CLASS PASS SERIES: More Megaformers, Megaformers, Megaformers!!

I have driven past this busy intersection of Melrose and La Cienega probably a thousand times, and never once would I guess there was a pilates studio inside. The windows are blacked out, so that would be part of the reason why! Also, I don’t live in West Hollywood, so I wouldn’t typically be inclined to look for places to workout while driving in the area.

But I am glad I found Carrie’s Pilates Plus, which is considered a combination of strength training and Pilates in one 60 minute session. It is essentially the same sort of workout as The Studio MDR in Marina Del Rey and Culver City, except it is on the other side of town. The workout space is a lot bigger…actually enormous! There are double the amount of Megaformers (Pilates reformers on steroids, essentially) in the room so that means there are more opportunities to get into one of these classes.

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There is a little room in the front of the studio where you can check in with the receptionist, who sets the tone for the vibe of the studio in sexy heels and tight clothing. There is also a bathroom in the front room. There are no showers to my knowledge. The studio is very clean and like most Pilates studios I have been to, you must clean off your own equipment after the workout.

So…let’s talk about instructors. I have heard about Pilates instructors who walk around the room screaming at the class participants who aren’t using the correct form in their movements, but I have never actually experienced this phenomena. My luck of the draw today (although he didn’t scream at me, just kept picking on me!)  The instructor I had at Carrie’s Pilates Plus was the first male I have ever encountered in a Pilates class. Maybe it was because he hadn’t seen me in the class before, but I felt like he was underneath me the entire time, making me squat lower, moving my leg in different uncomfortable directions until I was shaking like my own personal earthquake. It was a good thing he reprimanded me, because I wasn’t doing some of the movements correctly, but also very intimidating!

This is how the class works, you are supposed to work these smaller muscles in smaller movements that strengthen, lengthen and tone and essentially, if you do this enough, can reshape the body. If your body is not used to these movements, you will shake…a lot. It is supposed to be a good thing, but when you are in a room with seasoned Pilates Megaformer users…it can be quite daunting. This is the workout du jour in Los Angeles right now, from what I have seen. The movements are rapid and non-stop, like push-ups and lunges using the Megaformer so it takes the pressure off of your joints and spine. Although you are not running around, you will be sweating at the end…and shaking. I am still shaking hours later as I write this blog.

Oh yes…parking. Parking over here is not fun. More than likely you will want to grab a meter wherever you can and pay for an hour or so of parking. You can also park underneath the building for 2 dollars for an hour, but I didn’t like the vibe I got from the attendants there, so I found something on the street. If you go on Sundays though…you can park for free.

CARRIE’S PILATES PLUS

8500 Melrose Place

Suite 104

West Hollywood, CA 90069

 

CLASS PASS SERIES: Sweat Garage…Utilizing the AMRAP System!

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, HIIT (high intensity interval training) has become all the rage these days. This is where you give 100% effort in quick bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This kind of training keeps your heart rate up and is said to burn more fat in less time.

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This type of class is EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles. I happen to be a fan of most of the ones I try. Sweat Garage is also an “oldie” for me, because again, once upon a time when they had an online deal a few years back, I decided to try it out. It was a few months before I was getting ready to go to Brazil to visit a friend and wanted to get into tip top shape. Let me tell you, a few weeks at this boutique studio will whip you right into shape.

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Every day at Sweat Garage there is a different workout. Like many other HIIT programs, they have a set of treadmills (they use the Woodway ones here!) and an area on the floor where free weights, resistance bands, med balls and kettle bells can be used. All of their workouts are based on the AMRAP system. What is that, you ask? This means AS MANY REPS AS POSSIBLE. For example, today, the class rotated three minutes on the treadmill with three minutes on the floor. The treadmill segments were varying from sprints, to incline runs/jogs, to incline sideways jogs in a squat position (not easy!). The floor segments ranged from 3 minutes of 15 chest and 15 shoulder presses AS MANY REPS AS POSSIBLE to 3 minutes of squat jumps and boxing punches with free weights of your choice. Very sweaty. Very challenging. You definitely want a little bit of a fitness background before attempting this class.

The room is small and they shut the “garage” door when class starts, so it gets pretty hot in there. Be sure to bring your water and a towel, or you have to pay for one. There is parking underneath the building and a bathroom, but no showers.

SWEAT GARAGE

801 N. Fairfax Avenue Ste. 104

Los Angeles, CA 90046

CLASS PASS SERIES: Revolutionizing Fitness Brick By Brick!!

I consider myself a versatile athlete. I enjoy all different types of workouts. Although I will admit crossfit is not my favorite, I find there are more cross fit gyms nowadays that offer classes that are also cardio and interval weight training combinations. Brick Los Angeles is one of these gyms.

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Brick is located off one of the busiest intersections of Santa Monica Boulevard (near Fairfax) and thankfully they have their own parking lot! Otherwise I might have turned around and left because the parking and traffic in that area is horrific.

This gym is focused on crossfit, but they also have endurance classes, barbell training, muay thai boxing and a class I took called B/X. If you want to try this gym on ClassPass, pretty much the only classes offered are the B/X classes, which is fine with me. These classes are 60 minutes, focusing on a high energy cardio workout with interval weight training. It is similar to a boot camp.

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We started the class with a few laps around the parking lot, which isn’t all that big. I can tell you right now the cardio focus is minimal at this gym…in fact the receptionist who showed me around actually shuddered when I said the word cardio. Your heart will get pumping from the high intensity interval exercises more than anything else.

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After the warm-up, there were 5 different stations. We spent 6 minutes at each one. The first ones were those huge battle ropes and a few sets of burpees. The second station was this Assault bike, which is a spin bike with rower handles, kettle bell swings and a push and press move with dumbbells. The third station were those old school rowers and then a kettle bell squat where you hold the kettle bell to your chest and get up and down on each knee 20 times ( harder than it sounds!). The fourth station was leg lifts with an elastic band tied from weights on the floor to your waist and then thrusters, which is a front squat with a push press with a barbell. The fifth station was a weighted bent over row done on a platform. If you aren’t out of breath from just reading this I don’t know what to tell you…NOT EASY. AT ALL.

This is the kind of workout I would not want to do all the time, but it definitely tests my strength and challenges me because it is not as cardio centric as spin classes or running.

The gym has three rooms. The two bigger rooms are dedicated to crossfit and I assume the kickboxing when it is in session. All the usual crossfit gym equipment is here. There are bathrooms and showers. I am sure if you came often enough you could get to know people, but the only person who spoke to me today other than the instructor was a girl visiting from Texas.

If you are in the area and want your backside handed to you…it’s definitely a worthwhile challenge.

BRICK LOS ANGELES

7811 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90046