It’s 7:15 on Wednesday night in the Flatiron District, and Tracey McQuade is dressed in a leotard and sneakers while clutching a glass of red wine. Having just finished a grueling workout of squats, lunges and push-ups, the 31-year-old is now ready to retox.
“It’s awesome because of the whole saint-and-sinner thing — you work hard, you play hard,” says the Chelsea-based yoga instructor and writer, with sleek brown hair pulled back to reveal diamond earrings. “It’s really important to have balance.”
Welcome to the “wet workout” — a new concept started by the three female co-owners of Uplift, a fitness studio that officially opened Sunday. After nearly a year of hosting pop-up fitness classes all over the city that were followed by trips to nearby cocktail lounges, the women have launched this, the first workout space in NYC with its own bar.
Every Wednesday, women can sweat it out in a $40 cardio and strength-training class — all set to the pulsating rhythms of pop stars like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga — then indulge in all-you-can-drink red and white wine or, on some nights, whiskey. Healthy snacks of nuts, berries and raw veggies with dip are also provided. There are plenty of sober sessions, too, including 30-minute midday “express” classes with names like “Gams and Guns” and “Whittle Your Middle.”
The sunny second-floor mini-mecca, equipped with free WiFi, treadmills and weight benches, is decidedly female-friendly: No men are allowed. The shower area, lined with metal lockers, even has a primping station with essentials like dry shampoo and curling irons.
“Working out and socializing are two of the main ways women improve their lives,” says co-founder Helena Wolin, a perky redhead who ditched her job as a corporate lawyer to start Uplift. “People have never really put those two things together in the way we’re doing.”
But experts argue that post-workout tippling could negate all that hard work.
“Wine is certainly better for women than beer,” says nutritionist Esther Blum, author of the forthcoming “Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project,” “but the problem is that when you drink alcohol, your body is going to put all metabolic processes on hold until it metabolizes all the alcohol.”
But Wolin, Shear and co-founder Katie Currie, an ex-corporate events planner, shrug off medical criticism and point to other benefits.
The wet-workout idea came to them last year, when a downpour broke up their yoga class in Central Park. “Instead of everyone running in their own direction, we said, ‘Come on, guys,’ and went to the first bar we could find outside Central Park and said, ‘The first round’s on us,’ ” says Wolin. “We said, ‘Oh well, we tried to be healthy — now we’re going to socialize.’ And we wound up staying for hours.”
Soon, their “Raise the Bar” pop-up series — outdoor classes offering bevvies right after your barbells — was born.
It proved so popular, the trio opened Uplift on 23rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where fitness fanatics should find it easy to make friends.
“If I were to go to a bar, go up to another girl and say, ‘Hey, how are you, be my friend,’ you’d look at me like I’m crazy,” says Internet marketer Emi Melker after last week’s session. “It’s especially good for younger women who are new to the city.”
But do women want to booze after busting their behinds? “Some people won’t understand and say it’s counterintuitive,” Wolin concedes. “But really, you’re probably going to have that drink anyway.”
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