The Best LA Fitness Options for Commitment Avoiders
It’s still close enough to New Year's that your resolution to get fit doesn’t seem untenable -- but your schedule’s a beast, shopping gyms is tiresome, and sometimes Waze lies to you, trapping you on the 405 when you really believed you might get to Pilates in time to finally give it a try. It’d be great to have an app that has on-demand workouts near to you, that you don’t need to schedule in advance, that are actually interesting -- which is where Open Sweat comes in.
Four LA guys with tech and marketing backgrounds noticed a couple years ago that along with many other things in LA, fun and trendy fitness experimentation could be made available on demand. Their idea became Open Sweat, an iOS app that lets you book last-minute group workouts at a discount. Unlike competitor ClassPass, you don’t have to buy a package of classes and then use them -- you buy as you go.
Open Sweat co-founder Neil Rothstein and his partners don’t come from the fitness industry and aren’t gym rats. And that helped them to think up a service for people who don’t live in the locker room, but still want to make time for exercise. “We definitely saw an opportunity to create a model that we think is more consumer friendly and more friendly to the studios,” Rothstein said.
Here’s how it works: You download the free app to your iPhone or iPad, register on the platform, then use it to browse under-booked classes around town. Last-minute reservations at discounts up to 50% off open up at 6pm the night before and close 30 minutes before class starts. You pay for your class in the app and then just show up to sample some of Open Sweat’s ultra-LA offerings -- like aerial performance suspended in giant silk ribbons, a yoga-calisthenics hybrid you can practice out on the bars at Santa Monica beach, or a non-workout in which you sit on a vibrating plate to try to quake off your cellulite (yes, really).
We scoped out eight local classes that reek of LA and are Open Sweat available -- in case you’re still struggling with that resolution, but can’t commit. We understand:
Anti Gravity/Aerial Yoga
At Believe studio, you can get your yoga on while suspended over the studio floor in a hammock that looks something like those earthy baby slings made from a giant scarf. The “Anti Gravity” design helps alignment, according to the class description, keeping you in good form as you combine yoga, Pilates, and aerial arts.
You’ll mix the moves of a private dancer with intense cardio and weight training to shape and harden your arms, abs, and rear view, all split into intervals. Especially hilarious/needed if you’re a big dude with no core skills at all.
Let’s let them describe it: “Imagine walking into a Hollywood night club on a Saturday Night. Everybody is there for a reason but nobody knows what to expect. The lights are dimmed, the music is loud and you will be surrounded by 26 other people as if you were in the middle of a Dance Floor at Les Deux circa 2009.” So, yeah: it’s time to dance to “Get Low.”
LA Ballroom Dance Studio
If you want to pick up some Dancing with the Stars-type moves but aren’t that into ballroom dancing, this class will prove it’s all OK. LaBlast is a mashup of all styles, designed by a DWTS alum for a good cardio workout. And if you want to sharpen your skills in the Disco, Cha Cha, Jive, Samba, Paso Doble, Merengue, and Salsa you’ll sample, LA Ballroom Dance has style-specific training. (Other styles are booked directly, not through Open Sweat.)
Babes & Barbells
If you’re a lady who wants to hoist a barbell like an Olympian, this class is for you. Because it’s LA, you must be a babe while in beast mode, “learning the classic olympic lifts, power lifts, proper form, and a variety of skills more in depth under the watchful eye of our most experienced coaches.”
PlateFit’s vibrating platform claims to intensify any workout, achieving results in a fraction of the time. The studio’s website has celeb testimonials and links to years of good press for those who sweat it out. But the good news is the West Hollywood studio has also developed a non-workout class where you sit on the plate, to shake, hum, vibrate, and whir away your dimples. Sound too good to be true? Maybe. But hopefully not?
Street Workout Academy
Get into a “global hybrid training method that combines Yin Yoga core training (which targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine) with calisthenics that include full body strength and endurance” in small groups. Classes are capped at eight participants, and some take it outdoors. The idea is to get the kind of incredible balance and strength to do out-of-a-movie things like casually do a handstand on some bars next time you’re at Santa Monica Beach.
Womack & Bowman
Dancers, choreographers, and circus performers Rachel Bowman and Brett Womack teach their aerial performance wizardry from a studio in Glendale. You’ll learn to execute choreographed movements while suspended in the air, braiding your limbs into bolts of silk as you spin, waft, and flip about. The foundation class for aerial silks is New Hang 1. Progress to New Hang 2, and eventually you’ll get to Hang Tough -- a class, not a throwback to the New Kids on the Block.
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