“This is going to be a party, may as well get to know each other,” our petite instructor shouts out while us students all shake hands. The live DJ in the corner blasts Shakira from the speakers while we all start jumping up and down and waving our arms.
It’s 11:45 in the morning on a Saturday, and I’m trying out ((305)) Fitness, the aerobics dance class inspired by the Miami club scene (thus 305, for the city’s area code). The firecracker instructor is the 23-year-old Sadie Kurzban, the founder and inventor of the high-energy work out.
“I was never a dancer,” Kurzban tells me after class at a nearby cafe. “The first time I took a cardio dance class in my hometown of Miami, it changed everything. Instead of being on the treadmill and counting calories, I was focusing on how my body was moving and the people around me.”
That vibe inspired Kurzban to start a similar class at her alma mater, Brown University. Soon, hundreds of students of all different sizes, backgrounds, and endurance levels were coming to the club-inspired fitness class. “At Brown, it’s very intellectual and no one works out. It’s actually very uncool to work out,” she laughs.
“But this was a community and it was so much fun. I was able to help people feel good about their bodies in this fun setting.”
Inspired to start her own fitness business, Kurzban stopped taking classes on feminism and English and began to enroll in business and accounting courses. She even majored in Econ, much to her own surprise.
Then it was the moment of truth: Every year, Brown University has an Entrepreneurship Competition where the student with the best business plan can win funds to start his or her own venture.
“50 people enter this competition. 49 of them are guys with medical, science, and tech-based plans. And then I’m up there saying that I’m going to start this fitness thing in New York City,” Kurzban tells me.
But after working long hours to make a unique and solid business proposal, she won the competition — and the prize money. Kurzban took her winnings, moved to New York City, and started doing one ((305)) Fitness class once a week in October 2012.
Not long after, it had exploded.
And it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. The ((305)) classes are high intensity, high energy, and highly motivating. There’s a warm up with dance choreography, a toning section, dance sprints, and a cool down. Inspired by interval training, the dance moves work your arms, legs, and abs the entire time.
But it doesn’t feel like interval training. Though ((305)) isn’t easy by any means — Kurzban doesn’t want students to plateau with her workout like they might with Zumba — it feels more like you’re in a club than at an aerobics class. Girls in spandex shimmy, shake, and strut in front of the studio mirror as Kurzban spins around the room whooping it up. Neon lights and loud speakers don’t hurt the ambiance, either.
Obviously, the class isn’t for everyone. “Most of my clients, I would say, are in their late 20s,” Kurzban says. “We don’t get a lot of mommies.”
It’s a lot of jumping, turning, and squatting, so if you have sore joints or bad knees, this is probably not the fitness class for you.
But if you’re in an exercise rut or just want to tone up while shaking (and sweating) to everything from Pitbull to Daft Punk, then welcome to ((305)).
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