Recently a new studio, Burnin’ by Ray, the Ungym, opened 5 minutes away from where I live and I couldn’t wait to give it a try.  In a sea of too many yoga and cycling studios in Boston, I was excited for something new and different to open up. Keep reading to see why Burnin’ by Ray is different than other fitness studios in the Boston area and exactly what to expect if you want to take a class there.

The Workout

The workout is literally 56 minutes of non-stop, HARD work. The room is divided in half down the middle with cardio machines on one side, and dumbbells on the other. What I really liked about this workout was that it is a low-impact, but super high intensity.  All of the cardio machines are motor-less, so your bodyweight controls the intensity of the exercise.  This is great not only because it is forgiving on your joints, but also because the machines are adaptable for all levels.  The five types of cardio machines are the Ski Erg, Versaclimber, Jacobs Ladder, Assault Air Bike and the True Form Runner.  There were 14 “Blocks” throughout class.  1 Block was a mobility warm-up, 12 blocks were the actual working section, and the last block was cool-down.  Each block is 4 minutes long.  You do a cardio machine for 40 seconds, and then you have 20 seconds to head to the weight section across from you where you will do a strength exercise for 40 seconds.  You repeat each exercise twice before moving on.  There are multiple TVs on the wall showing you what strength move you are doing (everyone does the same strength moves at the same time), so if you are unsure of form it is nice to look up and see an example in front of you.

Each day there is a different category for what body part you will focus on for the strength section.  The class I did was “Legs and Glutes”, so 10 of the working blocks were focused on lower body exercises and 2 of the working blocks were for core at the very end.  The other two days are “Arms and Shoulders” and “Chest and Back”. I want to give those a try for sure next time.  Ray briefly explained the workout and the concept before class and he said that they repeat the same strength workouts for the month so that you can track your progress, and then all the strength exercises change the following month.

Location and Vibe

Located by the Seaport Hotel, Burnin’ by Ray is just slightly away from the super busy part of the Seaport.  This was a good thing because I was able to easily find meter parking, and the meters cost less than they do in the Seaport Center!  The studio is located just past Blo (blowdry bar) on the left hand side.  The studio itself was super clean and had a clubby, hip vibe.  There was juice bar that looks like it is not up and running yet, but it will definitely be nice when it is.  I actually did not go into the locker rooms so I can not tell you what was in there!

Pros

First class is free.  I think this was a great perk and an awesome way to get people in the door.  Boston has a ton of already established fitness studios, so I’m sure being the new kid in town isn’t always easy when opening up a new fitness studio.  The free class definitely got me in the door and I would happily pay to come back after having a positive experience.

The class flew by.  From the second you walk in the door the clock starts and it is game time.  You do get 20 seconds of rest between exercises, but since you are moving back and forth from the cardio machines to the weights in that short amount of time, it hardly feels like rest at all.  I was so surprised when we made it to our final 2 blocks because I couldn’t believe that almost an hour had passed already.  I definitely was not bored and enjoyed that I was working so hard that I didn’t even realize how fast the time went.

I got my butt kicked.  Like I said in the beginning of this post, the workout was non-stop.  When I first came in I left my water bottle and towel on one side of the room and I didn’t get it the entire class because I didn’t want to miss out on any of the intervals!  The motor-less cardio machines were definitely the most challenging, especially the True Form Runner.  If you have ever done Barry’s Bootcamp, think of it like doing dynamic mode for 40 seconds without holding on.  Killer!

It was fun. I went with two of my friends, and even though we hardly interacted the whole class, it was still fun working out beside them.  The music was good and upbeat, which can always make or break a class.

Cons

The warm-up and cool-down were a little skimpy.  The warm-up consisted of 40 seconds on a cardio machine, 20 seconds rest, 40 seconds of a pigeon pose, and then repeat the cardio and do the pigeon on the other side.  After the one warm-up block, the actual workout began and the intensity was ramped up.  Considering it was Leg and Glutes day, I definitely would have appreciated a few more dynamic stretches to get my body ready.  The very last block we did 40 seconds of cardio, 20 seconds of rest, 40 seconds of foam rolling our quad, and then repeat the cardio and foam roll the other quad.  It would have made much more sense to skip the cardio since it was time to cool-down and just focus on the foam rolling. I heard some people say after class that they felt like their back was going to be hurting the next day and I agree.

I was not sure how to properly use some of the cardio machines.  Ray texted us and asked us to come 15 minutes before class so we did, but we ended up just standing around until 2 minutes before class when he came over to give us a brief intro of the class and the machines. It was literally 6:28pm when he showed us the machines and the class started at 6:30pm so it was very rushed.  Then the teacher came in, told us to pick a cardio machine and the class started right on the dot.  My friends and I had never used any of the motor-less cardio machines before so even though a couple of them were easy to get the hang of, we definitely questioned if our form was right on the Ski Erg, Jacobs Ladder, and the Versaclimber.

The class is almost a little too fast paced at times.  Even though I loved that the class moved quickly, I also thought that form was compromised sometimes.  I saw a lot of people with incorrect form during the lunges (which were in 4 of the 12 blocks) and I never saw the teacher correct anyone.  I am not sure if it was because the intervals go by so fast that she didn’t really have much time to spend on people individually or if she just wasn’t paying attention, but considering everything is on the tv she doesn’t have much instructing to actually do, so checking form would have been appreciated.

Variety of exercises. I think that the strength exercises could have had more variety. We did 4 blocks of lunges (2 blocks of low squat to reverse lunge and 2 blocks of stationary lunges), 4 blocks of bridges (1 block of marching bridges, 2 blocks of single leg bridges, and 1 block of bridges stepping our feet in and out), 2 blocks of deadlifts, 2 blocks of abs (same exercise 2x on each side).  The four blocks of bridges could definitely have been replaced with something more challenging and creative.  It would have been nice if more lateral movements, like side lunges, were taught and even a balance exercise to make the moves less basic.

Final Verdict

Even though there were a couple of small things that I thought could have improved my overall experience, I definitely enjoyed my workout and will 100% be back.  It was super fun trying something new and I left feeling challenged but accomplished.  I think that Burnin’ by Ray brings something different to Boston and I appreciate that it is a concept unlike anything else around here.  The motor-less cardio and emphasis on low-impact but high-intensity is really phenomenal and I wish that there were more studios out there that showed people that getting a good workout doesn’t mean you have to destroy your body!

Side Notes

Burnin by Ray also offers personal training, nutrition consults, Bod Pod assessments, and Diagnostic screenings. Check out their website to learn more about these offerings as well as pricing.

Get in touch

Location: 157 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Phone: 857.350.4317

Email: [email protected]

Click here for Burnin by Ray’s website