Former NFL player Devin Goda at a Switch class in New York (Instagram, @dgoda85)
  • A number of US celebrities are training at Switch playground New York, founded by SA-born fitness guru Steve Uria.
  • Uria started Switch exercise classes in Cape Town in 2014.
  • The classes feature 21 workout stations with disco lights and a DJ.

A number of American models and celebrities, including the rapper 50 Cent, YouTuber Casey Neistat and former NFL player Devin Goda, are flocking to New York fitness classes taught by the South African fitness guru Steve Uria. 

Uria, who says he trained with the South African Special Forces Brigade (known as the Recces), founded Switch in 2014 in Cape Town after “creating multiple [workout] concepts in the past”. Through the years, he learned the strengths and weaknesses of different fitness classes, which helped shape Switch. 

“Switch is the only group fitness programme with multiple instructors and all the experiential components (including) DJ lights - it changes daily, so it's never the same workout twice,” Uria says.

See also: This is the biggest exercise mistake that South African male models make, according to an agent

“We do total body including cardio, strength, core, yoga and functional (fitness) in every class.” 

Switch's Steve Uria with rapper 50 Cent (Instagram, @switchplaygroundnyc)

Switch classes are held in large open spaces, or “playgrounds”, with loud music and flashing disco lights. Participants complete a total of 21 workout stations, each lasting 2 minutes.

“We play with different apparatus and enjoy the feeling of the freedom and joy of childhood in an environment where programming is serious and authentic, yet fun," says Uria. 

Models training at Switch (Instagram, @switchplayground)

From Cape Town, Switch expanded to Bryanston, Pretoria and now, New York. 

“I believe in my product and brand, with my passion, coupled with my tenacity and die-hard mentality, I knew I would have (to) fight, but never doubted Switch playground,” Uria told Business Insider South Africa. 

“It was a matter of getting belief and trust with targeted marketing and brand awareness, that helped put us at the forefront of the fitness landscape.”

Uria says he expanded to New York because he wanted to be on the “main stage” of the boutique fitness industry.

He has plans to expand to the rest of the US in the near future. 

What is the one big thing people get wrong about training?
Uria says it's believing that resistance training will make women bigger and cardio will make men “too lean”.