Kickboxing @ Keith Cooke Studio

Keith Cooke Studio

Class: Kickboxing

Location: Brentwood

Work-out: Kickboxing

Difficulty: 4

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 60

Sweat Level: Sweaty

Parking: Street parking, free validated lot until 5pm on weekdays, $4 on weekends and nights

Amenities:  filtered water fountain, free glove and wrap rental

Requirements for class: sneakers, towel

This is one of the more under-rated boxing classes around LA. Keith Cooke himself taught the class and as my friend Cassie puts it, he’s a ninja! The class is very welcoming to beginners, but at the same time, most of the clientele seem to know what they’re doing. The studio is no frills, but offers free glove and wrap rentals that don’t smell like other people’s sweat, which is a HUUUUUGE PLUS. It’s basically one big mirrored room with standing punching bags and everyone gets his/her own to do circuits (though I shared one with Cassie). The moves are a combination of standard boxing drills with some fancy kicks and turns, which I personally appreciated. You’re active the entire time, and at the end, you lay down the bags to do a core circuit.

Overall, the workout was great. It pushed you to your limits and incorporated moves that you normally don’t see at other boxing studios. The studio also offers other martial arts classes and it has a vibe of seriousness, without being intimidating. If you want a great workout without frills, this is it!

Iron Signature Boxing @ Iron Boxing Brentwood

Iron Boxing BW

Class: Iron Signature Boxing Bw

Location: Brentwood

Work-out: Circuit Training Boxing

Difficulty: 4

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level💦💦 Sweaty

Parking: Street parking (they will have validation in the building lot for a few dollars, but that hasn’t happened yet as of 3/18/16)

Amenities: Lockers, showers, filtered water, towels, gloves and wraps

Requirements for class: sneakers

This is a brand new studio that just opened last week and the locker room is BEAUTIFUL. I have been meaning to try Iron Boxing in Santa Monica, but never made it over there, so I was beyond excited that the Brentwood location opened less than a mile from my apartment! I went last Friday evening with a friend and there were only 6 people total in the class, so there was a lot of personalized attention. Ask for a walk through of the studio because the front desk didn’t really give me the rundown until I specifically asked (even though they knew it was my first time). There is only one bathroom for women and one for men, but these are separate from the locker rooms. The locker room is clean and big and full of amenities, with combo locks and 2 showers.

The studio itself is part gym, part boxing studio and there is also individual gym time offered where people can go and use the machines (treadmills, etc.) and the equipment. The boxing class takes place in a ring area and there are punching bags and a series of circuits set up. The class consisted of a cardio warmup, three circuits total that included boxing, punching bags, weights and cardio, and finished with ab work on mats and a stretch. It was an intense workout (kind of like Prevail, but with less people and more instructors). There were 3 trainers total for the 6 of us, so the ratio was pretty good. The area below my right shoulder blade was really sore the next day, so I hope that means I’m working a muscle I don’t normally work! I brought my own gloves and wraps but my friend rented hers for free from the studio. Overall, it was a nice and intense workout with a lot of personalized attention.

Full Body @ Barry’s Bootcamp Hollywood

BarrysBootcampHwood

Class: Full Body w/ Astrid Swan

Location: Hollywood

Work-out: Bootcamp/circuit training

Difficulty: 5

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level💦 💦 Sweaty

Parking: 90 minutes validated lot

Amenities: Lockers, showers, swag for purchase, Fuel Bar (smoothie bar)

Requirements for class: sneakers

I finally dragged myself over to the new Barry’s in Hollywood this morning and it did not disappoint. The new space is gorgeous and there is exponentially more room than the West Hollywood location. My only complaint is that there is only one bathroom. But, plenty of lockers and amenities. It’s nice that there is a big validated parking lot, and a smoothie bar where you can order drinks before your class and have it be ready for you when you’re done. Lockers came with combo locks and the ladies’ locker room was clean and spacious.

The workout room itself is set up just like the Weho location. Treadmills against a wall of mirrors with floor stations behind them. This is the second time I’ve taken Astrid’s class and even though the cardio portion was split up into three different rounds (my first class with her, we did 25 minutes straight of cardio), it still didn’t feel any easier. Barry’s is one of the hardest cardio workouts I’ve ever done, especially since I am not a runner. The treadmill rounds consisted of alternating intervals between jogging/walking, running and sprinting all with or without incline. The inclines were 0, 3, 6 and 9 and suggested jogging speed was 6, running was 8 and then your personal best for sprinting. I mostly jogged between 4-5, ran at 6-7 and “sprinted” at 7.5+.

The floor portion, although favored by me, was in no ways easy. First round included bodyweight exercises like walking planks and pushups, second round worked arms using resistance bands of three different difficulties (I tried the middle level and had to go down to “easy”), and last round consisted of chest and abs with a heavy weight. I used a 12lb dumbbell (the lightest one I could find haha). The first 4 rounds were about 9 minutes each, and the last two were about 5 minutes, and then we ended with a stretch. Overall, always a fantastic workout but definitely not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended and effective (and no slacking with Astrid)!

Strength @ Uplift Studios

Uplift Studios

Class: Strength

Location: Weho

Work-out: Strength Training, HIIT

Difficulty: 4

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 55 min

Sweat Level💦 Moderately Sweaty

Parking: Metered street parking (or free residential on side streets north of Melrose, but read signs!)

Amenities: Bathroom, water and swag for sale

Requirements for class: sneakers, bring your own towel if you need one

I came here last night to celebrate Uplift Studios’ grand opening in LA (not to be confused with Uplift Health and Wellness, which is also on ClassPass). The studio is located where Xtend Barre used to be. The studio manager, community manager and my trainer, Leslie, were all there and very warm and welcoming. ClassPass Founder and CEO Payal was also in town, so it was awesome to meet her in person!

Uplift is unique in that it is a women’s only studio, and it is wildly popular in NYC. My class was only 5 people, and there was a lot of personalized attention. The workout was tough! We worked every muscle in our bodies using weights (recommended 5-12lbs), and did tabata cardio bursts in between. I am definitely sore everywhere today. This is one of those workouts where you can fit your cardio and strength in at once. Although Uplift offers three types of classes, Strength, Sculpt and Endurance, each class will still give you a well-rounded workout. AND, they have a great motto: “Strong women uplift each other.” Love it!

Signature Lit @ LIT Method

Lit Method

Class: Signature Lit

Location: Weho (same plaza as AIR)

Work-out: Rowing/strength training

Difficulty: 4

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 50 min

Sweat Level💦💦 Sweaty

Parking: Free lot, metered street parking

Amenities: Mats and towels provided, water for purchase (didn’t see a fountain)

Requirements for class: Sneakers

I came here for my friend Rachel’s (Sweat and Repeat) event yesterday, though the studio is also now on ClassPass. This is one of LA’s newest studios and LA’s only all rowing studio. After I had checked out CityRow in NYC, I was sad that LA didn’t offer a similar workout. And then LIT opened! LIT stands for Low Impact Training, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t get a tough, heart-pounding workout. I hate running, so I love classes that offer me cardio in every other form, and LIT does exactly that.

The class is a mix of cardio intervals on the rower and strength training. Every rowing circuit is followed by conditioning for abs, legs and arms using the equipment at each station, including TRX bands, ankle straps with weights and a yoga mat. The 50 minutes is nonstop and we squatted, planked, crunched, lifted, rowed and rolled through the class, hitting every major muscle group. I LOVED that we ended class with a bit of foam rolling followed by stretching to really help muscle recovery.

The studio also has a nice patio area where you can relax for a bit after class, and it’s great for events! The owners Taylor and Justin are very friendly and will push but encourage you in a non-threatening way. Justin also regularly teaches classes and adjusts his classes to the energy of the room. I definitely recommend everyone go check out this unique studio!

Orange 60 @ Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory

Class: Orange60

Location: Nationwide

Work-out: Circuit-training/bootcamp

Difficulty: 4

Next day soreness: 3

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level💦 Moderately Sweaty

Parking: Depends on location

Amenities: Water fountain, shower, swag for purchase

Requirements for class: Need to get to class 30 min. early if it’s your first class.

Though the workout at Orangetheory is decent, I can’t say that the customer experience is pleasant after giving it two tries. I had recommended Orangetheory to a friend after taking a out-of-studio class with one of their trainers in Santa Monica at Stylefirm LA’s Bend + Burn event. I really liked the session and decided to give their in-studio session a try. I ended up getting to the studio 5-10 minutes early (instead of the recommended full 30 minutes), and was denied entry. I found this really bizarre considering most studios allow you to join as long as you get there a few minutes early. But, I’ll take full responsibility for not being early enough.

The owner at OTF Santa Monica, Jim,  came over to explain the concept to me while my friend participated in the class. He was very friendly, and acknowledged my frustration that I couldn’t participate. Also, their website says that your first class is free, but the studio had told me via e-mail that the first session would be $12.  Jim, after learning that I blogged from my intake form, offered me 2 free sessions to compensate for the fact that I could not participate that day. He then told me that I could go to any studio nationwide, and even looked up a few in MA when I told him I would be traveling for the holidays. I really appreciated Jim chatting with me and taking the time to walk me through everything, though to be completely honest, I did not think the walkthrough required a full 30 minutes. The rowers and treadmills are all pretty standard, in contrast to what they say, and anyone who has ever done a class at Barry’s Bootcamp, Burn 60 or Speedplay would have no trouble jumping right in.

The one thing that differentiates OTF from the above studios is that participants wear a heart rate monitor, which tracks your performance and heart rate on a screen throughout the workout. The monitor is worn around your chest and strapped tightly. Your optimum heart-rate should be in the orange zone for 1/4 to 1/3 of the workout to get the most benefits, giving Orangetheory its name. For your first class, the heart rate monitor is free. After that, you have to buy the monitor, which you can only get at OTF and will set you back about $70 (not cheap). They’ve also recently come out with a wrist monitor, which is even more costly than the one around your chest. You can do the workout without the monitor, but it kind of defeats the point.

So during this holiday break, I decided to go to one of the OTF studios in Massachusetts. I signed up online no problem, and got to class about 5 minutes early. I told the front desk that I had gotten the run-through at another studio, but that this was my first class. They had me fill out another intake form and told me to jump right in and that they would fit me with a heart-rate monitor during class. After the first block was over and they had walked past me a few times but still hadn’t approached me with the monitor, I went back out to find them. The lady at the front (I assume the owner), said they needed a credit card on file, which I said was not a problem, though I asked if they were charging me for something. She said she would be charging me the drop-in rate of $28.

I told her that I had a comped class that I had used when I signed up online. She responded that I would still be charged since I was not a member and the comped class could not be used at her studio. I then told her that this was my first ever OTF class and I noted that the website said the first class was free. She contended that it was not the case for people who were not local – and she did not care that I was “home” at my parents’ who are local. I don’t mind paying for my first class, but the fact that this conversation caught me off guard and was happening while I was already into the workout really frustrated me. It seemed like the studio was only in it for the money (the class was only about half full), and none of this “local” business was explained to me at either studio I went to. In fact, I told this lady that the other studio specifically told me I was able to us my class at the MA location. Extremely frustrated and on the verge of tears, I grabbed my things to leave since at that point I was not in any mood to continue working out, but then she learned I was a blogger and stopped me and told me to continue the workout. Visibly upset, I told her how frustrated it was to be told one thing and to find out mid-class a completely different story that wasn’t listed anywhere. She then said she was going to call OTF Santa Monica, and told me I could stay. I took a few moments to calm down and went back into class.

When I first got to the studio, a lady who had been to the studio before was extremely upset because she was not told that she had to buy a heart-rate monitor after the first class. She had obviously purchased a package but didn’t realize she needed to spend another $70 for the monitor. She opted to do the class without the monitor but was upset she could not see her results. Despite all of this, the trainer, Kina, was very nice and helpful. She explained the OTF concept to me again after class when she saw that I was new.

However, based on the poor customer service, I don’t think I will go back to OTF. I got an overly pretentious vibe from it – like it was trying to be a Soulcycle and Barry’s level brand, but the franchise-model of the business obviously fails in costumer experience. It does not seem like each studio upholds the same standards and levels of service, and that is what differentiates OTF from other national-level luxury fitness brands. Without the heart-rate monitors, OTF is just another average cardio and toning working out. By being completely obvious that it puts money before customers, and falsely advertising free sessions, the brand, I suspect will lose to its competition.

Gym Time @ Crunch Weho

Crunch

Class: None – open gym time

Location: Weho

Work-out: self-guided

Difficulty: depends on what you do

Next day soreness: depends on what you do

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level: depends on what you do

Parking: Free 2 hour validated parking in underground lot

Amenities: Towels provided, water fountain, showers, swag/snacks for purchase

Requirements for class: bring your own lock if you want to lock up your belongings

I’m not a gym person, (which is why I’m so in love with ClassPass), but after hearing that my friend is in love with Crunch gym, I decided to go check it out with her. Located in the CB2 plaza on Sunset, the facilities were big and clean, though it wasn’t on the same level as Equinox. (But you get what you pay for!).  There were multiple weight stations, machines, open floor area and studio rooms. This gym definitely was equipped with everything you’d want for a workout. However, you sometimes had to weight for a machine or station because there weren’t too many of them.

Crunch also offers various classes, and these were at more popular times. The gym time seems to be only available during really early hours, really late hours, or weekends (which makes sense since they don’t want Classpassers overcrowding their normal members). Overall, I had a good experience, but I probably would not go back alone because I normally have no idea what I am doing in a gym without guidance.

Signature Burn @ Burn 60

Burn 60 Weho

Class: Signature Burn

Location: Weho

Work-out: HIIT

Difficulty: Level 4.5

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level:💦💦 Sweaty

Parking: Free 2 hour lot in Pavilions center

Amenities: Towels provided, water fountain, swag for purchase

Requirements for class: be prepared to run

I finally tried Burn 60 for the first time as part of the LA ClassPass Ambassador event. The class was tough – similar to a Barry’s, but slightly less intimidating. We did approximately 9 minute rounds that alternated between the treadmill and weighted floor work. The treadmill consisted of intervals where we jogged, walked and sprinted for no more than 60s in most cases. Floor consisted of core, arms, legs and chest. You could choose the dumbbells that best suited you.

The studio is new and clean. There is an outdoor area with a wonderful view of West Hollywood and its hills. The studio is a little tricky to find though. It is located directly above the Pavilions and you actually have to go into the Pavilions to take the elevator to the second floor. There is also another Burn 60 in Brentwood which I’ll have to check out when I’m ready to go back. 🙂

Chest, Back & Abs @ Barry’s Bootcamp Weho

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Class: Chest, Back and Abs

Location: West Hollywood

Work-out: Bootcamp

Difficulty: Level 4.5

Next day soreness: 4

Duration: 60 min

Sweat Level:💦💦 Sweaty

Parking: Free lot

Amenities: Towels provided, water fountain, lockers

Requirements for class: Change beforehand because there is only one small bathroom, definitely bring water!

I’ve been wanting to try Barry’s Bootcamp for so long, and to be honest, I’ve put it off until now because I have been too scared. I finally did a class when I had the day off from work – and it was everything I had expected.

I took Astrid Swan’s class – and she is known to be pretty difficult. I was definitely feeling it in my chest, back and abs the next two days! One half of the class consisted of running on the treadmill for 25-30 min. As a non-cardio person, this was especially hard for me to push through. Luckily, you can run at your own pace if needed and I was definitely below the speed limit. But, it was a great cardio workout for me nonetheless (babysteps right?). The next portion was floor work with weights and your muscles will definitely be worked til exhaustion! The smallest weights start at 5 (more than I’m used to in my barre and pilates classes) and go up to a number I definitely can’t pick up with one arm. There’s no doubt that this is a great workout and I will definitely be back. They just opened a swanky Hollywood studio (though currently not on ClassPass) so I can’t wait to check out the new location!

Event Roundup Week of 9/28-10/3

NTC

This week is full of fun fitness events around LA!

Tuesday 9/29 – Barre sock brand Pointe Studio is hosting a free hip hop dance class with Groov3 (one of my faves!) at Beatbox LA at 7PM. A few spots are remaining so if you want in, e-mail Allie ASAP at allie@pointe-studio.com.

Tuesday 9/29 – Another one for tonight! ClassPass and Nike are teaming up for a Nike Training Club session and private shopping event at the Grove tonight from 7:34 to 9:34! It will be an hour long workout followed by an hour of shopping and attendees will receive a $25 gift card! Check-in starts at 7PM and you can sign up via ClassPass.

Saturday 10/3 – October officially kicks off breast cancer awareness month. Bloomingdales nationwide are kicking off its Pink Campaign with AM yoga at all of its store locations. Check in starts at 8:30AM and yoga begins at 9AM. $10 ticket will go towards Cancer Vixen and the Tutu Project. Everyone will also receive a yoga mat and a Pink gift bag for attending. Sign up here.

Sunday 10/4 – Online wellness publication Well + Good is hosting an LA Sweat Series this Sunday at Athleta Santa Monica on 3rd St with Xtend Barre. Check-in starts at 9AM and the hour-long session starts at 9:30AM. No RSVP required; event is first come, first serve. For more information, check out the event page here.

Know of a cool fitness event that’s not listed here? Email me at werkoutLA@gmail.com and I’ll share it!