I hopped of a plane at LAX and...headed straight to a workout class.
True story. Not only was I excited for some acai and poke bowls during my recent trip to LA, but I was excited for some new fitness classes on the West Coast!
I was lucky enough to check out 4 different studios during the 12 days I was in town and have to agree with my friend Rebecca on which was the best - but keep reading to find out which it was!
The class that I attended straight off of my flight was Rise Nation, a crazy-hard cardio class that left me absolutely DEAD.
Rise Nation might only be a 30 minute class, but using "The Climber" delivers total-body toning.
I was nervous after Rebecca told me that this was the roughest 30 minutes of her life - and arrived with some time to spare for the instructor to give me a quick run through on how to use the vertical climbing machine.
It wasn't as much like climbing a ladder as I thought - it was a much smoother movement that required core strength, length strength and arm strength. It was much like spinning because it helped if you found the rhythm of the music and there were also intervals where you had to speed up your movements for a certain amount of time.
The machine tracks the distance between your steps - so when the music is faster, you work on quick, short steps. At other points, you focus on longer climbing motions - which really work your arms and core as you stretch your body further.
Your whole body is involved, and it takes a lot of effort to keep up with the pace of the class - especially if you're new! I found my hands cramping and my forearms burning as I struggled to hold on to the handles. I was absolutely sucking wind and it was definitely the longest 30 minutes of my life.
Luckily, there were moments where I was able to get into the beat of the song and zone out for a few minutes at a time - usually this happened when the step distances were varied - for instance, short short long, short short long.
It's a very hard class to try to explain, so I apologize if this makes absolutely no sense.
At the end of the class, I was dripping in sweat and my chest was BURNING like I had just sprinted a mile. Sometimes after a really intense workout, my mouth tastes like blood. Whenever I say this, people look at me funny so I finally decided to Google it:
Some studies also show that intense exercise can increase pressure on the lungs, which allows red blood cells to leak into air sacs, possibly causing that metallic taste.
Class at Rise Nation gave me that metallic taste and left me feeling weak and shaky. I asked the instructor what a typical distance climber was for a beginner, and I am happy to report that I crushed that number ;)
The studio was nice and clean, the instructor was upbeat and helpful, and the only thing I found a little annoying was the lack of a shower considering how gross I was by the end of 30 minutes. I was beyond ready to eat all the things at Cafe Gratitude!
The best part? Your first class at Rise Nation is FREE.
The second class came highly recommended by my friend Rebecca, who has tried quite a few LA classes.
It was another small, shower-less studio but it was a great cardio and strength HIIT class with an instructor that I really liked.
I took Speedplay 60, described on their website as "a perfect balance of running , rowing and floor. The class was broken down into 4 main sections which we all rotated through as a group. It was a very small class of about 6-8 people which was great.
We started on the rowing machine, which I hadn't used in a good long while. It was rough getting the hang of it again, and I felt like I was going in slow motion through the ladder:
500 M Row
6 Dumbbell Press
400 M Row
6 Dumbbell Press
300 M Row
6 Dumbbell Press
200 M Row
6 Dumbbell Press
100 M Row
6 Dumbbell Press
Station two was a strength based circuit using a barbell. We rotated through a set number of repetitions of the following exercises:
- Straight Overhead Barbell Press
For this station we went to the treadmill - they have the Curve, self-powered treadmills that can tell how quickly you're going and adjust the speed accordingly. They always take me some getting used to, but it's really awesome technology and supposedly has a lot of benefits (encouraging better form, mainly).
Here, we did short intervals:
After each sprint we used the resistance bands that were wrapped around our treadmills to do 10 rows. I loved the fact that each station incorporated strength moves along with the cardio.
Back to the floor to finish up with strength and core with this circuit using a plate:
- Jump Lunges
- Front Plate Raise
- Glute Bridge with Overhead Oblique Pull
- Sit Up (holding plate overhead)
This class was by far my favorite - and one I would take over and over again if I lived in LA. It was a great mix of cardio, strength and core and it absolutely FLEW by. The class was small, the instructor was great, and you got to use a ton of different equipment throughout the class.
Your first class is only $15, a steal!
I was looking for a low impact class one morning and since I can be stubborn about taking yoga classes, I figured I would give pilates a shot. The last real pilates reformer class I took was at SLT and it absolutely KICKED MY ASS so I wasn't expecting an easy class, per se, but knew I wouldn't be jumping around and irritating my shins.
Stephanie (who made it announcement during class that she was now the OWNER, congrats!) was absolutely AMAZING at giving me help along the way. It was super obvious that I was not well-versed in pilates and had no idea what I was doing when it came to using the reformer.
I bought my pair of grippy socks (required for the class) but a pilates-pro they did not make me.
Some of the moves I really felt working - like the section where we did obliques! It always amazes me how many different things you can do with the reformer, and even though I felt like a fish out of water, I certainly felt the burn.
Pilates definitely isn't my favorite type of class - but it's a challenge, it's low impact, and it works a ton of small muscles that I normally don't pay attention to. I probably won't become a regular at pilates classes, just like you won't catch me frequenting barre classes, but I understand why some people are so in love with them and certainly think those folks should check out Club Pilates!
Worth noting that at this point, I accepted shower in fitness studios in LA should not be expected!
YAS Spin Class
No joke, there is a fitness center chain in LA called YAS Fitness.
You can imagine how many times I screamed, "YAAAAAASSSSSS" during my trip to this spin class.
This was the only studio I went to that had a locker room and showers, which was much appreciated for a girl who showers at the gym and fitness studios more often than her own apartment.
Also appreciated was the fact that the class was a straight-up OG spin class. No weighted songs, no crunches, no push-ups on the handlebars - just spinning.
We got clip in shoes for $2 and a free water bottle for checking-in on Facebook. The instructor, Mike, was extremely friendly and upbeat, the playlist was passable, and while I missed the metrics of a class like Flywheel or SWERVE, I felt like I got in a solid spin workout at the end of 40 minutes.
While I was at YAS, I ran into someone I used to run with at JackRabbit in NYC back in 2012/2013 when I FIRST started running. It was so crazy!
Anyway,YAS also offers yoga classes and weighted yoga classes, and your first class is just $13!
The last great workout of my trip to LA was the most scenic DIY everrrrrr as I walked around La Jolla Cove. Check it out here!
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