CLASS PASS SERIES-Finding Your Fit, Finding Your Energy

It has been a crazy few weeks of health screenings all over Southern California (and Northern California!) and I was finally able to get around to some new studios this past week. Monday I was working an event in Sylmar, deep in the San Fernando Valley, and I wanted to find a place to get in a workout that wasn’t super far from the event. I clearly do not know my way around the valley, because I picked a place in Woodland Hills, which while in the valley, is about 20 miles northeast of Sylmar. It ended up being an easy commute and a great workout, to say the least.

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Finergy Cross Training Gym is a BRAND NEW facility. When I say brand new, I mean,the gym is about a month old and all of the equipment is still bright and shiny. They have a room for cycle with the NEWEST Schwinn AC Performance Plus spin bikes. They have a room just for yoga and last but certainly not least, they have a room with TRX suspension trainer stations, PRO Boxing Equipment, and all of the latest equipment for indoor or outdoor bootcamp sessions (jump ropes, kettle bells, step ups, ladders, etc). They do have a VERY small parking lot in the back, but depending on when you are taking a class, you might be better off parking at a meter in the front of the building. They do also have showers and changing rooms equipped with towels, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryers and lotions. It feels like your bathroom at home, no joke.

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But anyways, about the workout. I got very lucky and was signed up for an 8am bootcamp with a trainer named Amy, who was very friendly, lively…and kicked my butt. Because this gym is new, word has not caught on about it, and I was the only one in class, so I basically got a private training session. We did one minute intervals of TRX movements. Step-ups with squats, chest presses, squats while slamming down heavy ropes, and a few other moves that were definitely challenging. I enjoyed being pushed with a variety of moves, which Amy said is normal for her to do with her bootcamp classes.

The vibe here is very friendly, and they are eager to gain new clientele, so if you happen to live in this area or are nearby for work, etc…stop in and try a class.

FINERGY CROSS TRAIN

22522 Ventura Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 91364

 

 

CLASS PASS SERIES- CrossFit Elements With A Cardio Kick

You probably wouldn’t ever know it was there if you didn’t a)take a walking tour of the neighborhood and casually stroll by on your way to Brick and Mortar or b) look it up on ClassPass, but located in the back corner of the Edgemar building on Main Street in Venice is CrossFit Santa Monica. It looks boutique-ish, but be warned, your a** is about to get kicked.

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I stumbled upon this place when I was working an event in the area and wanted somewhere to workout around 430pm. Believe it or not, depending on where you are, there are not a lot of open classes last minute near that time…but this one was, and they were doing a class called Cardio-Fit, which is supposed to be more about repetition and less about super heavy weights.

The first thing I have to say about this gym is although it is small, everything is stacked in its place, which is nice. Most of these boutique spots do pride themselves on having the members put away whatever they use after class. Secondly…the men are hot in this class (sorry guys who read this, just being honest). And many of them take their shirts off, so at least you get some eye candy while you are dying on the pull-up bar.

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Most importantly is the workout, and I have to say, this is not for everybody. The workout for our Cardio-fit class consisted of a short warm up and stretch period followed by 5 different exercises. The first (and I cannot remember the exact name for it) was a push press type of movement with a barbell. The second was getting on the rowing machine. The third was box jumps, where you jump and land with both feet on the top of a box that is is a few feet tall, many times. The fourth was wall balls, where you take a ball that is anywhere from 10-20 pounds and squat and throw it up against the wall, then catch it. The fifth movement was a sumo style squat with a kettle bell in your hand. Now here was the catch…this was timed, and the first round started with 42 REPS of each exercise. YES. 42. The second round was 30 and the third round was 18…if you made it there, as this was a timed event, about 35 minutes. In your mind, you think, yea, that is enough time to get throughout the whole thing…yea…no. If you are a seasoned cross fitter, perhaps this is nothing to you, but to me, while I consider myself somewhat of an athlete, I only made it to the first exercise on the sets of 18 reps round. Phew!

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I highly recommend this place to people who enjoy Cross Fit, or just high intense shorter workouts. The people are all super nice and happy to make modifications on exercises if, say you need to kneel during pushups or just step up and down on box jumps because you have a bad knee, etc.

They have bathrooms and a shower. You can park in the Edgemar parking lot and they will validate your car for 2 hours, which is a nice perk, given the area is right by Urth Cafe and gets extremely crowded.

CROSSFIT SANTA MONICA

2433 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA 90405

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