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

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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

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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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Kickstarter Fitness Experimenter Week 1: Box & Cycle

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David Barton Gym: Thursday Night Boxing with Floyd

As promised with the launch of my Kickstarter campaign last Wednesday, I am going to take two different types of fitness classes a week for the six week run of my campaign. Last Thursday, I took my first #fitnessexperimenter class at the Century City location of David Barton Gym. Convinced into going by my good friend and a regular of the class, I joined Floyd Weaver's 6:30PM boxing class after work. 

  • Class Set-Up: Takes place in the studio at top floor of the Century City location. Boxing heavy bags hang all around the outer edge of the space. Boxing gloves and hand wraps are not provided (good thing I have my own!).
  • Class Style: Cardio heavy! Starts off with a jump rope warm-up then switches between running laps around the room and punching the heavy bag, then goes into heavy bag drills and a sets of 25 squats, 10 push-ups, 25 mountain-climbers. But be careful, if you slack off, Floyd will take this set all the way up the 75 of each! The class finishes off with 5x going up and down the David Barton stairs and about 10-15 minutes of abs. 
  • Conclusion: A lot of cardio and will definitely leave you sweaty and sore. Personally, I struggled with the push-ups layered with the boxing drills (my arms are not my strongest muscle). Overall, I LOVED the class because Floyd is just an awesome and fun trainer. He's so full of energy and enjoys dancing during the class while we are all dying during his drills. :D
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: Members-only, pricing varies. 
    • Location: (Century City) 1950 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067
    • Parking: Free parking in the structure of the building (gets full quickly after work on weeknights)

Kinetic Cycling: An Uphill Climb with Rene

For my second #fitnessexperimenter class, I met up with my old college roomie that I haven't seen in years to take her good friend and another fellow Bruin, Rene Wiley's Monday night class at Kinetic cycling. This was my first time ever at Kinetic so I was in for quite a treat.

  • Class Set-Up: Tons of stationary bikes (as pictured) facing one corner of the room. The corner of the room has a small stage where the instructor sits and includes a big plasma TV so you can watch all the interesting music videos that go with the track of the class. As pictured, the lighting in the room gives off a signature blue glow for this studio. 
  • Class Style: You will climb mountains in Rene's classes! And I mean Mount Everest! Rene starts you off at a steady pace to the beat of this amazing mixes and then ups the resistance on you. His drills include going in and out of the saddle in increments and then slowly bringing the gear up while "giving it all you got." His goal is to get you all the way up to gear 21 (which he did).
  • Conclusion: One of the hardest cycling classes I've ever taken in my entire life. I've only tried a handful of cycling classes but I've never gone so high in resistance. But, Rene has awesome energy, provides a killer soundtrack with videos to match (Beyonce's mix was the only way I got through those hills) and pushes you to work harder, in a good way. I left the class soaked in sweat. I would definitely go back!
  • Additional Details:
    • Pricing: $19 single, $85 for 5 classes, $160 for 10 classes, $300 for 20 classes. Classes also available via ClassPass and Groupon.
    • Location: (Brentwood) 11740 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA
    • Parking: Validated parking lot in the same shopping mall
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ALEXANDER WANG x H&M - Functional or Just Fashionable?

Posted by Stephanie Su on

Alexander Wang's limited edition sport-inspired collection at H&M released on Thursday showcased bold, geometrical pieces made out of athletic materials. As a fashion and fitness fan, I was excited to see if these pieces would be functional enough to translate to the gym or if they were strictly street-style.

Unfortunately, the site crashed and sold-out before I could get my order in to test out these sports luxe duds but here are some of my favorite functional vs. just fashionable Alexander Wang x H&M pieces.



Sports Top

FUNCTIONAL - Made out of polyester, nylon, and spandex with a wrap-around design, I hope that this sports bra can actually hold-up to a good workout!


FASHIONABLE - Love this as a crop top! But, I'm not sure if there's much "support" for a work-out.


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