The City's Most Supportive Workout Crew Meets in a Nightclub

 Lillian So and DJ Bluz. Photo: SoFit

Lillian So and DJ Bluz. Photo: SoFit

Looking at Lillian So's lengthy list of fitness accreditations and gold stars, it's clear that she has a ton of experience as a trainer. (Over 15 years in the fitness and wellness industry, if you want to jump into the numbers.) But Lillian's classes aren't like the group sweat sessions you'll find at your average gym. She's been there, done that, burned out, and traded it all in for a community-driven approach to fitness she calls SOfit.

The first difference: So is a music junkie, and she's not queueing up the Top 40 hits you hear in your Spin class. Instead, her friend DJ Bluz is controlling the mood with hardcore club-kid footwork, future bass, and hiphop. Second, So's sessions are never planned or rehearsed, so no two classes are the same. Third, SOfit meets in a nightclub—lights and all.

 Photo: SoFit

Photo: SoFit

Yes, there are some other fitness classes in the city that meet in empty nightclubs, but after trying those and trying So's class at Temple Nightclub, I'm ready to declare SOfit the winner. Instructors at the other nightclub classes are fine, but the lighting and video graphics at Temple (540 Howard Street) actually deliver on the promise of taking a fitness class in a club. 

While music and ambiance are critical pieces of the puzzle, Lillian would tell you that it's the bonds between her clients that define the SOfit experience. That's not just lip service. 

When Lillian reached out to tell me about her workout program, she emphasized that her classes are about improving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. None of those, according to Lillian, can live in a vacuum. She also touted the SOfit community, a group of regulars who actually know what's happening in each other's lives."Community" may be a buzzword in the fitness industry, but SOfit actually gets it right.

When I dropped into the Wednesday SOfierce class, several members introduced themselves. I was feeling self-conscious at the time because I had come from another event with plans to change into my workout clothes in the restroom. After arriving, I realized that I had left my sports bra at home, and I only had a strapless bra with me. 

 Lillian So at Temple

Lillian So at Temple

Normally, I WOULD NOT exercise without a sports bra. But on this occasion, already half-naked in the bathroom, I resigned myself to the fact that I would likely suffer multiple nip slips in a neon-lit room of friendly strangers. During pre-class convos, however, I met a regular who (1) had the good sense to carry an extra sports bra in her bag, and (2) wasn't squeamish about lending it me. 

Bra-sharing aside, support is a theme through SOfit, thanks to the sharing circles that start and finish class. (When I attended, Lillian kicked off the session with a brief meditation on boundaries, and each person shared a brief example of where they needed to establish boundaries.) Week to week, members are encouraging each other in their life goals. Fitness may bring the group together, but the bonds formed under the black lights keep people coming back.

Was SOfierce the hardest workout I've ever tried? No, but it certainly wasn't the easiest. For folks who need help establishing a routine—or who hate working out without a friend—SOfit is a fun fitness community where you can get a great workout.

SOfit offers one class a day, five days a week: Monday and Wednesday at 6:45pm, Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30pm, and Friday at 7 am. Download the app to book the new member special: one month of unlimited classes for $49.

fitnessRobyn CainSoFit