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#RackedFitClub at Equinox WeHo

10 Jan

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to participated in Racked LA‘s #RackedFitClub.  I enjoy reading Racked’s updated on the LA fitness community’s happenings — new studio openings, special events, etc.  Their Fit Club events always seemed super cool, but I never signed up in time.  I was stoked when I snagged a spot at the event on Tuesday at the Equinox on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.

The event consisted of a 50 minute “Long and Lean” class with trainer Jason Wimberly. I got there a little early to change and scope out the gym.  Equinoxes are gorgeous facilities, but the price tag is hefty.  Jason came over to use before the class to introduce himself — he was really friendly and sweet, and not at all as intimidating as his fitness credentials might suggest.

Seriously, this is what he looks like:

Source: Racked LA

Jason explained that the Long and Lean class was a fusion of yoga, pilates, ballet, and core strength moves.  I was excited about the yoga and pilates aspect, but I’m nooooo dancer.

We used a “body bar” and a light medicine ball throughout the class.

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The class reminded me a little bit of a bar/barre class, but I liked it better.  I’m not a huge bar/barre fan because I don’t love the small movements. And what the heck does it mean to “tuck?”  Jason was instructive, motivating, upbeat, and POSITIVE which I really appreciated.

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For the last 10 or so minutes of class, we did a few ballet-type moves.  I sort of faked my way through them, but it was a nice challenge to get out of my comfort zone (remember, that’s one of my goals for 2014?).  At the end we were supposed to do our best “sexy walk.” Again, um, what?

Overall, I liked the class and had a fun time at #RackedFitClub!  The workout was challenging but not TOO challenging (I was able to do my normal Tuesday night run a few hours later.)

At the end of the class, we were treated to samples of Clover Juice.

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I tried one that was made with

Kale
Cucumber
Celery
Spinach
Pear
Cilantro
Mint
Lime

Mmmm!  And it made me smile to see that Clover used my photo on their Instagram feed.

Read Racked LA’s post about the event here.

Ever been to Equinox?

Have you ever tried a Long and Lean class or a bar/barre class? 

brand spankin’ new workouts.

27 Nov

For those of you following along with #Elf4Health, today’s challenge is to do a new workout. Wednesdays are sort of  workout-filled to begin with me for me — I was at Back on My Feet this morning and will be teaching spin tonight, but I still plan to try this workout Cori @ Olive to Run posted earlier this week. Already dreading those burpees…rounds-of-workout-moves

I thought I’d share some of my favorite workouts you can do at home without much equipment.  I tried this one from Tina @ Carrots n Cake awhile ago and liked how it incorporated some cross-fit type elements with running.  Those burpees killed me at the end!

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I am a big fan of the Seven Minute workout (and I love the 7 Minute Workout app for the iPhone).

12well_physed-superJumboFinally, Karena and Katrina over at Tone It Up are constantly posting creative, fun, and challenging workouts. This one is great if you’re looking to specifically target your back.

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While my “something new” for today is a little on the DIY-side, there’s a bunch of cool, boutique style workouts in the LA I can’t wait to try as well.

Numero uno on that list? YogAqua. Yoga. On a stand-up paddleboard.   I need to try this, ASAP. Any takers?

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I like yoga, but I struggle with the whole zen, woo-woo aspect of some studios.  Enter: YogaHop.  Yoga, set to hip-hop music? I can get behind this.

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I’m spin-obsessed and have checked off most of the LA boutique studios, but I have never made it to Cycle House — and I used to live about a block from it!

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Elves — what new workout are you trying today?

Has anyone ever tried YogAqua, Yoga Hop, or Cycle House? Thoughts?

Favorite “off the beaten path” exercise?

flywheel thoughts.

27 May

Yesterday I met up with my blog friend turned real life friend, Katherine, for a #SoulDate…err…spin class at Flywheel Sports on Larchmont Blvd.

We’re both spin-o-philes, and when I heard Soul Cycle’s biggest NYC rival was opening in LA, I knew I’d have to try it.

Upon walking into the studio, I immediately liked it. The locker area and foyer are BIG – there is tons of room to hang out, walk around, and the vibe is a little more low-key than Soul Cycle’s. Shoe rental is totally free, and check-in is done via small laptop computers set up at walk-in.

Their current motto seems to be “Never Coast” which I liked. They had merchandise for sale, just like Soul Cycle.

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The classroom is set up like a stadium. Katherine and I were in the second row, right in the center, which I think was a perfect location.

The defining element of Flywheel is that there is a “torq board.” When you sign in for a class, you can opt-in to their system which tracks your resistance and RPMs, and displays your current rank within the class at various times throughout the class. If you know me, you know that I can be somewhat competitive. (Okay…really super competitive). Katherine and I dominated, obviously.

I liked the Torq boards – it definitely made me work harder, but I found myself thinking more about making sure I beat whoever was in front of me, and then once I got to #1, making sure I stayed there. My focus was more on beating others and less on having fun. Where I come out of Soul Cycle feeling like I’m rejuvenated and refreshed, I came out of Flywheel feeling exhausted, but victorious. It was a different feeling – and I liked it – but I didn’t like it better.

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Our instructor, Elizabeth, was enthusiastic. The bikes have sensors which display your current RPMs and resistance levels, which was good because we could gauge where we were at. Elizabeth would say “Your resistance should be at a 50, and your RPMs should be between 85 and 90.” In other classes, instructors will say “You should be at a 5 on a 1-10 scale.” Flywheel takes the subjectivity out of it, and I liked that I was able to verify that I am indeed working hard.

The other cool thing about Flywheel is they store your information from the class online. Afterward, I could see my various scores, as well as mileage (23.4 for a 45 minute class!) and calories burned.

The music selection was just okay. I love me some Macklemore (remixed with Blu Cantrell!) but could have done without “I Touch Myself.” Yeah, they played that.

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Overall, I had a GREAT workout at Flywheel. I was WIPED later. I appreciated the fact that the first class was completely free. Beyond that, though, all things being equal, I would be much more willing to pay for Soul Cycle than for Flywheel. The quality is comparable, but the experience is very different.

Have any of you tried Flywheel? Soul Cycle? Thoughts? 

*All images are from Flywheel’s website.

weekend recap [with text this time].

30 Apr

I lieu of working out for a second time today (I have a half marathon on Sunday…I realized two-a-days are a recipe for an injury), I decided to actually recap my weekend.

On Friday, my externship at the U.S. District Court – Central District of California (Judge Klausner) came to an end. We had a great last day – Ben and I concocted some pretty clever thank you notes for the clerks, and we went to a great last lunch with our clerk Tiffany at Spring Street Smokehouse. [Sidenote: Spring Street Smokehouse is my second favorite place I discovered during the four-month externship. My favorite is Little Tokyo’s The Sandwich Smith].

We finished up some last assignments, had our formal reviews, and said goodbye to the Judge and his staff.

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. . . and we took photos in the courtroom. Sitting on the witness stand was pretty cool.

extern fam.

extern fam.

I may actually miss these guys.

taylor, me, ben, and our clerk Tiffany.

taylor, me, ben, and our clerk Tiffany.

After work, we celebrated with a little happy hour action at Más Malo.

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On Saturday, I ran a little over 4 miles with the DTLA running group, ran some errands in DTLA’s Jewelry district (read: I shattered the crystal on my watch on Thursday…luckily Sam’s Jewelry and Watch Repair got it fixed in two days for $35). After some errands, I headed out to Glendale to my roommate Jenn’s parent’s house where she was hosting a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Daniel. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we all had a lot of fun drinking beer, dominating at beer pong, and playing a little corn hole.

the surprise in action.

the surprise in action.

daniel and jenn.

daniel and jenn.

#PaleoBurger

#PaleoBurger

My parents met me downtown for dinner – we went to a place I’ve been wanting to try called Industriel, which bills itself as Urban French Farm cuisine. Everything we had was innovative, interesting, and we licked our plates clean. We had a charred romaine hearts, a kale salad, a poached egg, and the sea bass.

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My parents also dropped off this console table I am obsessed with it. I have a walkway between my new room and my bathroom that had room for a little table. My mom found this on Craigslist – but it was sold…#sadface. Using the powers of the internet, she found it elsewhere online, had it shipped, and brought it to me. Awesome mom award goes to…my mom. I am going to pay her back though. I’m not that spoiled.

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Love this Moroccan/Spanish inspired piece. I am going to change the photos I have up top, I think…but right now I have some of my favorite Spanish artwork (Velazquez’s Las Meninas and Picasso’s versions of them).

On Sunday morning, I headed to West LA for a special group exercise class I was invited to, being put on by Fitist at Elliptifit. Elliptifit is like spin class – but on ellipticals. As a spin-o-phile, I was anxious to see if I would feel similarly about Elliptifit.

I used to be a big-time elliptical user when I first started going to the gym. Now, I don’t use it very often – it’s not as fun or as effective for me as running or spinning. The 45-minute class sped by. The instructor, Annette, was very energetic and she had great music, but the workout itself wasn’t something I was completely enamored with.

It was definitely more intense than if I had been doing an elliptical workout by myself. She told us when to sprint and when to climb, and what our resistance and ramp should be. We also did some isolated outer and inner thigh movements, as well as some arm work using the handrails. In 45 minutes, I covered 3.75 miles and burned over 500 calories. I felt like I worked out, broke a sweat, but since it was low impact it wasn’t too taxing.

I enjoyed the new workout, but thankfully (for my wallet) I don’t think a new obsession was born.

Since my externship ended, I am now in “finals mode.” Except I only have one final, and it’s two weeks away. That means plenty of time for being lazy…and working out a lot.

Yesterday I took my friend Colleen to her first yoga class (ever) at YAS – and today I met up with my friend Armita there for a little lunch time spin. My arms and shoulders are feeling all of those chaturangas today. Speaking of spin, I’m making progress on my fundraiser for YAS-A-Thon. You can donate here, if you’re so inclined.

Random question for any/all bloggers out there. That’s G is coming up on its 4th Birthday (seriously – whoa). I’m contemplating making a Facebook page and wanted to hear if you guys have any tips/tricks/suggestions for growing your blogs!

fitness trends.

15 Mar

Hi blog budz – this week has been tough – I’ve been super busy and work was especially challenging. I’ll report more about that later in the next couple of days, but I wanted to get this post out first! I had a little bit too much fun last weekend (read: I may actually never drink again), and I vowed to get myself back on a healthy track this week. I got my fitness goals a little bit more in line…now here’s to hoping everything else starts falling into place!

Also, while most of the world was super concerned with words like “papal conclave” and “white smoke” on Wednesday, I was FLIPPING out about Google announcing the eventual demise of Google Reader. I’ve since calmed down. Well, except for the fact that I sort of want to switch to Bing and cancel my G-mail in protest, but let’s not get crazy. I transferred my RSS feed to Feedly. So far, I like it. It has a cool magazine-style layout, and they’re promising a seamless transition come D-day. (July 1, duh).

Anyway…

I work out mostly using what some call a “hopscotch method.” I belong to a gym, but I also like jumping into other studios, running and hiking outside, and mixing it up constantly. It makes working out MUCH more fun, and is also effective cross-training.

I’ve blogged previously about my experience at Pure Barre (one of my most commented on and cited-to posts) and SoulCycle (LOVE LOVE LOVE). I have a few more to add to the mix:

Cardio Barre Beverly Hills

source: Google

source: Google

Cardio Barre Beverly Hills

source: Google

I bought a deal through Living Social (or something similar) for 10 Cardio Barre classes. The deal expired in November, and I only made it to 7 classes. I’m not a barre convert by any means – I was never a dancer so a lot of the moves and footwork comes a little bit unnaturally to me, and I am not coordinated AT ALL. I felt like I worked out afterward, but I didn’t like this as much as Pure Barre. Also, the room is pretty big and they really packed us in there, so there was little to no correction or individual attention. On the plus side, however, is that Cardio Barre’s prices are much more reasonable than Pure Barre’s. I’d say check this place out if you’re looking to try a barre place, but if you’re already a fan of another studio, stay where you’re at.

Pop Physique (3rd & Fairfax Location)

3rd & Fairfax Location

3rd & Fairfax Location (source: Google)

poppin'

poppin’ (source: Google)

Pop Physique is another barre place that I checked out through a deal of some sort – this one was a 3 classes for $20 – I’ve used two so far but will probably use the last one. It’s all the same style of small, isolated movements, light weights, and some weird glute exercises up against the wall that I am convinced are made up and uneffective. I like the ambience/decor of the place (and yes, that is indeed a Marshawn Lynch reference, thank you). I also like the fact that the class sizes are smaller, and the instructors make an attempt to use our names. Still, not my favorite way to work out, but I did feel the burn!

YAS Fitness Center –  DTLA

source: Google

source: Google

source: Google

source: Google

Yeah yeah, I know you are all sick of me proclaiming my love for all things spin. While I’m not sure anything will top my SoulCycle obsession, YAS is a budget-friendly alternative. First class is free, newcomers can grab a 5 classes for $50 deal, and there’s a student discount. They also offer yoga classes which I need to be better about. The instructors are high energy and the music is up my alley – housey and full of mash-ups. It’s also nice that the classes I’ve been to so far haven’t come close to selling out, so the need to race there super early is slim to none. There’s lots of hills, seated climbs, jumps, and sprints – all the makings of a great spin class. It’s a little bit of an adjustment that “tap it up” in YAS-speak means something totally different than SoulCycle’s “tap it back” but what can you do? I like this place – and the sort of grungy, unpretentious (but still super nice!) furnishings. Oh, and free parking with validation = music to my angeleno ears.

CorePower Yoga – Wilshire Location

CorePower Yoga

source: CorePower website

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source: CorePower website

I have always been bad about incorporating stretching and yoga into my routine – and I need to get back on it. Whitney introduced me to CorePower last fall and we made it a habit for awhile to go to their weekly free Monday night class. I love one instructor there – Alex – he made it fun and very un-woo-woo which is a big deal for me. I normally burst out laughing when we have to “find our centers” or whatever. This isn’t a bikram studio, but the room is still in the 80 F range, meaning I am dripping in sweat before the first shavasana. This place will also give you one week unlimited for free, which I should make use of eventually. I’d recommend this place – it’s probably the best place I’ve done yoga (besides my days at Fred Segal in SM with Lori Steele who moved to Manhattan Beach..sad). 

What are other fitness trends, deals, or studios I should check out? I can’t wait to try CrossFit at Brick soon! Let me know your favorite places! 

full of soul.

28 Dec

This week has been soulful.

My favorite spin studio (read about my first ride here) just opened a new Santa Monica location, and in order to build a little bit of buzz, they have offered FREE 1PM rides all week. Luckily, I have scored a bunch of free rides and have gone twice so far.

While the WeHo and Brentwood locations are closer to my apartment, I am happy to make the trek to Santa Monica (2nd and Wilshire) for my daily dose of soul.

The new studio is really spacious and gorgeous. It has merchandise in the front, TONS of room for changing (and lockers), and a 59-bike studio.

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You also can’t really beat coming out of class and seeing this.

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One cool thing this Soul studio has is a “listening bar” where you can sample some of the playlists from the instructors. IMG_2710

Thursday’s class with Cole Williams was a good one – his music selection was more hip-hop focused, but he did end class with Avicii’s “Fade into Darkness” as he turned all of the lights off. I appreciated that little effect. He had a good energy, but wasn’t my favorite.

Today’s class was taught by Laura Crago. She is a MACHINE. And her music was excellent. The first track was a slowed-down version of JT’s “Cry me a River.” I probably freaked the woman next to me out with my blatant singing along. I tried to refrain from actually yelling out “I am obsessed with this.” Laura had other good tracks – a couple from Deadmau5 and some house remixes of some pop hits. I will definitely seek her out in the future. Her ride was also pretty intense – I redefined “sweat monster” after today. STOKED to go back tomorrow.

I wish I could afford to make SoulCycle an every day thing, it really is that great.

My roommate, Jenn, gave me a book called “Practical Paleo” for Christmas. While I have no intention on following the Paleo diet 100%, I plan to try and lean that way.

I made my first Paleo-inspired meal last night – carne asada, sweet potato, and a salad [with homemade dressing of EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and dijon mustard – my friend Kathleen taught me this one].

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Nom.

This morning’s breakfast was a crustless-quiche from the book. So far it’s been fun and surprisingly easy. It will be interesting to see what my diet looks like once I am more cramped for time and have to balance school. At least I can make a solid attempt to start 2013 out right…right?

This morning I also tried another new-to-me workout. I had purchased a Living Social deal to check out Pop Physique monthhhhs ago and am just getting around to using it now.

I’ve tried other barre studios (read my review of Pure Barre here). I liked Pop Physique…I’ll do a full review once I’ve finished my Living Social deal.

I’m trying to load up on fun workouts and taking a little break from my normal gym + running routine because I have the time right now.

What is your favorite way to spice up your workouts? 

[workout review] SoulCycle.

1 Jun

I am always skeptical of fad workouts. Good old fashioned running is my favorite form of exercise, and while I enjoy spin classes, I wasn’t sure something called “SoulCycle” would be any better than my standard gym classes. Well, my friends, sometimes it’s best just to believe the hype. This is one of those times.

My roommate Jenn scored a free pass (!) to SoulCycle on Sunset Blvd. in WeHo when she got her hair done once at neighboring Drybar. Jenn isn’t a spinning fan so she handed it off to me. I was stoked. It expired on May 31 and was determined to use it before then. So, last Wednesday, I hopped over to take the 12:30 class with Angela.

(All photos are from the SoulCycle website).

When I walked in, I was greeted by two women at the front counter who could not have been more friendly. They explained the sign-up procedure, offered to rent me spin shoes (no need, I’m a fanatic and brought my own), and helped me pick a bike! No intense racing to the room hours ahead of time to “claim” your bike like at my big-box gym. This was awesome. I also appreciated the fact that they didn’t try and pressure me to buy more classes or lock me in to come back.

I got set up in the spin room and utilized the free lockers. The set-up is very “bougie” – it’s all pristine white and super nice, almost spa-like. The bikes in the studio are all extremely close together. Weird at first, but once the ride began I realized there was a reason for it.

I liked the design of the studio – there were encouraging phrases plastered on the walls that were both motivating and aesthetically pleasing. The studio itself was kept REALLY dark and was punctuated by candlelight. I am the least zen person on earth (literally) and I even liked this aspect. As soon as the music started, the adrenaline was pumping through me in a way I have NEVER experienced in any other class. It was LOUD and didn’t feel unlike being in a Barcelona club (Opium?) during a particularly bass-heavy set from the DJ.

The instructor was SO energetic and motivating, and she literally got off the bike at points and danced and bopped around. It was infectious. Her music selection was top-notch as well. Really house-y and perfect. I’m trying to talk to SoulCycle via twitter to get my hands on that playlist.

The workout itself was shorter than I’m used to – 45 minutes instead of the standard 60 – but it was intense. Light on hills, heavy on jumps and seated sprints. I also liked the incorporation of light hand weights during one song to work out those arms. The class sped by – probably aided by the fact there were no clocks in the room.

soulcycle rules.

I wish my gym would post these.

All in all, I LOVED LOVED LOVED SoulCycle and will absolutely be back. The price is borderline ridiculous though ($25  per class). I told myself I will use these workouts as a “treat” or for a special occasion. Yes, rewarding myself with exercise is a bit of a noodle-bender but it really was that awesome.

Currently, SoulCycle is only located in NYC and in West Hollywood, but they are expanding to other parts of LA (Brentwood, Santa Monica for sure), and hopefully to other major cities soon.

Has anyone out there tried SoulCycle? Thoughts?

P.S. – here’s a NYT article on the craze.