Tagged "Fitness Experimenter"

Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 6: From Paddle Boarding to Twerking

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Paddle Boarding at Phins Water Sports Club

Today is the LAST DAY of my PERSU Kickstarter campaign which means I've finally completed my New Year's Kickstarter #fitnessexperimenter resolution, just in time for Chinese New Year! 

Over the Valentine's Day and President's Day weekend, the weather in LA was gorgeous! So, my girl Jess and I took advantage of the weather and I tried paddle boarding for the first time in Marina del Rey for my class #11. We both got Groupon deals for Phins Water Sports and from that one hour experience, I know I'll be going back.

  • Class Set-Up: Phins Water Sports Club is the first dock at parking lot 11 near the Cheesecake Factory. The office is covered by a small red awning that shows the Phins logo. We checked in with the lady there, locked our valuables in their storage and headed down the dock for the paddle boards.
  • Class Style: Our Groupon deal was a paddle board rental and not a paddle board class, so when the Phins employee handed me the paddle (they will adjust it for your height) and told me to get on the board, I was lost on what to do next. Luckily, the boards are pretty long and wide and standing up on them was not difficult at all. The waters at the Phins dock are calm, with the exception of small waves made by the boats, so they're quite easy to navigate. And, all the other people paddle boarding and kayaking on the water makes the environment feel very safe and communal.
  • Conclusion: Going into the water activity, I thought it would be intense and grueling. Instead, it was an extremely relaxing and peaceful experience! I absolutely loved everything about it, and I also got a great workout from it! Your arms and core get worked a lot from stabilizing yourself and paddling with the resistance of the water. If you try going extra fast, your arms get a killer workout! I'm so glad I gave paddle boarding a shot, I'm already planning my next trip out there. And, as we were leaving we noticed a yoga on paddleboards class...I think I know what my next water activity is! :)
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: $30 per hour for stand-up paddle board recreational rental. Additional packages and membership rates are also available. Package deals may also be found on Groupon (check to see if it's still available). 
    • Location: 14045 Panay Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
    • Parking: Public parking lot #11 (pay per hour)

ClassPass: Twerkout at Allure, Flexibility at Jagged, Cycling at Kinetic, and Boxing at Iron

I've been hearing about ClassPass everywhere and since this was my last Kickstarter #fitnessexperimenter week, I decided to give it a try for a week and take as many classes I could to finish my resolution, and campaign strong! So for my final #fitnessexperimenter class #12, I actually took extra classes and over the past week I tried a new twerking class with Taisha at Allure Dance Studio, a flexibility class at Jagged Vertical Dance Fitness, dropped in on Rene Wiley's cycling class at Kinetic, and Jonnie Rice's boxing class at Iron Gym. All of them were awesome classes and below is a quick summary of each! :)

  • Twerkout at Allure Dance StudioI had no idea what to expect from this new "Twerkout" class at Allure except that it was probably going to be extremely uncomfortable. But, I left LOVING the class because Taisha has a way of making everyone feel comfortable and she describes each booty move as if she's describing any other technical sport. The class starts off with a quick warm-up following Taisha's every move and then Taisha breaks down the booty clap, booty pop, booty shaking, and of course twerking. Taisha's also got a great sense of humor so she'll keep you entertained while you try to learn how to "twerk" to Rae Sremmurd's "Throw Sum Mo." :D
  • Flexibility at Jagged: This was the first time I took a full 1 hour, 15 minute flexibility stretch class. After taking Jessica's class, I am amazed at all the different types of stretches out there, and how far you can actually push your body. Using a TRX strap and yoga blocks, Jessica led us through intense stretches of the thighs, hips, back, shoulders, everything! And, if you already have your splits or bridge down, Jessica will push you further to over-split and take bridges to the next level. The class was painful, but in a good way. :)
  • Kinetic Cycling: Rene Wiley's cycling class was the second #fitnessexperimenter class I took when my campaign first started in January. His cycling class was so good (and intense) that when I saw it on ClassPass, I had to take it again. Full review is available on Week 1's entry here.
  • Boxing at IronIron Boxing used to be my go-to when my good friend Leyon Azubuike had his previous ABA Boxing Academy there. Even though he has left Iron (and is opening his own studio soon!), another one of my favorite trainers Jonnie Rice still teaches boxing there. Seeing Iron on ClassPass, I took advantage of getting to see Jonnie Rice and catch-up on boxing. Jonnie's boxing classes are circuit style, with groups rotating between conditioning, heavy bags, and mitt training. With several trainers in each class, you get plenty of mitt time with awesome trainers that keep a constant eye on your form!

ClassPass Details - ClassPass membership is $100 per month and allows you to take unlimited classes every month from their menu of studios. The stipulation is that you can only take up to 3 classes per studio, per month. But with so many studios to choose from, you can easily take the same activity (ex. yoga) multiple times a week, but just at different studios. It's a great deal for those who prefer classes over the gym!

Thank you so much for following along on my 6-week #fitnessexperimenter and Kickstarter campaign journey! My campaign ends at 5:00PM PST so there are only a few hours left! Thank you so much for helping me get this far. <3 Even though this is the end of my campaign and "fitness experiment," I plan on continuing to take different classes because I enjoy it and I'll be sure to post about any interesting experiences here! :)



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Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 5: Circus Speed

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Aerial 101 at Cirque School LA

With week 5 already completed, we have less than a week left of my PERSU Kickstarter campaign! I've always been curious about seeing the Circus school in Hollywood so when a Groupon deal for the place showed up last week, I bought it immediately. Since I've never tried aerial classes before, for my #fitnessexperimenter class #9 I took Aerial 101 at Cirque School LA in Hollywood. 

  • Class Set-Up: The set-up space of Cirque school is one large, open playground with aerial silks, hammocks, and trapeze hanging from the ceiling and padded mats on the ground. Multiple classes can be in session with groups staying in separate areas. The place reminded my of my childhood gymnastics gym but with circus equipment instead of balance beams and uneven bars.
  • Class Style: The class starts off with a warm-up using over-sized exercise balls. We did stretches and core work on the balls to warm-up and loosen up. After the warm-up, we start off with trapeze. Since this is an introductory class, the instructor taught us how to properly pull yourself up and sit on trapeze as well as leg hangs and pike from the bar. I've never done this before and I can tell you I had callouses start to show up within 10 minutes of practicing on trapeze! The last half of the class, we split into two groups and rotated between aerial silks and hammocks. On aerial silks we practiced climbing with different foot hooks and split silks. On hammocks, we practiced straddles, belly hangs, and cross-over arm exercises. The class ends with a quick stretch cool-down.
  • Conclusion: Aerial 101 was very interesting and fun to try! Swinging trapeze is definitely not as easy as it looks and climbing silks is a unique and different feeling. To climb a piece of fabric by hooking your foot securely in the fabric and pushing off makes you think about how creative human beings can really be. :) I enjoyed all three aerial stations we did, especially the hammocks because I could've hung in the inverted straddle all day. :D
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: $25 per class for 101 students. $35 per class for any trickster students and/or classes. Class package deals may also be found on Groupon (check to see if it's still available).
    • Location: 5640 1/2 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
    • Parking: Meter street parking

SpeedX Brentwood

Recommended through a friend, I woke up twice the last two Wednesdays at 6:00am just to make Cleveland's 6:30am class at SpeedX in Brentwood for my #fitnessexperimenter class #10. The class was so good (and hard!) the first time that my friend and I went back for seconds. While I was never a morning person before (especially when it came to exercise), I think that this class has changed that for me because now I know I won't die if I work out hard in the mornings. :P

  • Class Set-Up: The Brentwood SpeedX location is one large room with stations all around to accommodate the circuit style training of the class. There are rowing machines, stationary bikes, weights, boxes (for box jumps), weighted balls, kettle bells...etc. This is one of the few fitness facilities I've been to where there is no mirrored wall but given how intense this class is, you probably don't want to see yourself working that hard anyway.
  • Class Style: I knew this class was going to be hard when Cleveland announced the warm-up as tabata style jump-rope followed by a series of weighted squats, half get-ups, single leg deadlifts, and more, followed by a 200 meter run. After this intensive warm-up, Cleveland goes through all the stations that you will have to complete by the end of the class. The first time I took the class, each station was to be completed by sets and finished with a 200 meter run. The second time I took his class, each station was tabata-style with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off 10x before switching to the next station. Both classes were hard and examples of his stations include: overhead squats with weighted bars, deadlifts with weights, box jump burpees, hollow-rock abs, and throwing weighted balls against the wall. 
  • Conclusion: Absolutely the most intense class I've ever taken besides Leyon Azubuike's boxing classes. I've never done so much in just one hour, AND at 6am! This class is awesome and I highly recommend those who like high intensity workouts to try it! 
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: $25 per class and a variety of class packages. Classes may also be found on ClassPass.
    • Location: 11755 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 40, Los Angeles, CA 90025
    • Parking: Validated 90-min parking for $1.50 in the building's parking structure
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Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 4: Chisel & Ballet

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Pacific Arts Center's Beginning Ballet

4 out of 6 weeks completed in PERSU's Kickstarter campaign! Last week, I decided to try beginning ballet with Shiva at the local little Pacific Arts Dance Studio in Westwood for my #fitnessexperimenter class #7. The last time I did ballet, I was 9 so this was pretty much a first for me. 

  • Class Set-Up: Shiva's class takes place in the smaller room in the dance studio with portable ballet bars. All ages are welcome at this class! There was a tiny 5-year old girl as well as one person older than me. 
  • Class Style: Shiva starts us off with a basic warm-up and goes into a variety of plies, demi pointes, grand pas, coupe, sous sus, arabesque, and additional french terms that I don't remember lol. All I know is that there were lots of jumps and I definitely felt my calves working. Halfway through the class, Shiva leads us through flexibility drills on the floor. The last half of the class consisted of leaps and spinning drills across the floor.
  • Conclusion: It's not often that I find beginning ballet classes for adults so this was a great experience to try! I've taken barre fitness classes in the past but now I know that the real thing (ballet) is so much different! And really difficult! In Shiva's class, the speed of the ballet moves is far quicker and tighter than barre classes so you definitely feel the legs working. You also get a mini French lesson from all the vocabulary used in the class haha. 
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: First time class is $10. Class packages available at different tiers.
    • Location: 10469 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025 
    • Parking: Tiny parking lot behind the studio so best recommended parking are the meters in front or residential parking on Thayer. 

Crunch Gym's "Chisel"

 I've always heard that Crunch Gym had some of the best fitness classes so last Sunday, I signed up for a free one-day pass to the Sunset location to check them out myself. I took the 10:00am "Chisel" class with Debbie. The 9:00am Powerwave Battle Roping class was just finishing up and I was able to see the tail-end of it (pictured above). The back and forth drills with two long ropes looked really interesting - definitely need to try that one day! Back to "Chisel" - it was my first time trying any calisthenics and weights class like this and I loved it!

  • Class Set-Up: Chisel was in the main, large room upstairs at Crunch. Following the lead of other students, I grabbed a step-up, mat, weights, weighted bar, and resistance bands to set-up for the class.
  • Class Style: So much is done in one hour in that class! We start off with light stretching then quickly go into aerobic moves with weights, lunges, squats, and mountain climbers both on and off the step-up. Both arms and legs get worked with the incorporation of weights and the weighted bar. The class ends with our backs on the slanted step-up with pilates moves, resistance bands, and hardcore abs. 
  • Conclusion: I was surprised with how much we were able to do in just one hour. I felt that every part of my body was worked, and in interesting ways. The set-up required quite a bit of equipment but it was well worth it! The resistance band work on our legs and thighs at the end was particularly painful - I felt sore for days after! If Crunch Gym was closer to my home, I would consider joining. Not only was the class good, they had many other fun classes on the schedule (pole, cycling, broga and yoga, buti, battle rope) and a well-equipped facility.
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Members only, pricing varies.
    • Location: 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046
    • Parking: Free validated parking for 2.5 hours in the shopping center it's in
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Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 3: LA Fitness Finds

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Griffith Observatory Hike: The Best Views in LA

We're into the third week of my Kickstarter campaign - halfway through! Since we were having beautiful 80 degree weather in Los Angeles over the weekend, I decided to try a new hike for my #fitnessexperimenter #5 activity. I've always heard that the Griffith Observatory had the best views of LA so my friend Meredith and I decided to head east for a Sunday afternoon hike.

  • Hike Experience: We started the Griffith Observatory hike at the famous Trails Cafe located at the bottom of the hike. There are two routes up to the observatory and we chose the steeper one for more of a challenge. The trek was a steady incline up clear, wide paths with looking points and increasingly stunning views of LA and the Hollywood sign all the way to the top. One particular lookout point gave 360 degree views of the beautiful city. 
  • The Griffith Observatory: Once we arrived at the very top, we were met with the grand Griffith Observatory and plenty of picture perfect opportunities. Since it was Sunday, the exhibits were very busy so while we didn't go in, plenty of other visitors did. Instead, we opted to stay on the platforms overlooking the city to enjoy the breathtaking views. 
  • Conclusion: The views of the city this hike provides is well worth the trip! The hike itself is quite easy and not very strenuous, with our tracker calculating 2.9 miles for our total round-trip. The nice break at the top is another plus! I am definitely going to do this hike again because I loved the lookout points, and I want to try eating at Trails Cafe next time! :)
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Free!
    • Location: 2333 Fern Dell Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (this is the address of Trails Cafe which is right near the base of the hike)
    • Parking: Free parking outside of 9pm-6am I believe! Plenty of cars parking along the side of the road all the way to the base of the hike plus parking spots near Trails Cafe

220 Fitness: Strongboard HIIT

While researching some of the most interesting fitness classes in LA, for #fitnessexperimenter, I came across 220 Fitness from an article on Greatist. Located on Main Street in Santa Monica, this boutique gym had a long and eclectic list of workout classes. After reading all the descriptions and coordinating with my friend Jessica, we decided to give Strongboard HIIT a shot after work. 

  • Class Set-Up: Located on the second floor of the gym, Strongboard HIIT was led by Scott in a fairly small room with one mirrored wall, and nice ceiling to floor windows in the back. Each person was given a Strongboard and light weights to use for this interval training class. According to the trainer, Strongboard was created by a couple in Marina Del Rey and recently introduced into 220 Fitness so the class is fairly new to their schedule. The Strongboard is essentially two boards with springs in between them.
  • Class Style: 30-second to 1 minute intervals of a variety of exercises using the Strongboard. The different exercises we did included push-ups, mountain climbers, and planks - all with our arms propped on the board. We also stood on the board to do variations of squats while holding weights and doing bicep curls and arm raises. This HIIT class opens and closes with ab exercises that have us sitting on the board.
  • Conclusion: Doing exercises on the Strongboard reminded me of the same feeling of performing workouts on the half Bosu balance ball except the Strongboard was a lot easier to do because of its design. I liked that the exercises with the Strongboard seemed to work a lot of your small stabilizing muscles. Overall, the class and product was interesting and while I may or may not go back, it was a cool class to try.
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Members only, pricing varies
    • Location: 3002 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
    • Parking: Limited free parking behind the gym plus public and street parking 
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Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 2: Getting Fit Unconventionally

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Fit Booty Barre in San Diego

We just finished week 2 of my Kickstarter campaign for PERSU Collection which means I've completed two more #fitnessexperimenter classes! Since it was a 3-day weekend, I took a trip to San Diego to visit my boyfriend and checked out his favorite gym - Fit Athletic Club. Fit is one of the best gyms I've ever stepped foot in. With a city-view rooftop pool, patio with a view right in Petco Park, and top-notch facilities this gym is like being in an "athletic" resort. Fit has a ton of cool classes but since I only went for a day, I chose the Fit Booty Barre class with Sofie for my third #fitnessexperimenter class. 

  • Class Set-Up: Takes place in a their main studio with cool circular windows facing the main floor of the gym. Portable bars are pulled out from the wall to make 4 sets of bars in the middle of the room. We're all instructed to grab a mat and weights as we find a spot next to the bar.
  • Class Style: This class kills your legs! Sofie runs you through a quick stretch warm-up then goes through various "plies" and "passes" on repeat. Mid-way through the class we use our weights to incorporate arm exercises like tricep extensions and curls while repeating the same ballet moves. A the end of the class, we finish with a lot of jumps and get on our mats for core work and planks. 
  • Conclusion: I definitely felt a my legs, calves, and glutes working during this class! I've taken Cardio Barre classes in the past and found Sofie's class just as good, and left me sore for days. It's a great deal for Fit gym members since all the classes are included. I hope they open a Fit in LA one day!
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Members-only, pricing varies
    • Location: 350 10th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
    • Parking: Free 3-hour validated parking in the building structure

Pole Dance Fitness with Emily Wu

I tried a unique form of fitness for my class #4 of #fitnessexperimenter. Pole dance fitness is something I've taken on and off for the past couple years with the sweetest teacher on earth - Emily Wu. Usually I go to Pacific Arts Dance Studio in Westwood but recently they discontinued Emily's pole dance fitness classes so in order to visit my teacher and friend, I tried her Pole Vixen class on Tuesday nights at Evolve Dance Studio in mid-city LA. 

  • Class Set-Up: The studio includes two conjoined spaces with plenty of poles to go around so that each student has their own. One room (pictured here) includes high ceilings and tall poles (~11ft) and the other room has shorter poles (~9ft). Both rooms have a mirrored wall so you can see yourself attempt the various pole tricks.
  • Class Style: Emily takes us through a thorough warm-up that focuses on increasing flexibility and stretching out all your different muscles groups. After the warm-up, Emily goes through various pole tricks one at a time by demonstrating first then walking around to spot each person. This Pole Vixen class included invert tricks (twisted grip), handstands (butterfly), climbing (upside-down elbow hold), and spins. Luckily, Emily has a variation for every trick so she can adjust it to each student's personal level. She ends the class with a 2-minute freestyle and a light stretch.
  • Conclusion: I loved the class, mainly because I love Emily! She's an excellent teacher so regardless of where she teaches, her classes will be great. The physical location of Evolve Dance Studio is not my favorite but it's worth the trip to learn from Emily. With my new student class package deal in hand, I will definitely go back to try some of Emily's other classes. :)
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Multiple options and packages available depending on the type (dancefit, pole, aerial). New student packages available ($39 for 5 dancefit classes, $39 for 3 pole classes, $39 for 3 aerial classes). Regular student class packages at 3 levels - $139/month, $89/month, $79/month. Drop-in prices range from $18-$30 per class. Class package deals may also be found on Groupon
    • Location: 5872 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019
    • Parking: Street parking (free after 6pm) or you can park in the Von's lot across the street :D
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