A Class at CLAY Health Club & Spa

A Class at CLAY Health Club & Spa

(Courtesy CLAY Health Club & Spa)

Last week, I took a class at CLAY Health Club & Spa, a private gym with a capped membership that offers concierge, spa and nutrition services along with an extensive list of fitness classes and plenty of workout equipment. With a membership cap of 1500 and 15,000 square feet of space, CLAY prides itself on providing a calm and quiet atmosphere for exercise, small class sizes and no lines for machines.

Natural light pours into the space from the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto 14th Street, but CLAY is blocked from the bustle of downtown Manhattan by trees, which helps with privacy and limits distractions. The feel of the space is sleek and minimal. It’s very open with a few cozier spots for resting: in front of a fireplace, in the roof deck’s cabanas and in the member lounge. The lounge is also the only room in which cell phones are allowed, so CLAY is refreshingly quiet compared to many gyms that blast Top 40 tunes. The few artworks on the walls are contemporary pieces from local gallery Cheryl Hazan that go with the overall aesthetic.

CLAY offers over 50 classes per week, ranging from standards like spinning and yoga to more unique options, like TRED™, an interval treadmill workout. I took a bodyBARRE class with Keisa Parrish, a tough, but helpful and enthusiastic instructor who explained that she alters her exercises to accommodate arthritic knees. Parrish’s class isn’t your typical barre method class: she incorporates Pilates, yoga poses and ballet stretches with light weightlifting to strengthen your entire body. During the class I took, she used the analogy of fitting into skinny jeans to encourage us to keep our cores tight. Though I struggled through many of the exercises, I left the class feeling energized and not too sore.

(Courtesy CLAY Health Club & Spa)

Before class, I tried a smoothie from CLAY’s café: the Rise & Shine, a combination of mango, orange and wheatgrass. I also opted to add whey protein, as the menu suggested, for a creamsicle effect. The green color from the wheatgrass may through you off, but I can assure you: this smoothie really does taste like orange juice and ice cream. The café also offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with many gluten free and vegetarian options.

One of the best things about CLAY is their roof deck. Private outdoor space is hard to come by in Manhattan, so members can get their fix hanging out on the deck before or after a workout. You can even order food delivered from the café downstairs on phones in the rooftop cabanas. CLAY even offers a sunrise yoga class on the roof during the warmer months. 

Other services include a full list of spa treatments from 30-minute facials to 90-minute massages as well as a nutritionist to help you rethink your diet, exercise regimen and lifestyle. CLAY also offers concierge services through Abigail Michaels, so you can quickly arrange dinner or a show after your workout. 

Because of the capped membership, there’s a sense of community among those who belong to the health club. Each month, CLAY throws a party for its members to mingle. Plus, the small class sizes make it easy to befriend the person next to you. Looking to join this exclusive community? Non-members can experience a day at CLAY with a complimentary day pass. 

CLAY opened its New York City location in 2002 and this year will open a second outpost in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Greenwich location will offer a similar layout and design to the NYC gym, but on a larger scale. Plus, the new gym will offer valet parking, food from Maison Privé in the café and both golf and sailing training. For more information about both CLAY locations, visit insideclay.com.

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