We’re doing things a little backwards this week. Rather than introducing you to AQUA Studiothrough a journal, we’re speaking with owner of this revolutionary Tribeca studio, Esther Gauthier. And before you say anything ho-hum, know that this place isn’t your run of the mill cycling studio. There’s no out of breath exertion. It’s ideal for joint inflammation, and it rids and prevents cellulite! Luckily for me, I get to call this place my fitness mecca for April.

Last week we sat down with Esther to talk concept, trainers and so much more. P.S. Stay tuned for part 2 where you find out what “so much more” exactly is.

I’ve heard that the resistance from the water doesn’t cause inflammation to knees.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s definitely one of the benefits to cycle in the water as there is zero impact. That’s where it comes from originally. There was a physical therapist treating knee injuries for athletes, because for athletes, whatever they do is very intense on their bodies. So very often they train and rehabilitate in the water. He got the idea to put a bike in the water as two things that are really good are cycling and swimming. So combining the two is this really, really great rehabilitation training. It’s interesting because that’s what I love about it. It’s taking something that’s almost therapeutic and medicinal, and its making you feel better in an entertaining group activity. Time flies by. You have an instructor and there’s music. but at the same time you’re doing something really good for your body.

You only have women and men classes, no co-ed?
No, not yet. The reason is simply because we don’t have a second changing room. It’s as simple as that. We couldn’t open co-ed classes, so I just decided to do women only at first, to simplify. Then we had a lot of men inquiring, so we started a few men classes. But we only two, right now, per week for them and they’re definitely asking for more. We’ll see what we do.MG_4753

How did you get involved?
I started all of this. I’m French and have lived in New York for eight years. On a trip to Paris, I took a class – they call it aqua biking – and I never heard of it. Like really, never. It’s very surprising because New York is the place where all the fitness concepts start. So was surprised when I found out about a new concept somewhere else. Anyway, I was really amazed by it. I thought it was the greatest idea. I loved my class. I love the water myself – I love swimming, and when I moved to New York, it was really difficult to find a place that was clean, and I felt comfortable going for swimming. I thought it was great idea to get all the benefits of water, without the inconvenience. Because, also, when you go swimming your hair gets soaked. It’s just a different process. Me, I like to bring my flippers. So you need to carry everything. And here I just thought it was so easy because your head is never under water. You just need a swimsuit that you put in your bag, it takes no room. Then you can decide later if you’re going to take a class or not. It’s 45 minutes. The water temperature keeps your body cooler, so you don’t overheat. You know there are fitness classes that you go, and it takes you a good hour to recover, so you can’t jump to a meeting afterward. This you can. It’s very refreshing.

When did you start?
Well, I literally decided, at that moment I was going to do the same thing in New York. I was staying at my parents, I was visiting them, and over dinner I was explaining to them how I was going to open an aqua cycling studio in New York City. It took me two years, because it’s a lot of work and big project to build. But yeah, we opened last year. We’re actually celebrating our one year anniversary this month.

Aww, congratulations!
Thank you! One of my instructors, Natalie, who is fantastic, brought the balloons in front on Wednesday. It was so sweet.

Tell me how you sourced the trainers.
It was not easy because we saw no one was trained to do aqua cycling in New York, because it didn’t exist. However, I thought the most important thing was the personality. And I wanted to see when I met them the sparkle in their eyes, the same way I felt when I heard about aqua cycling. They also come from really different backgrounds. Some are triathletes. Some are yoga instructors. Some others indoor cycling instructors, nutritionists, and health coaches. They’re all really amazing and they all bring their own knowledge, skill and personality. So to resolve the problem of training, we actually built an in-house training to learn how to be an aqua cycling instructor.