Cryotherapy–Why Hanging Out In A Cold Sauna Isn’t A Bad Thing

This morning I woke up feeling groggy. That doesn’t happen to me often, but after two nights of eating junk and being out late, I had a tough time getting out of bed for a 9am workout class at Studio Elevate in Culver City.

Long story short, I made it to the class but afterward I noticed the shop next door was opened, and I had seen pictures of it on Instagram and wanted to see exactly what was inside.

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This place is called Cold and Thirsty. It is actually an organic cold pressed juicery that NOT ONLY offers juice. They offer something unique (there is only one other place in Los Angeles that currently has this!) called WHOLE BODY CRYOTHERAPY.

So what is this cryotherapy?

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It is a cold sauna in which the chamber is filled with liquid nitrogen that reaches frigid temperatures nearing -250 degrees fahrenheit. It is supposed to have incredible anti-aging properties and helps decrease inflammation after workouts. It also has benefits for weight loss and chronic joint disorders and is said to be able to decrease injury recovery time by 50%. Sounds cool, right? Well it is…VERY COOL. So cool I decided to try it.

So how does this thing work?

Once a person is in the Cryo-chamber, your bodies skin receptors send a message to your brain that you’re freezing. The body reacts by rushing all the blood in to protect your vital organs. In doing so the blood is detoxified and oxygenated. The body then sends a map of your central nervous system to the brain. Once you step out of the machine and begin acclimating to the normal temperatures, the blood rushes back out and the body focuses on healing the problematic areas. One session is supposed to be good, but ideally, a person would want to come back multiple times to really see progress in skin tightening and inflammation issues.

So in deciding to try a session, I was lead to the back area where the Cryo-chamber is held. The facility has two changing areas where you disrobe and they give you a robe, special socks and gloves to wear in the chamber and these yellow rubber boots to put on your feet. Sexy, huh? No, but you want to keep these specific areas of your body protected in the chamber. You have to make sure your body is completely dry, so while it is good to have this procedure after a workout, make sure you have wiped sweat from your body before you go in the chamber.

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When I got into the chamber, I was immediately raised to the top where my head was sticking out. I was told to take off the robe and hand it over the top to the person monitoring the chamber. Then the session began. It is said to start with 2 minutes for your first session and work your way up to 3 minutes. One might think a temperature of under 250 degrees would be brutal. I am not going to deny that it is cold, but it feels refreshing and invigorating. I was reminded of being a kid and going to Halloween parties where the parents would have bowls with the liquid nitrogen ice cubes that looked like smoke was coming out of them…so I was technically inside one of those. Although I wasn’t standing on ice…kind of crazy!

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Two minutes is up before you know it. The chamber is turned off, you are lowered back to the ground and handed your robe in a matter of seconds. Then I went back into my dressing room and put my clothes back on.

How did I feel after? My legs took the longest to thaw out, but I have been having a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and it does feel somewhat alleviated, which is nice. An hour later, I still feel refreshed. The owner of the shop said the initial feeling should last 2-3 days. They do recommend coming frequently and have different packages you can purchase.

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Overall it was a very cool (literally) and unique experience! You can find more information about Cold and Thirsty here.

CLASS PASS SERIES: Combination Classes Rule!

When it comes to workouts, I think I have done it all…seriously! Everything from Crossfit to Pilates, to HIIT training workouts to hot yoga, to spin class, dance class, boxing…you name it I have tried it! While I do love many of the classes I have tried, at some point you get bored and it is time to mix things up.

Well, some of the programs out there are literally mixing things up by having combination classes. What that means is that an hour long workout class is not dedicated to ONE but TWO different workouts. Studio Elevate Los Angeles in Culver City does a class like this called Reform and Ride, where it is half Pilates with a reformer and half spin class…and now I found Evolution Fitness, which is located in Culver City on the border of Playa Del Rey.

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This fitness center is partially a physical therapy clinic, with adjustment tables located on one side of the facility and class area/equipment taking up most of the rest of the room. There are personal trainers there who take clients one on one, indoor cycling classes, circuit training classes and TRX classes. TRX is a suspension trainer, which is a portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete various exercises. A person can do anything from jumping lunges, bicep curls and  planks using the TRX. It makes the exercises much more challenging, in my opinion.

Evolution Fitness offers a class called Sunset Cycle/TRX mash-up, which is a class with 25 minutes of indoor spin/cycle, and 25 minutes of TRX training. The spin part was relatively unchallenging for me, but being that I have done a million spin classes at this point in my life, that is to be expected. I like the fact that one of the walls rolls up in the building so you get fresh air while doing your workouts. Sometimes spin classes are so hot and crowded! This class was not.

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After the spin, each member is guided over the TRX equipment for 25 minutes of training. We did everything from rows and curls to planks and pull-ups. This was definitely the more challenging part of the workout for me, utilizing my core stability, which is something I am working on and getting better at (thanks to pilates with the reformer!!). It was also nice that the last few minutes of this class were dedicated to cooling down and the instructor had us get out foam rollers and stretch.

I highly recommend trying a combination workout class, you get the best of both worlds!

By the way, Evolution Fitness has a parking lot down the street from the facility that is ONLY for members to use, which is a nice benefit so you don’t have to go crazy looking for parking. They have bathrooms onsite but no shower.

EVOLUTION FITNESS

6826 South Centinela Avenue

Culver City, CA 90230

CLASS PASS SERIES: Indoor Boot Camps Are Not Like Standard Gyms!

Walking into a standard gym is like walking into…a McDonald’s (not the best reference, I know!). Everything is very formulaic. The treadmills are all in one area. The bikes, the elliptical trainers, etc. The weight training equipment has its own area (or floor in some gyms) and then there is an area for stretching. When I walk into an L.A Fitness or a 24 Hour Fitness, or any other standard gym, this is what I typically find.

What is nice about boutique gyms is when you walk in, usually you can immediately tell what they specialize in. For example, when I walked into Real Fitness in Playa Del Rey, the way the gym is set up is anything but standard. I was excited to try what looked like an indoor boot camp. There were different stations set up with ropes, tires, and different types of weights.

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First and foremost, the instructor had us all do a bunch of stretching exercises, which is great, considering I rarely stretch extensively before a workout class. Then he split us up into groups of two. There were six stations with 2 exercises at each station. Each group of two had to go to each station and do each exercise for 50 seconds. Then we went around and repeated each station a second time. Sounds easy, right?

The instructor for this particular class, called Weekend Warrior, is very hands on and went around during exercises trying to make sure my form was correct. It was nice to see how passionate he is about making sure people are doing the exercises correctly and getting the most benefit from the workout. However, considering I am on Class Pass and am not planning to come back to this class soon, it got a little annoying getting lectured when you only had 50 seconds to do each exercise. By the time he would stop explaining, I would have 20 seconds left to actually do the exercise the way he explained it. It was a nice gesture though.

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The exercises ranged from one handed farmer carries, which is where you carry a heavy weight from one side of a room to the other (like you are carrying a heavy piece of luggage), to tire swings, to step ups to planks on an exercise ball. Some were definitely more challenging than others. At the end of the two sets, you and your partner are given some abdominal work to complete the routine. Overall, this was a tough workout with lots of different equipment used to challenge me. I would definitely go back and try a different class. Some of the other classes held at Real Fitness include boxing and metabolic circuit training.

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This class is located on the corner of Pershing and Manchester. The parking is extremely limited ( like 2-3 spaces for the gym), so look for street parking beforehand. There are bathrooms onsite but no shower.

REAL FITNESS
8367 Manchester Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90293

CLASS PASS SERIES: Words Can Be Decieving…

When looking for new classes to try on Class Pass, every class has a CATEGORY and an ABOUT section. The category will usually tell you if the class is based around strength training, cycling, pilates, yoga, etc. In the about section, there will usually be a brief description about what the class entails. For example, if a class is going to be a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, it will tell you that in the description, usually along with the type of equipment the class will use (treadmills, rowers, kettle bells, etc).

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So when I saw a new gym in my immediate area had joined Class Pass and was offering what sounded like some cool classes I was eager to try it. A class this morning called POUND started at 7am. The category is pilates and strength training. The about section says “produce sleek, toned bodies using strength, core stability and endurance training.” Sounds enticing for someone who wants to get in a good workout, right?

I get to the gym at 6:50am. The first thing that sets me off is that the gym is on the corner of Robertson Place right before the freeway off and on ramp and has terrible parking. If you don’t know exactly where you are going, be prepared to go around the block again…and even if you do know where you are going, prepare for their to be no parking…or pray to park in front or behind someone who is taking the same class as you are.

The inside of the gym is cool. Hayden Gym probably has just about everything you could ask for. At least one or two of every kind of gym equipment. There are rowers, rings, treadmills, bosu balls, punching bags, free weights…you name it, it’s there. The gym has a very…gym like smell, and it permeates every inch of the facility, including the mats we used for the class. It would be nice if they cleaned those mats…it didn’t seem like that is a thing that happens here.

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So, about this class. POUND…in my opinion, and based upon the class description, would make me think there was strength training with weights, or something along those lines. It would NOT make me think I would be given neon green plastic drum sticks to POUND on the ground as part of a workout. Yes, that is what happened.

Don’t get me wrong. This was not a completely worthless workout. I did sweat and I did learn some new drumstick techniques, but I feel like the description is false advertising, and anyone who was looking for a hard core workout would be very disappointed by this. This is definitely a class for people who are relatively new to fitness. I don’t consider pounding drumsticks in various fitness positions a workout I would spend 40 minutes doing, but it is something others might really enjoy. I actually ended up back at the gym and ran on the treadmill for a bit after this class. Cool idea, Hayden Gym, but maybe in the ABOUT section you should re-vamp the description of this class to include the plastic drumstick usage.

For the record, this gym does have HIIT workouts and boxing…which I WILL be trying next time (they have their own boxing ring). There are cubby holes for your personal belongings and a bathroom but no shower.

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HAYDEN GYM

3390 Robertson Place

Los Angeles, CA 90034