Boylston Street Club Crawl: 10 Classes, 2 Weeks, 1 Health Editor

Intrepid health editor Melissa Malamut embarked on a two-week fitness odyssey, sweating and pumping her way down the gym-packed one-mile stretch of Boylston Street between the Public Garden and Mass. Ave. Ten classes later, she gave us the skinny.

health club crawl

Illustration by Jason Raish

10 a.m. Saturday
Open Level at Back Bay Yoga

Everyone is here. Seriously, there’s less than an inch between mats. The flow features plenty of core work, plus two live musicians and a singer who just flew in from Bali. Thankfully, they take my mind off the tight buns directly in front of my face.

90 minutes, $15,

4:15 p.m. Tuesday
“Core Fusion Barre” at Exhale Back Bay

Thirteen toned women of all ages sidle up to the barre at this health club and spa just off Boylston, and I wonder whether a model casting call just let out. After tucks, squeezes, and pliés in this core-building, ballet-inspired class, it takes all my willpower not to shuffle my jellylike legs straight into one of the cushy massage rooms just down the hall.

55 minutes, $25,

5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Private Session at Gyrotonic Boston Central

Master instructor/owner Lisa Pari takes a hands-on approach as I perform physical-therapy-esque exercises such as ab-engaging “C” curves and arm circles on the “Pulley Tower.” I exit feeling limber and totally high on endorphins. Bonus: After just one session, my persistent right-shoulder pain all but disappears.

60 minutes, $100,

6:30 p.m. Thursday
Zumba at Boston Sports Club

Adam Bokunewicz’s reputation attracts the Lycra-clad masses. His typical Zumba shakedown features easy-to-follow Latin dance moves with a hip-hop twist. In spite of its big-box milieu, the class felt intimate thanks to this seasoned, cult-inspiring instructor.

55 minutes, membership prices vary,

7 p.m. Friday
“Pilates Mat” at OMBE Integrative Health Center

In an exposed-brick studio overlooking Trinity Church, fit moms talk about their kids while others nod along. The straightforward Pilates mat class focuses on form, which left my lower abs crying (or singing?) the next day.

60 minutes, $25,

9 a.m. Sunday
Bikram at Bikram Yoga Boston

The hot, carpeted studio—oh, the sordid tales these rugs could tell!— is stuffed with near-naked men and women. Bikram runs through the same 26 postures every time, so while it’s easy to evaluate your progress, the repetition can get tedious. That said, I’m convinced I lost half my body weight in sweat.

90 minutes, $22,

6:30 p.m. Tuesday
“Fly 45” at Flywheel Sports

Young professionals and a few pro-cycling types converge in this somewhat sterile, sparse space. The hills and sprints are set to pumping music, and there are weighted bars to exercise the upper body, too. When a large screen started flashing participants’ names and stats, my competitive nature sent me into overdrive.

45 minutes, $28,

5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Kickboxing at Boston Kung Fu Tai Chi Institute

The kickboxing/kung fu/yoga hybrid is heavy on technique, and cofounder and instructor Yao Li (who counts Gisele Bündchen among his students) inspires my inner Bruce Lee.

90 minutes, $15,

6:30 p.m. Thursday
“Synergistics Fitness Method” at Life in Synergy

Ten women of varying shapes and sizes stretch in a small, mirrored front room with views of the Pru. The low-impact proprietary workout—which aims to align and tone with weighted balls and resistance bands—didn’t burn many calories, but it did open up my tight hip flexors.

60 minutes, $20,

10:30 a.m. Friday
Pilates Equipment at Pilates Back Bay

Two cancellations turn the small class into a private session with sinewy owner Kachina Fredricks (has she ever eaten a carb?). The full-body workout using reformers—picture a coffee table with a bondage fetish—focuses on lean muscle-building. I leave lengthened, stretched, and wanting more.

55 minutes, $40,