Workout puts the focus on fun

There’s a new wave of fitness mavens in town, and they’re not necessarily what you’d expect. From a Spanish acupuncturist (JumpLife fitness founder Montserrat Markou) to two ex-financiers (Throwback Fitness founders Brian Gallagher and Ryan Wilke), fitness is the newest playing field for fresh and out-of-the-box minds.

One of the newest faces on the block is a petite college grad with energy to burn. She’s on a mission to change the way New Yorkers look at sweating. Oh, and she’s only 23.

Meet Sadie Kuzban and 305 Fitness. What’s so revolutionary about the brainchild of this Brown University alum? It’s a workout class aimed at taking the focus off punishing yourself, burning calories and changing your figure, and putting it on enjoying yourself.

305 Fitness, along with some other up-and-coming workouts and studios around the city, is proving that working out is about more than just burning calories.

It’s a cultural movement based on fun, and who knows more about fun than New Yorkers?

Growing up in image-conscious Miami, Kurzban was all too familiar with the negative aspects of gym culture, and desperately wanted to change that.

“The gym experience there is really about burning calories and looking a certain way,” she says. “And I did that for many years. … It was really important for me to get on the treadmill, get on the elliptical and burn a certain amount of calories, and it felt really isolating. It felt like I was not appreciating my body in any way and really was just trying to change my body.”

Her solution was to get back to basics, and make the gym not so gymlike. Kurzban says she’s “always liked to go out and dance and have fun. I was out [one night in Miami] with my best friend, and we were drenched in sweat … and we looked around and we saw this really fun environment, and we thought ? maybe we could start something like this.”

Within just a few weeks of starting, Kuzban’s Brown University campus classes were packed, and in her senior year, she won the university’s coveted entrepreneurship competition. Using her $75,000 winnings, the fitness guru moved to New York in 2012 and opened her first studio in the back room of a dance school in the Flatiron District.

Whether you’re a good dancer or not, you’ll forget you’re “working out” as you dance to the latest club hits. Throw in a few hidden calisthenics like squats and lunges masked by jazz hands, and your legs will certainly be sore in the morning.