Mar 20, 2023 - Things to Do

Data shows strength training and yoga are Charlotte’s most popular workouts

MADabolic in South End. Photo: Courtesy of MADabolic CLT.

Grab your mats and dumbbells — strength training and yoga are Charlotte’s most popular workouts, according to data provided to Axios by ClassPass.

MADabolic and Y2 Yoga, both founded in Charlotte, were listed as the city’s most popular studios for strength training and yoga, respectively.

How it works: Winners are determined through “a mix of ClassPass reservations and tens of thousands of personal user nominations across social media,” said ClassPass Public Relations Specialist, Jeana Esernio.

Why it matters: These results support the fitness trends we’re seeing in Charlotte, such as the growth of locally-owned, boutique studios along with the rise of weightlifting and low-impact exercises, e.g. strength training and yoga.

[Go deeper: The 5 biggest fitness trends to watch in Charlotte in 2023]

Naturally, I booked a class at both MADabolic and Y2 to see what the hype was all about.

Here’s what to know about each studio and what to expect for your first class:


Founded by former professional hockey players Brandon Cullen and Kirk DeWaele, MADabolic opened in South End in 2011. The fitness chain, which now has 100 locations nationwide, specializes in strength-driven interval training.

What to expect: Workouts built on work-to-rest ratios and a signature interval style known as “M.A.D.” which stands for momentum, anaerobic and durability, explained Finley Funsten, who co-owns MADabolic CLT.

  • On a momentum day, you’ll build to a faster pace through the class with a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio.
  • On an anaerobic day, you’re expected to give 100%, with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio — think sprinting and kettlebell swings.
  • Durability days are MADabolic’s bread and butter. With a 3:1 work-to-rest ratio, these classes are a slower, steady grind.

My thought bubble: MADabolic is ideal for those looking to build their workouts around getting stronger. I took the anaerobic class, led by Jay at MADabolic South End. The class operated on a 15 seconds on; 15 seconds off work-to-rest ratio — it was only ~35 minutes total.

We rotated through exercises like dumbbell power skiers, biking and boxing. While this class had more cardio aspects than momentum or durability, it offered plenty of strength training that left me sore for, admittedly, more than a day.

The small class size of 25 allows for one-on-one time with the trainers and you’re able to choose your strength level.

New member specials: First-time clients can try MADabolic for 5 days for $5, which allows newcomers to try all three class styles.

Pricing: $188 per month for 12 months unlimited or $208 for month-to-month unlimited.

Locations: MADabolic has two Charlotte locations, including the South End flagship and another in Elizabeth. The Charlotte team plans to expand to four studios in the near future, said Funsten.

MADabolic’s anaerobic day setup. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Y2 Yoga

A hot yoga studio, Y2 opened in Charlotte in 2009. The studio offers over 100 classes each week, from hot power flow to non-heated vinyasa, according to their website.

  • Y2 is best known for its signature power yoga classes, which focus on cardio, strength and flexibility.

You won’t find any classes labeled as beginner or advanced — classes are open to everyone, regardless of skill level. However, you can use their “Find the Right Class” flow chart to find where your skills best align.

My thought bubble: I took the Y2 Single Shot (heated) led by Rian at Y2 Dilworth. This was my first hot yoga experience, and the Single Shot promised to be a good fit (thank you, flow chart).

  • It was a fast-paced class with lots of cardio, core exercises and flow sequences that had me in a full-body sweat within 15 minutes.
  • The class successfully converted me into a hot yoga enthusiast.

New member specials: Get 3 weeks of unlimited yoga for $39. Y2 also offers a “New To Y2” class every week, which is free and tailored specifically towards beginners.

Pricing: Get four classes per month for $69, eight classes for $129 or monthly unlimited for $139.

Locations: Y2 Yoga has two Charlotte studios in Dilworth and Cotswold, plus a location in Fort Mill’s Kingsley Town Center.

Y2 Yoga in Dilworth. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

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