Need to Know: Oxygen Fitness, New Canaan
About three years ago, three business savvy New Canaanites (who take their own fitness very seriously) – Dave & Sara Koch & Rich Fedeli, saw an opportunity to bring something to New Canaan that was missing. They were traveling to Darien, Stamford and Norwalk for their boutique workouts. They were going to Cross Fit at one gym, cycling at another and yoga somewhere else. Why not eliminate the need for multiple destinations and open a ’boutique’ of boutique fitness, right in their own hometown?
After 8 months of construction, the three story, 10,000 square foot Oxygen Fitness opened across from the New Canaan train station in May, 2013.
It is clear that no detail was forgotten and no expense was spared in the facility itself. Honestly, I felt like I was on vacation and at a luxury spa (without the massages and facials which is possible in the future). On the main floor is the concierge, juice & smoothie bar (their ‘Just Greens’ is the best green juice I’ve ever had), child care, cycling and multi-purpose group fitness studio plus some weights and personal training space. Oxygen offers about 72 classes per week and multiple classes simultaneously (starting at 5:15am!) so you can choose between cycling, Barre, TRX, bootcamp, boxing, Zumba, cardio sculpt and yoga classes, to name a few. Oxygen also offers a slew of after school youth classes (full schedule here). Within minutes the multi-purpose studio is transformed into a boxing gym, then it can turn into a TRX class.
Downstairs you’ll find the zen-like yoga/Barre studio, more weights and the immaculate locker rooms. The showers are loaded with Fresh™ products and the towels are heated for you when you step out of the rain showers. Salon Tech™ blow dryers, straightening irons and every product you may need are available. Up on the third floor is the cardio equipment: treadmills, Stairmasters™, Jacob’s Ladder™ and elliptical machines.
Oxygen is way more than just a pretty gym. One might initially think that the quality of instructors in a ‘gym’ setting may be lesser than that in a stand alone boutique but this is definitely not the case. Each instructor I experienced (and feedback from current Oxygen members is consistent with my experience) was tough (tough = awesome in my book!) but knowledgeable and enthusiastic, friendly, motivating and accommodating. Oxygen has clearly succeeded in finding top instructors.
Donovan Green (personal trainer to Dr. Oz) teaches a popular boot camp class that packed in about 30 participants on a holiday weekend. Charismatic and on his game, he is clearly loved by all (I liked him immediately – and not just because he gave me a pre-class photography lesson). His class combined interval drills (think rounds of decline pushups, TRX squat jumps, BOSU burpees, etc.) with partner work and ended with endurance and mobility and functional training. The workout was well rounded and innovative, yet nothing too heavy (mostly body weight work).
The cycling studio holds 30 bicycles (which can be reserved in advance). The bikes are top of the line – with digital RPM and calorie calculators. Megan’s cycling classes are calorie torching yet fun and interesting. You never know what to expect next so you do not focus on elapsed time. She keeps you on your toes – I didn’t know what hit me but at the end of her class I was drenched and completely wiped but didn’t want it to end because class was so fun (does that make sense?). Her bootcamp was the same. So many squats, pushups, planks but you somehow forgot that you were being tortured and just wanted to be in her company.
I was very impressed with their Vinyasa yoga class. Instructor Jennifer Buckman was mindful and her readings were meaningful and thoughtful. The workout was challenging and she never skipped a beat. This was definitely not your typical gym yoga class. It’s tough and tailored to devoted yogis with regular practice. Again, Oxygen’s instructors all have years of experience and rank in the top of their field. (I have to note here that outside the yoga studio is a bin for ‘dirty mats’ which are cleaned after each use and clean, dry mats are available as you walk in – it’s these little things that I noticed that add up to make Oxygen more luxurious!)
Oxygen offers monthly, weekly and daily memberships without initiation fees. Upon joining (monthly) members are assigned a ‘fitness concierge’ where you have a one-on-one relationship with an Oxygen trainer who will tailor a personalized program just for them. (I overheard a member talking about a text message to her trainer she had sent at 5am about whether or not she should eat something specific – they are there for you!).
What further impressed me was the way that Oxygen has created a close knit family between the members and the staff of trainers and partners. The environment is not pretentious; instead Oxygen has a neighborhood familiarity to it. The owners are approachable, present and hands on; I saw Sara participate in many of the classes I took and then was back to work in the Oxygen office.
I’ve now been to Oxygen on several different occasions and I cannot be more impressed. Without a doubt, Oxygen has achieved their mission – to provide boutique style fitness classes with top instructors in a clean, organic and beautiful gym setting.
22 Pine Street, New Canaan