8 Classes in 48 Hours: A Guide for Evaluating New Fitness Classes
Hi, I’m Dodi! I live in a tiny, beautiful community called Telluride, nestled in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado where I run a bootcamp-style fitness business for ladies called Box Canyon Booties. My business partner, Megan, and I decided we wanted a fresh look at what other fitness businesses are offering, some inspiration, and a little dose of sunshine so we challenged ourselves to do 8 Fitness Classes in 48 hours in beautiful Los Angeles!
What I Look for When Trying a New Class:
When I try a new class, what I’m looking for is:
- Ability to modify the movements
- Energy of both the instructor and the room
Whether you have classes like the ones I describe in this post offered near you or not, I hope reading this inspires you to try something new and gives you an example of how to evaluate new activities based on how they fit for you!
Quick Note: If you enjoy variety, consider trying ClassPass - try it for 70% here! If variety’s not as important to you, find which fitness experience makes you feel alive, and inspired, so you’ll want to do it regularly.
My Rating System
My rating system is two-fold:
- Soreness Level: Soreness Level is self-explanatory, and measures how sore I was after the class. I consider Soreness Level a great indicator of how well a class is working to promote the muscle break down and repair cycle.
- Golden Sneakers: This rating compiles those attributes I mentioned that I look for in a new fitness experience- format, instruction, clarity, ability to modify, and energy. FICATME is an unfortunate acronym, so we’ll just go with Golden Sneakers.
Okay, let's do this...
Megan and I arrived in LA on Wednesday afternoon. Our hosts highly recommended Palette Food + Juice, all locally farm produced meats and veggies, and we are so happy she did! Delish and nutrish! We got ready for our first class and showed up early.
Class #1: Afro Funk Dance
- Gym/location: Heartbeat House, Atwater Village, LA
- Class: Afro Funk Dance
- Instructor: Tanita
- Time & Cost: Monday & Wednesday 730–8:25 pm, $17 drop ins, promos for new students
The studio is full of cubbies for your stuff, but otherwise is a no-nonsense space, windows to the main street, and all you need: a giant mirror and hardwood floors. Some wear shoes, others go it barefoot.
Tanita is a bundle of energy and she came zooming into the class with the perma-grin of someone who glows from the energy and love inside her. This class was full- she has a loyal following. From the first note, she had us on our toes stretching, dancing, and opening us up in freedom to give and appreciate life. She has a continuous speech of being open, loving yourself, loving your body, being accepting, encouraging, compassionate and all things lovely and life-giving. Her speech alone may be worth the price of admission for those of us who need to hear her words! But her high energy, fun, sweaty class is well worth the time and it was a perfect start to being open to the classes on the horizon.
This class is what you would expect from Afro Funk Dance class with a little bit extra. Tanita makes it special. I’d love to try one of the numerous other classes offered at Heartbeat House all day every day. The neighborhood is quaint yet funky.
Golden Sneakers: 4.5
Soreness Level: 1
After class, we stopped in at Bon Vivant next door for a tea and a veggie and hummus plate. This place is wide open to the street and has a cute and cool atmosphere. It was obviously a favorite, still bumping on a Wednesday night at 9:30pm.
Class #2: ModelFIT Sculpt
- Gym/location: ModelFIT 8067 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA
- Class: ModelFIT Sculpt
- Instructor: Lilly
- Time & Cost: Check out their schedule here. $20 for first time clients.
ModelFIT has classes in LA and NYC, so my expectations were on the high end. While the girl working up front was as sweet as can be (and gave us pointers on what other classes to check out) the instructor was not quite as welcoming. The studio itself is beautiful. The new bathrooms are fully equipped with showers, lotions, sprays and lockers. They had a wall full of equipment that I was excited to get to use. There were about 10 of us in class and we were told to grab some ankle weights and a foam roller.
We started with some simple stretching and I eagerly anticipated what was next. In fact, I’m still eagerly anticipating. We did lots of little movements and really only held onto that roller for balance. It felt like the class was a bit of a hybrid of pilates and barre classes - without a bar. We did some standing movements and some movements from a small sized step, where we pointed our toes and raised our ankles, circled them, twisted, and did these funny little baby steps with bent knees on top of the step to sort of shake it off/reset. Our instructor cued us with negative statements, “We don’t quit” rather than a positive, “You can do this, keep going!” which is a drawback to me as an instructor. I left feeling like I hadn’t gotten started.
I guess the name is fitting. Models aren’t really that fit, are they? They’re just a little fit. I think that’s where this class would get you, just a little fit.
Golden Speakers: 1.5
Soreness level: 0
Class #3: Sweat at Prevail Boxing
- Gym/location: Prevail Boxing 5957 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA
- Class: Sweat
- Instructor: Rob
- Time & Cost: 10am-10:45am First class $20 (plus they wrap you) Packages available and there are glove rentals or a “starter kit” for sale
I loved everything about Prevail boxing. For starters, the staff was incredibly welcoming and got us situated and wrapped up in a jiffy. This class was packed. The instructor Rob had about the raspiest voice I’ve ever heard! He was like the old guy in Rocky’s corner. The main gym was brick walls, hanging bags, a big mirror, and a garage door that says, “Fight For It.” We started with warm up: punching heavy hanging bags, various punching drills including jabs, crosses, hooks and upper cuts. We did roughly a minute of each for about 5–7 minutes.
They set up the workout circuit style- 6 stations and 1 minute each with about 10 seconds to transition. We went through 3 times. And I knew why it was called SWEAT. There is something about punching that makes you not want to hold back and just go for it! The stations were: heavy bag punches, squat with a heavy bar, agility ladders, paddle punches with instructor, banded push ups with curls, and then sit-up sequence. We all wore bands around our legs for the entire workout. Rob was always close by checking my form and making little corrections. After time was up with the circuit, we got in lines of 3 and did some 3 minute drills (30 seconds at each spot) in our line, ending with a 15 burpee cashout. Man, I loved this class. I was spent.
I don’t think you could limp your way through a class at Prevail boxing. It was an adrenaline rush with a fun, energetic and bare necessities atmosphere. If I could have taken all 8 classes here, I would not have been disappointed.
Golden Sneakers: FIVE
Soreness Level: 4
Class #4: Punch Out @ Basecamp Fitness
- Gym/location: Basecamp Fitness, 8714 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite C West Hollywood
- Class: Punch Out
- Instructor: Paul
- Time & Cost: 12:15–1:00pm, first class free and memberships based on # of classes/mo
Basecamp was a welcoming space and the staff was friendly and told us what we needed to know. The gym space itself felt a little “Global Gym Corp,” but it was fine. Here they use screens to help guide you in the class. Each class has a different focus, but I believe the setup is similar in all of them.
This class was really packed, so clearly many people love it. Because this particular class was “punch out” and I had just come from a BOXING CLASS, there was a little bit of an issue with my arms. They set you up in groups: A, B, C, or D and you are given an air bike already set up with your height and your name on it. You watch the screen and the time counts down from a minute and gives you 15 seconds to transition from the bike to your floor exercise. You ride the bike between every floor exercise. We did things like punch with weights, TRX, triceps push ups, burpees, shoulder presses, squat and punch and more. There were 15 movements and 15 turns on the bike for a total of 30 minutes of HIIT.
Paul was very encouraging through the class and gave frequent demos while we were on the bike for our upcoming movement. At the end we did about 6 movements of core on the floor for a minute each and it was over. At the end they gave a guy a t-shirt because he lost 5 pounds and everyone cheered for him. I do love that encouraging atmosphere.
My fault for scheduling a class called “punch out” an hour after a boxing class. However, you can limp your way through this class if you wanted to. The vibe wasn’t the best but I looked over at the lady beside me who was seriously murdering her air bike, so you can get a lot out of this class if you put in the work.
Golden Sneakers: 3
Soreness Level: 2
Afterward, we had a fantastic feast of tacos and veggies at Fresh Corn Grill. Highly recommend!
Class #5: Advanced Barre at Cardio Barre
- Gym/location: Cardio Barre 3009 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
- Class: Advanced Barre
- Instructor: Kimberly
- Time & Cost: 5:20pm-6:20pm, $22 for single class. Packages also available.
Cardio Barre was a class I needed to try so I could get it checked off my list. I’ve done it and I’m probably done with it. I know that people adore and live by this class, and I can see why, but it’s just not my style. So if it is your jam, enjoy! But you can skip this review.
The space was clean and welcoming enough. This was my first time (other than my living room) that I have worked out on carpet. The teacher was very serious and let me know I had chosen an advanced class when I admitted it was my first time. The class had a lot of that serious dance/ballet/competitive vibe. It was fast paced from the start. She turned up the BPM’s on the music so fast that it was like Alvin and the Chipmunks singing. Luckily, I have just enough coordination to keep up with pretty much every move, but this being my 5th class in 24 hours, I definitely hit the wall about halfway through. Cardio Barre was what I expected, lots of leg lift, toe points, relevés and arabesques, and little tiny weights with tiny movements. I think this might give that serious dancer the workout she loves, but for those of us who prefer a little bit higher energy and sweat, it’s not really the place.
Either you love Barre classes or you don’t.
Golden Sneakers: 3
Soreness Level: 2
After class we walked down to Rose Ave and had the most delicious small plates to share at WallFlower. The staff was easy on the eyes, the custom cocktail was scrumptious, and the beef with Thai Chili was SPICY. Yum!
Class #6: The Class at Yogis Anonymous
- Gym/location: Yogis Anonymous 1221 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA
- Class: The Class
- Instructor: Erin
- Time & Cost: 7–8:05am, $25 for one class
The space felt like a yoga studio and I had no idea what was about to take place. I thought yoga would be an excellent way to start the day considering how sore my whole body was by class #6. This class came highly recommended by a couple of girls back in Telluride, so I was excited to experience something different… I just wasn’t prepared for how different it would be.
With very little research, I would have known that “The Class” aims to provide more of a cathartic experience. The instructor, who was incredibly kind and welcoming, let us know she would push us to our edge and then try to push us some more. There were about 10 of us in the class and we each had (but didn’t really need) a yoga mat. The structure of the class was roughly 6 movements on repeat for an entire song, while listening to the instructor guide us through thoughts about how we see ourselves and how the world tries to put us down. I felt like so few moves made the class a bit boring and monotonous.
The instructor got amped up while talking about social media, “Fuck all the bullshit social media throws at you…” but then calmed herself down a bit with, “What do you say to yourself when you look into the mirror?” Many of the movements you are encouraged to shout while you move: think squat and kick while shouting “HAA!” and process as she guides you while you are in your low and pulsing squat. At the end we all shook our bodies violently and screamed at the top of our lungs to release inhibitions and whatever else was hindering us. Of course I was just wondering what the neighbors thought of all this yelling before 8am. There was no yoga, except a couple cat/cows, a down dog or 2, and a Savasana.
The Class is an experience. I don’t think it was designed to be your only or primary workout experience. The class is for people looking for a deeper, healing experience in their workout. I get this lifting heavy weight, sweating, sprinting and grunting. Some people want that release in a different, more verbal way, and The Class could be it.
Golden Sneakers: 2
Soreness Level: 2
Class #7: Abs & A$$ at The Body LA
- Gym/location: The Body LA 6015 Santa Monica Blvd #201, LA
- Class: Abs & A$$
- Instructor: Jen
- Time & Cost: First class free!
This place is cool- they have a funky black and white wall, some astroturf, some black rubber flooring, and minimal equipment: dumbbells, kettle bells, large gymnastics mats, floor mats, bands, tennis balls and a few more items. Jen was welcoming (not “hug welcome” but asks your name and remembers it and uses it) and we got right to work.
We started with some dynamic stretching in rows with jogging back to the end of the line. We did pigeon stretches and hip openers, banded lateral movements, and planks with leg movements to warm up the core. She divided up the class into 2 groups and explained what group 1 would be doing and group 2. She let the simpler movements of group 1 work with little interactions while doing timed core movements for group 2. We came back together as a group for some weighted squat work and we used resistance bands again before finishing up with several sets of abs. I liked the lack of fluff and downtime- Jen created an atmosphere of knowing why we were all here and just getting to work. I respect that. My buddy taking the class prefers more encouragement.
It was a good workout and targeted the areas advertised. She utilized our time wisely and I would like to go back to experience her full body class.
Golden Sneakers: 4
Soreness Level: 3
Class #8: Thunder Down Under at Training Mate
- Gym/location: Training Mate, 7825 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA
- Class: Thunder Down Under
- Instructor: Luke
- Time & Cost: 12:30–1:15pm
NUMBER 8!!! I was ready to throw every bit of energy I had at this class because I knew this was it. A sweet girl named Kinsey at Basecamp told us this place was one of her favorites. When she said “You workout AND you laugh,” I was sold. As soon as we walked in Luke (one of the owners) started up with his shtick: “You ladies are so hot you’re burning my retinas!” And of course the Aussie accent makes it even funnier.
There was no warm up, and they let us know, so we kind of milled around until the workout began. The gym is simple and they utilize the small space. The room is divided into 3 stations and you do 3 movements in each station- 9 movements total. They have everyone (more than 30 people) decide where they want to start. We work in our chosen station for 3 rounds doing HIIT style training of 45 seconds on and 15 seconds to transition. The energy was high, the music was loud, and the jokes were practically inaudible but still hilarious. While doing Kangaroo jumps on the steps Luke says, “If the kangaroos in Australia looked like you guls, I’d have never left!” So apparently flattery gets you everywhere and makes some of us want to work harder! I was really going for it at every station and by the end I was just a pool of sweat and tired muscles. It was fabulous. We did 9 minutes of abs with the 45/15 second sequence and class ended. Very efficient and VERY fun.
You cannot beat the fun yet hard working atmosphere of Training Mate. I just adored Luke and what he’s created. I look forward to trying his Bondi Burn class next trip!
Golden Sneakers: 4.5
Soreness Level: 4
We finished up our trip with a delicious meal at The Tasting Kitchen in Venice, and it was the icing on the cake! We had some apps- branzino and hanger steak- and every single bite was amazing. We topped the evening off with Salt and Straw ice cream, and our 8-in-48 hours came to an end.
As I write this, I have such incredible muscle fatigue and a completely full heart and belly. Thank you LA and your fitness scene! Can’t wait to do this again in another city!
Please send me some recommendations for what city, which classes, and where we should stay. I recommend this type of getaway for the fitness enthusiast/foodie who would like to have a girlfriend vacation.