Los Angeles Fitness Studios

In between job searching and unpacking, I’ve been staying busy trying out all the ClassPass studios close enough to drive to without it taking 15 hours. Here are my reviews of the Los Angeles fitness studios I’ve tried thus far:

Poise Fitness, Hermosa Beach

When I walked into this studio, the two girls working were from NJ and CT. Ahhh…east coast people! I swear I’m not biased because of that…but I LOVED this workout. You start with a quick warmup on the treadmill, then move to circuits: 10 rounds of 1 minute in each of 3 stations. (Does that make sense?)

Cardio: 1 minute on the treadmill. The instructor will give you a specific incline to bump up to if applicable. S/he will also tell you to speed up, sprint, etc, but you pick the speed based on your abilities. (This also means you need to have some internal motivation and know your capabilities to really push yourself, because the instructor won’t give you a number to reach.) Every time you get off the treadmill you set the speed back to 3.0 and leave it running. (This way, you don’t have to start it up every time. Ain’t nobody got time for that!) Each treadmill is lettered (A,B, C, etc) so when you’re done, you’ll hop off and go to the next section with that letter (there are boxes painted on the floor so you’ll always know where to go).

Strength: 1 minute doing a strength exercise. There’s a bunch of different equipment (kettlebells, weighted bars, dumbbells) in each box and the instructor will demonstrate the movement for that round.

Functional: 1 minute doing a functional movement exercise. Again, there’s equipment like bands and balance pads already set out for you.

The class goes by very quickly and the workout feels extremely efficient. I especially love that they have an iPad mounted on the wall showing a video of someone doing the assigned movement at each station. (I’m bad about watching the instructor demonstrate and then totally forgetting what to do.) Afterward, my instructor sent me a sweet, personal email inviting me back for a free week. They officially won me over.

Green Yogi, Manhattan Beach – Power Vinyasa

OBSESSED. I felt so uplifted after this class. This is what yoga should always be. I loved the teacher (the flow was different from most classes I’ve been to and I learned a lot), the staff was friendly, and the studio is absolutely gorgeous. I think that’s what tipped me over the edge. There’s a little outdoor space with a water fountain where you can sit before class and I pretty much want to spend all my time there.

I wish this was my house.

I wish this was my house.

manhattan beach california

…and then you walk across the street and see this.

Stadium Fitness, Pasadena

This class takes place in the Rose Bowl. I saw this months ago in a ClassPass blog and thought it sounded so unique and fun, especially if you’re a football fan like moi.

You won't have a problem parking here, I promise.

You won’t have a problem parking here, I promise.

As a whole, it was AMAZING! The coach was so energetic and also from the east coast. +1 for him. He introduced me to everyone in the class. It was a close group so obviously it’s a lot of the same people each week (great sign!). Within minutes, my classmates were asking me what kind of job I was looking for and throwing out ideas. They also told me they thought I was 21 years old (I AM NOT EVEN CLOSE) so that pretty much made my day. I left feeling like I wanted to hang out with them all the time.

Anyway, my calves were sore for like a week after this workout. We ran a lot A LOT of stadium stairs (duh). They bring a variety of sizes of dumbbells so we also did lunges, squats, triceps (my new favorite exercise is moving a weight from side-to-side over your head, I was sore for days), biceps, and wall sits. Everything can be modified (walk the stairs instead of run, for example) so it was a great workout for all levels.

There's something special about being in an empty football stadium.


Pasadena is far from me (about 35-40 minutes without traffic) and I’m so sad I can’t go weekly. Once I get a job and have the money to spend on gas, I’ll definitely try to go more often.

Sweat City Fitness, Culver City – Sweat City Boot Camp

This is another unique class because it takes place outdoors. (I love working out outside!) The coach sent me an email before the class explaining where to meet the group, and even included his cell number in case I had trouble finding them. Very much appreciated. Regardless, it was really easy to find them and just like Stadium Fitness, it seemed like a close group of people.

The workout itself was a combination of different circuits. There was a huge variety of exercises and I loved all the different equipment like ladders, bands, and mini hurdles coupled with shorts bursts of running. (They bring all the equipment.) I don’t know what it is about being outside, but it really makes a workout more exciting.

Exhale Venice – Exhale Power Yoga

Exhale is another studio that’s also in NYC. I once got a package from Rue LaLa using credits from referring people and never ended up using it. Smart. Sooooo this was my first time there. It was a solid vinyasa flow class and the teacher was very encouraging and kind. Every time I go I want to buy some of the awesome clothes and yoga gear they sell, but so far I’ve restrained myself. I’ve since gone back to the Power Yoga class with Lauren, which is amazing. Tough, but amazing. I always leave feeling strong, empowered, and simultaneously relaxed (however that all happens at the same time, I don’t even know). She gives great cues and adjustments and I feel like a better yogi when I go.

Santa Monica Yoga, Santa Monica – Roll, Release & Mobilize

I was feeling super stressed out on this particular day. It took me a while to find parking. Then, I made it to the studio and was told to go around to their second studio in the back of the building, which required actually going outside and around the building. Not a big deal at all, but I almost couldn’t find it and was one the edge of just going home because I was already a couple minutes late. (I HATE walking in late to classes.) Thankfully I did not, because the class was fantastic and exactly what every runner needs. It wasn’t a workout; it was all foam rolling and mobilization. The instructor led us through lots of different movements to release specific muscles. I noticed a HUGE difference in my back right away. I’m so bad about foam rolling on my own and if I did this even once a week (it’s an hour-long class) I’m sure my body would be so thankful. We all know how important foam rolling is, amiright?!

P.S. They actually have a couple parking spots in the back. Huge bonus if you get there early enough, I guess!

LockBox LA, Los Angeles- Key Elements 1

This is a CrossFit gym. While I’ve never actually done CrossFit, I did a few trial classes at different locations in New York and New Jersey. I love the trial classes because they’re like a challenging bootcamp workout with a good amount of strength, but not the crazy heavy lifting. So, I showed up at 7AM (SEVEN AM THIS IS SO UNLIKE ME) for the first of their “Key Elements” classes that introduce you to their program. (They have parking! +1.) We sat down as a group for a couple minutes and learned some of their methodology. We then practiced different types of squats and burpees before doing an actual workout…which was:

  • 4 sets of 10 squats with increasing weight. I started very easy at 15 pounds and kept adding weight with each set. Ended at 65 lbs for my last set which was still pretty easy.

And then, 5 rounds of:

  • 10 wall balls (squat and throw a weighted ball up to hit a wall)
  • 15 box jumps
  • 60 jump rope (jumps? reps?)

The cutoff time was 12 minutes. I was just kind of floating along, sort of taking my time and trying to pace myself. The 4th and 5th set of box jumps were challenging. I was on the box jumps in my 5th round when the coach shouted “two minutes left”. I definitely wanted to finish the workout so I boosted my speed a bit and finished around 11:20 (I think). Is that good? Horrible? I have absolutely no idea. It was a fantastic workout that was a little reminiscent of a runner’s high and I’m looking forward to going back, at least for the remaining 3 “elements” classes.

I feel like there's a lot of text in this post, so here's a beach picture. Enjoy.

I feel like there’s a lot of text in this post, so here’s a beach picture. Enjoy.

220 Fitness, Santa Monica – Shred HIIT

When I walked in, I had to fill out a form and check off what my goals are. They were mostly about size; lose weight, gain weight, a competition, etc. I really just want to get stronger and live a healthy lifestyle, but that wasn’t an option. There was also a question about “how dedicated” I am to reaching my goals, on a scale of 1-10. I didn’t even answer that one. (Umm…some days I’m dedicated and others I’d rather drink wine?)  Still, I appreciate that they’re concerned about helping people achieve exactly what they want. A guy sat me down to talk to me about my goals and what they have to offer as a gym. Totally fine. But he approached me as if I was brand new/just returning to exercise, and I was a little annoyed at the language he used. (Just because I haven’t been to this gym before doesn’t mean I don’t exercise.) Regardless, not a huge deal. The class was a standard high intensity bootcamp-type class, and I liked the instructor’s positive attitude. She gave modifications to every exercise. One thing keeping me from going back is the fact that you have to hand over your driver’s license every time you take a class. I don’t understand?!

Barry’s Bootcamp WeHo (that’s fancy LA talk for West Hollywood) – Hard Core Abs

Back in NYC, I was obsessed with the Barry’s Bootcamp in Tribeca. I tried to go about once a week and I loved the teachers and the spacious studio. I was so excited to hear there was one in LA…even though it’s far from where I live. I mean, it’s like 10 miles…but it took me about an hour to get there, so that was a big negative. I get road rage, you know.  Anyway, the studio is very small (I kept kicking people when doing floor exercises) and humid-feeling. (I think it was the first Barry’s Bootcamp that ever existed, so I understand that space issues. I could be totally wrong but my internet is too slow to Google it.) Sadly, there’s also no smoothie bar. I know. GASP. THE HORROR. I really miss my post-workout chocolate-banana-peanut butter shake.

The actual workout was solid, as expected, but I didn’t love the teacher’s ways of motivating the group. I felt like I was being talked down to. Whenever anyone was tired and resting for a rep or two, she approached them as if they were trying to be “sneaky” and would say she could still see them and, essentially, to stop cheating themselves. Like they were lazy. I get that some people love that kind of motivation, but I’m just not that person. I’m down to try another instructor at some point but with the distance and the crowded-ness, it sadly won’t be a regular for me. (I feel sad saying that.)

THAT WAS A LOT OF WRITING. Are you still here? What do you look for in a group fitness class? What’s your favorite and least favorite type of class?

Read more class reviews here! 

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. September 9, 2014 / 11:26 pm

    Poise Fitness sounds awesome! I love circuit workouts and that sounds like it would fly by.

    • September 10, 2014 / 9:37 pm

      It IS! I’m also a huge fan of circuit workouts. I feel so much stronger and more efficient! Plus, I’m not watching the clock the entire time :)

  2. September 10, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    Umm I LOVE this post. I’m so glad you’re finding awesome fitness classes out there, but I miss you HERE!!! Great job staying fit, friend! xo

    • September 10, 2014 / 9:36 pm

      Thank you! There are some pretty awesome options…I hope you end up coming out here to visit so I can introduce you to them!

  3. September 11, 2014 / 2:09 am

    Yeah Kara!! It sounds like you are really finding your way around the LA fitness scene. I wish I had this many options for classes. My husband lived in LA back in the day he said driving was HORRIBLE, so I can understand the frustration in getting places. I can’t wait to hear more!

    • September 13, 2014 / 4:13 am

      LA definitely has an awesome fitness scene – I’m so thankful for that!

  4. September 11, 2014 / 8:21 am

    I’m moving to LA in a few weeks, and looking for some good group fitness classes. I’ll have to try some of these out!

    • September 13, 2014 / 4:12 am

      Ohhh yes! Let me know when you get here, we can try them out together!

  5. September 11, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    So cool! It sounds like you are making the most of your time and trying out some really fun places.

    • September 13, 2014 / 4:12 am

      Thanks, Julie! I’m trying :)

  6. September 19, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    You were in my ‘hood for Stadium Fitness! I love David! David and Jodie (his wife, who is also a coach) also own a fabulous yoga studio (heated vinyasa) which isn’t far away.

    You’ll need to come back and visit. I see you’re like me that you like to mix up your workouts.

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