I was really pleased with but there were no disinfectant towels around the room. With the constant switching I would have liked if the person before me could wipe down their equipment. I was going onto a bench to do lying chest presses and noticed sweat dripping on the bench so I had to grab a few extra towels from around the room to place them on the bench. On the contrary though I can see why they don’t hand the disinfect wipes out because the point of the class in nonstop HIIT and maybe this would slow it down. (Two seconds is pretty crucial at a 2-minute station).
During the workout I felt like I did not have time to pay attention to the music so much but I know it kept me going, especially when I heard Drake. It was loud and high energy with beats that made you want to pick up the pace on the treadmill.
There was a total of 5 cardio stations in the class I took. I noticed none of them really turned on besides the treadmill and the stairmaster. The assault bike, regular spin bike, and rower had monitors but they never turned on so I could not see how many watts I was rowing or how fast I was pedaling. I kind of felt like this killed the limited time I had at these stations because there was no direction and I could not tell if I was bringing the resistance up. I also had to adjust the seat and foot plates. By the time one of the instructors came over to me the time was up to switch. During the treadmill and stair master portions I wish there would have been more direction. It seemed like it was implied that I would go at my own pace but I couldn’t really tell so I kept bringing up the speed on the treadmill and stair master every 30 seconds. On the other machines I just went with it because at least I was staying active and my heart rate was still up!
Cardio portion: 3 cups of Jo from me!
As I said every few stations have an instructor holding up symbols which will help you understand what is coming next. Click here to review the symbols. Only the lead instructor is wearing the mic, the other instructors don’t really speak unless they come up to fix your form or if you have a question.
There was one instructor around the room who I thought was so friendly, she was interactive, and also helpful! I found her on Instagram and her name is Alex. I thought she was probably the best instructor in the room. She had a bright bubbly smile on her face and I kept noticing her correct people but also praise them if they had good form. Thanks for the compliment on my deadlift and burpees girl!
As I stated earlier, I decided to take this class based on the instructor but I did not know there would be 4 other instructors in the class. I really did not interact with Jenna because she didn’t come up to my sister and I. I thought she did a good job of keeping the room flowing and her energy was good, but I definitely would have like to have seen more encouraging gestures or words. I know that I can push myself but I feel as though in a group setting if there is an instructor on the mic speaking to a group of people at once, that they should use motivating cues to give everyone that extra push. It’s like when you order a cup of hot coffee on a freezing day and it’s just luke-warm. Yes you can drink it, but wouldn’t it taste better if it were hot and toasty?! Especially when it was our last couple of stations! I remember being on station 18 and seeing that I had 5 more stations to go (there were 23 in total) but then we stopped at 20! I am not sure if this is always the case or if it was because there were a lot of groups in the class (46 clients total). I was okay with stopping since the hour was up, and I was a sweaty mess at that point, but I just would have appreciated the heads up.
At the end of class Jenna did a quick stretch and everyone headed out! All of the instructors hung out by the door saying their goodbyes and gave out high 5’s again. Alex was really sweet and told me that I did an awesome job! This made me feel like I was noticed and it made me feel positive about myself!
As we left the class the locker room and lobby were super crowded again for the next class! I noticed the age range of people in this class was anywhere from 20-40.
Something that I really thought was unique about Switch Playground was that they offered a post workout shake. I have never seen another studio offer something like this. I did not try it but I really appreciated how macro-friendly it was!
Pricing of the signature Switch Playground Class
I was thrilled to find on the website that they were offering a special for new clients to celebrate 2019! The class was $19! Now that is a price of a class you can’t even find in Jersey! Hop on this deal while you can! Who knows when this will expire.
5 cups of Jo from me!
1 class: $35
5 classes: $130 ($30 per class) expires in 6 months
10 classes: $275 ($27.50 per class) expires in 6 months
20 classes: $520 ($26 per class) expires in 6 months
Month to month: $300 *auto renewal*
I’ve seen packs of classes in New York City from $30-$40 higher than this but I do think the month to month is a little pricey! But that is also why Class Pass is so great if you live in NYC.
Overall: 4 cups of Jo from me!
Will I hit the Playground again?
I will definitely be back at the playground again. I will probably switch it up and try the SoHo location or the same location with Steve Uria. Maybe I will just check try to coordinate my schedule with when he is teaching and go then! Oh and of course sign up ahead of time 😉
I think this workout is really for anyone. You could go with your mom/dad, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, co-worker etc. I think it is just one of those workouts that is more on the fun side of things that does not need to be taken so seriously which is one of the reasons why I liked it. I definitely got a great workout in and it was a full hour which I loved. Sometimes you just want to sweat and get the blood flowing and this is that type of workout. If I lived closer I think I would do this class about once or twice a week. One of the reasons is because the constant switching really gets your heart rate up and I would use this as my cardio only days. Secondly, because it just took my mind off of everything that was going on outside in the real world. It’s like when you’re a kid on a playground, nothing matters but right then and right now. That is how I felt during the workout. I know some readers may think that you aren’t really focusing on one body part since you are at the stations for such a short period of time but that is not what this workout is designed to do. If you go heavy on certain exercises you will certainly feel the burn. Lets face it, YOU have to work the workout. You are capable of making any workout as challenging or as easy as you want it to be. If you like to hit all body parts in one class and like to have fun while working out, then Switch Playground is the right match for you! I felt how Uria wants his clients to feel when done with class—better than before I started!
AND OF COURSE NOTHING GOES BETTER WITH A COOKIE THAN #ACupOfJo
Until next time….