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: 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