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Paris vs NYC: fitness

While she moved back to Paris last winter, she frequents New York City. “I don’t think I can ever let go of New York,” she says. “What I love most about it is the energy. You feel like some imaginary force is lifting you up and it's allowing you to do more things than you would ever think you could fit in one day.”

But the yin to New York’s yang is Paris’s beauty and Parisians’ perspective on life: “People put aside more time to do things that maybe are not productive, but that are about living life in the present moment,” says Granger. “Like: ‘Right now what feels good is it's sunny. I'm going to spend four hours on the terrace.’”

And while she says that her personal workout style is decidedly American, there are facets of fitness in Paris that she loves and appreciates equally. 

Here, the key differences between the two cities from her perspective:

Parisians work out for fun and novelty. 

“People are not going to go on the elliptical or [other cardio equipment]. They like to go to classes much more. I think they like the fun part or doing something different, like an activity and learning something. But they're not going to work out for the sake of working out.”

New Yorkers are more intense.

“I think it's because New Yorkers are under such high stress, they're super intense in their way to work out. At Equinox when people would say, ‘Your class is the best. You're the toughest instructor,’ it's the utmost compliment. In Paris, it’s more about personality and they like you or they don’t. And beyond physical intensity, New Yorkers like more noise, more heat, they just want to feel. In Paris everything is just more at the average: not too loud, not too hot, not too dark.”

Parisians really appreciate the stretch.

“In New York if I'm doing a power flow, I'm not going to do a long stretch because I know people are going to start becoming impatient. You skip the stretch because you think ‘that's not a workout so I can save five, 10 minutes on my schedule if I leave early’. Whereas in Paris, for them, stretching is equally as important as the other part of the class. I think it's in New York, you just lack time. Days should be longer in New York than anywhere else.”

Athleisure isn’t a thing in Paris.

“People don’t wear yoga pants around Paris. I guess except for me. People come in regular clothes, change, and then leave in regular clothes. Nobody is going to be hanging out in workout clothes on the street.”

New Yorkers are more stylish… when it comes to workout wear. 

“I don't think there is anybody more fashionable than a Parisian. But when they work out they are less particular than New Yorkers. I don't think they go so much for some super fashionable thing. They go for simple workout clothes. We're still a bit late here so we don't have that much of selection as there is in the States.”

Parisians don't work out before work—or on Saturdays.

“Nobody's going to get up at 6 a.m. in Paris to go work out. It's just not a thing. Same with Saturdays. Instead of taking a class or going to the gym, they’ll do everything they didn't have the time to do during the week. But they will work out on Sunday because on Sunday everything is closed in Paris.”

In Paris, yoga is more spiritual.

“For Parisians, yoga has the connotation of not being very physically challenging. So when I brought my [power flow] classes to Paris, people were almost in shock, like, ‘What is this?’ I think it was surprising to them that a yoga class could be so focused on the physicality of things.”

New Yorkers need heart openers. 

“In my yoga classes in New York, I do more heart openers because in New York we're on computers and on the phone much more than Parisian people are. People are eating lunch at the computer in New York.”

People just want to feel good everywhere. 

“Paris feels calm for me because I come from New York. But it's not. People here are stressed out too. I think people everywhere see that the value of working out, of feeling good, of even just feeling like they are looking better by working out. It's not part of the lifestyle for everyone in Paris like it is in the States. But I think it is growing. People are realizing more and more that it's important.”

Photography by Mohamed Sadek