CLASS PASS SERIES: Megaformers Take Over The Valley!

I have been patiently waiting for the past few weeks for Pilates Plus to switch from the regular reformers to the Megaformers I so love to be tortured on. I had called about trying out one of their classes the other week and they said the new reformers would be in that next week…and so they came…and so I went.

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This studio is located on the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Woodley in a shopping complex. Had I not seen the California Pizza Kitchen it was shown next to on the Class Pass map, I might have missed it. The parking structure has multiple levels. The annoying part about that is you go down and the attendees want to park your car. I am not a fan of that, so I drove around them since it was early enough in the morning. For anyone else who is interested, this studio does validate for the first 2 hours you are in the building, so you can feel free to leave your car with the lot attendees. If you don’t want to and it is early, however, you might be able to slide by them.

This studio is undergoing remodeling, so the door where you walk in is where the actual class takes place. I happened to be early so I practically walked into someone on their reformer. The room is small and there is plastic draped over everything since they are remodeling. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when they are done, because right now it seems a little crammed and clustered in the areas surrounding the workout equipment.

The teacher was bright and bubbly and was eager to assist first-timers in various exercises. The workout was hard, as usual. Lots of planks, plank to pikes, standing lunges on the reformer, standing lunges with weights. My balance/core stability is forever challenged by these classes that use the Megaformer. I curse myself under my breath and shake like crazy, but then I feel amazing after I leave.

If you do this sort of workout often and eat nutritionally sound most of the time, after a few classes, I guarantee you will see definition in places you never thought you would have definition. My shoulders are getting more cut…a nice look for tank tops in the summertime!

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This is one of a few Pilates Plus locations, but if you are looking to use the Megaformers, call the studio ahead and make sure they have them. As mentioned before, they are brand new at this location.

PILATES PLUS -ENCINO

16101 Ventura Boulevard

Suite 210

Los Angeles, CA 91436

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: An Oldie But Goodie…Circuit Works!

So when I say ” an oldie but goodie,” it’s because I have been going to Circuit Works on and off for a few years now. I don’t remember where exactly I first heard of their program, but I remember they had a deal a few years back and I wanted to try something different, so I bought a few classes. This was when the program was located on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Parking was pretty tough and it was kind of out of my way, so I took a few classes and then stopped. I always liked the program though, and when I found out they had a new location on Main Street in Venice and it was part of Class Pass, I decided to check it out.

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Circuit Works is exactly what is sounds like, a circuit training studio. There are 10 treadmills and 10 weight training stations. A typical workout will start on the treadmill or floor for 2 minutes. If you are on a treadmill, you are encouraged by the instructor to bring your incline up to a certain set point and either jog or run. When you come down, you will be given a number on the floor to start with. This could be anything from weighted leg lifts to seated rowing with a resistance band to squats on a BOSU ball. You might also be asked to start on the floor, in which case you would complete the exercise at the selected numbered section you are given for two minutes, then head to the treadmill after for two minutes, and so on and so forth. One other thing, sometimes the instructors will mix things up and have everyone come to the floor for a set of jumping jacks or high knees, so there is always a little extra variety.

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It is thought that by combining Aerobic (cardio) and Anaerobic (strength training) exercises in this sort of manner, you can burn more calories per minute and increase stored fat expenditure, leading to fast weight loss and improved muscle tone. I left this class POURING sweat, so I have no choice but to agree. Although, I am sure it is most effective when you go a few times a week, which, on Class Pass, I can only go to this particular program 3 times in a month. You can also modify the inclines and heaviness of the weights to your comfort level.

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The instructors are all very personable. Even the owner himself, Raphael Varela, is there most days making sure things are running smoothly. The gym is bright in its decor (yellow and black) and has a restroom towards the back. As for parking, you might get lucky with a 2 hour street parking area, but if not, there are meters everywhere or underground parking at the Archstone across the street.

CIRCUIT WORKS

2005 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA 90405

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