ST instructor launches fitness class at Otto’s

Tim Haft leads a MoshFit class at Otto’s Shrunken Head’s concert space. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Tim Haft leads a MoshFit class at Otto’s Shrunken Head’s concert space. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Personal trainer Tim Haft has come up with a solution for New Yorkers who are already dreading the drudgery of the gym memberships from their New Year’s resolutions with a new class called MoshFit.

Haft is no stranger to unconventional fitness classes (or the use of puns for creative class names) as the founder of Punk Rope, which is held at the 14th Street Y every Monday. But MoshFit takes the casual nature of Punk Rope, which he describes as a “throwback to recess,” and puts it in the back room of Otto’s Shrunken Head, one of the last tiki bars in the East Village and in a space that is normally used for concerts.

And in case you forgot you were exercising in a bar, Haft said that MoshFitters can reward themselves afterwards at happy hour, with $4 draft beers.

“You don’t usually see a fitness class in a bar,” Haft admitted, “but I know the space and I know the crowd. It’s very rock and roll but it’s also the East Village so I thought that could work.”

Aside from the location, the class itself will also have a “rock and roll” feel, since the music playing will be less like the top-40 tracks normally found at a gym and more punk rock, ska, metal and other related genres. The workout itself will combine creative and traditional calisthenics, as well as partner and group conditioning drills designed to improve stamina, agility, balance and strength.

Haft isn’t worried about having enough room for all the people who want to participate, because he noted that about 50 people were able to fit into the back room for a previous event. But if it does become a tight squeeze, he wouldn’t mind that so much.

“If it becomes a huge hit, then that’s a nice problem to have,” he said.

The first class was held last Tuesday and being so close to Valentine’s Day, the theme was love, with the playlist for the evening featuring songs like Tainted Love and I Want Candy, as well as other music from Green Day to The Beatles. The class will be taking place every Tuesday from 6:15 to 7 p.m. with a different theme every week, and Haft said that the theme essentially determines what the playlist is like. There is a $12 suggested donation but it is pay-what-you-wish.

Haft leading MoshFit this past Tuesday (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Haft leading MoshFit this past Tuesday (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Haft said that he prefers group classes to one-on-one personal training because it’s a different kind of workout that relies more on participants supporting each other. In creating MoshFit, he wanted to do something playful and community-based.

“Being in New York, we’re in our own little bubble so here we get to interact with people we might not otherwise get to know,” Haft said. “That’s kind of what led me into Punk Rope. I wanted to create a class that was social and community oriented and there wasn’t much out there like that. It’s almost isolated and there’s a microcosm and that’s fine, but I was looking for something different.”

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