CLASS PASS SERIES-A New Gym Fights Its Way In…

Lately I have gotten into a routine with a lot of my workout classes, so when I saw a new batch of gyms recently joined the Class Pass roster, I was excited to try a few new places.

The first class on my list is a brand new gym near the Grove mall off of Fairfax called Fight Bike. Visitors be warned, it is all street parking if you want to come before 6pm. It is possible to find parking in the residential areas surrounding the building, but make sure you READ THE SIGNS. Otherwise, the owner said that after 7pm the lot behind the gym is free.

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So what is Fight Bike? This is generally a circuit training class, but the difference is one of the main rotations is a few rounds on an ASSAULT bike. I would say it looks a little bit like a spin bike and an elliptical trainer had a baby, but then, its not really like that at all. It runs against a fan and incorporates both arms and legs at the same time. However, it is also considered low impact so you won’t hurt your joints using it. It is supposed to keep your cardio up as well and help you torch calories during your workout.

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IMG_9451There is an array of exercises done during this class. They use a “time to work” ratio workout system, which means you complete a designated number of reps of a given exercise in a certain amount of time. For example, during my workout, when we were on the floor, we had one minute to do 12-15 pushups, one minute to do 12-15 dips, and one minute to do 3-5 pull-ups…of course, that was just one segment of exercise.

This class also has three different paths you can go down. These all still involve using the ASSAULT bike, but the paths are either Lean, Mean or Machine. The Lean path will give you higher reps with lighter weights. Mean uses heavier weights and fewer reps, and Machine uses heavy weights with more difficult variations and NO BREAKS in between. I chose the Lean path…and was very happy I did.

IMG_9454This class is a lot of fun and challenging. The ASSAULT bike makes it different, and the owners are very friendly and hands on…going over the equipment and class structure before the workout and making sure your form is correct.

You will definitely work up a sweat in this class. But you will have to shower at home, because there are no showers here. There are cubby holes to put your belongings in and there is a water fountain to fill your bottles…trust me, you may need it!

FIGHT BIKE

423 S. Fairfax Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90036

FALL RECIPES- Acorn Squash and Chicken Chili

So, fall is here in Southern California…even though it doesn’t particularly feel like it. Today the forecast says it will get down to a chilly 70 degrees, only to get back up to 91 degrees on Saturday. I am dusting off my UGGS as we speak…haha!

Anyhow, even though it hasn’t cooled down a ton here, the fall vegetables are out in full force at the grocery stores, so I picked up a few of my favorites last week. I always buy spaghetti squash, but one of my other favorites during the fall is acorn squash. This little green and orange nugget of joy has a sweet flavor when baked. One cup has only 56 calories and 25% of your daily Vitamin C!

One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is to just cut one in half, bake it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes and drizzle it with coconut oil, a little cinnamon and brown sugar. But today I decided I wanted to do something a little more filling and put together a delicious chili that will last for a few days in my refrigerator…which is a good thing, because I have a busy week. Any time I can make a healthy and hearty meal that I can put in tupperware and carry with me to work for lunch is a good meal.

This chili was a little different. It called for a cup of pilsner, which is a light beer. It also called for unsweetened cocoa powder, which has become a staple in my chilies, because it adds a rich but subtle dash of flavor.

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ACORN SQUASH AND CHICKEN CHILI

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 acorn squash seeded, cooked, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 cup pilsner/light beer
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 15 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
Cilantro, for serving

Feel free to add sour cream, greek yogurt or sliced avocados as well!

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, five-spice powder and chili powder and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the squash pieces, chicken pieces, tomatoes, beer, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the black beans and lime juice and cook for 5 minutes. Let the stew cool slightly, then ladle into bowls and top each serving with some cilantro.

ENJOY!

CLASS PASS SERIES-The “Premiere” Of Your New Self!

I have taken almost 100 classes on ClassPass, so by now I feel like I have most of my favorite types of workouts and places to do them picked out. However, every so often a new one will catch my eye and bring something different and exciting to the table. I love HIIT (high intensity  interval training) and I love spin classes, so if I see an opportunity to do both in one workout I am definitely interested in trying it.

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Vie2 Cycling is located in Santa Monica off Olympic and 19th Street. It is at the end of a dead end road and they have a bright sign and banners out front so you can’t really miss it. You can either hope to snag one of the very few parking spots located in the area, or you can park on the street. I was able to grab a space right in front of the studio.

There is a large banner in walkway entrance that resembles something you might see in front of a red carpet premiere. Although the studio is new, and I was told the banner is just a temporary decoration, I like to think of the banner as “entering the premiere of your new self”, making those who enter the studio feel excited about the start of a new workout, a new opportunity to become more fit and healthy.

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The cycle room displays three large screens that have a short inspirational message playing on repeat until the class starts. The bikes are all new and your number is periodically displayed on one of the screens during the class so you can see where you stand with other members in the class. For someone like me, who can be competitive, this is a good thing, because it pushes me to pedal harder than I might normally pedal. At the end of the spin class, someone comes in the room with cold wet towels that have been doused in eucalyptus oil. If you haven’t experienced this sort of luxury before, let me tell you, it is quite refreshing to wipe one of these over your face after a sweaty and intense workout.

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The class I took was called HIITCycle, so it was about an hour where half of the class was on a spin bike and then for the other half we went outside, where mats were laid out for each of us. And we completed 2 rounds of 10 exercises at one minutes a piece. The exercises included mountain climbers, burpees, planks, pushups, and high knees, to name a few. I loved the HIIT part, because spin is great, but it can get monotonous, and the HIIT cycle really broke that up and kind of shocked my body after a weekend of not working out.

Vie2 Cycling also has bathrooms, showers and lockers on its premises. I brought my spin shoes but they will give you shoes to borrow if you don’t own a pair.

VIE2 CYCLING

1708 19th Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404

 

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