This class is dumb, you think. Lady Gaga’s “Do What U Want” fills your ears as 15 women and two other dudes attempt one-legged mini squats at modelFIT, a boutique fitness studio in New York that recently opened an outlet on West 3rd Street (next door to Sweetgreen—bonus). The instructor walks around, tweaking students’ postures. (“Bend at the hips, send your butt back.”) He pulls you forward half an inch; unfamiliar muscle groups activate, you quiver like a human Shake Weight, and you admit: Not so dumb after all.
ModelFIT, whose name does double duty—it’s both the new model of fitness, per 32-year-old owner Vanessa Packer (above), as well as a fitness regimen that real models are fond of—lacks the primordial intensity of a workout like CrossFit. But the staff ’s dedication to precision and form (“mindful movement,” as Packer refers to it) provides an edge. Each instructor is Gray Institute certified, meaning they’ve learned the tenets of Applied Functional Science. Some workouts use resistance bands and ankle weights to improve the stability of everyone from athletes to average Joes (mostly Josephines, though). A $425-per-month membership grants you access to any class—dance cardio, sculpt, cardio sculpt—but there are à la carte sessions, too ($32).
The regulars are crushing this particular sculpt class. You side-eye the girl on your left—Wait, is that Karlie Kloss?—as she moves gracefully into and out of a lunge. You overhear two acolytes speaking reverently about Packer, making her sound like a guru. “She thinks even the subtlest adjustments can make you feel the most dramatic change,” says one. “When they fix your posture, nothing seems more impossible,” the second replies. “Amen!” you almost yell, wondering, Is this how cults get you?