Orange Is The New … Workout

Friday morning I tried the brand new Orangetheory Fitness  in Brentwood.   I was told to arrive 15 minutes early to get the heart rate monitor set up.  This meant arriving at 5:15am.  What was I thinking?

Parking was a breeze.   The check in process was easy. Sign a waiver, get a moist heart rate strap (don’t worry it isn’t residual sweat…they wet the straps to make it less abrasive on your skin and it helps facilitate the Bluetooth transmission to the PODS) and put around your chest.  Snap on a Polar monitoring component.

Here is a run down of my 60 minute class (I may have missed a few details):
Minutes 1 – 10:
On and off the rowing machine.  Doing short bursts on the machine then getting up and doing full body squats.  What am I doing wrong. My feet are getting stuck when I try and get out of the rowing machine.  My heart rate (there are mounted flat panels with your name and % of exertion listed) is not going up.  I woke up at 4:45am for this?  The instructor needs to explain more up front and walk us through how to set the machine, proper rowing technique etc.

Minutes 11 – 30:
On the floor doing two different circuits.  The first involves TRX and burpees.  I hate burpees (but I know they are good for me).  What am I doing wrong. Instructor is saying heart rate should be in the orange zone.  I’m still nowhere near there and I can tell by the monitor other people are getting their heart rates up.  The second circuit is with dumbbells – chest fly, skull crushers, and then abs.  Okay, I know I’m getting a workout but maybe I’m just flat out bad at this class. Do I like it? Am I glad I came.  Hmm … Still not sold.

Minutes 31 – 56:
Treadmill time.  I can do this.  I can run on the treadmill.  We do a set of intervals.  Medium pace for two minutes , faster pace for one minute , fastest pace for one minute, walk.   Now I’m getting it.  My heart rate is 96%.  Awesome. Yay me I must really be doing a great job.  I can’t remember all the different combinations we did on the treadmill. I was too out of breath to think about it.  This is good.  I’m panting and dripping with sweat.  This was a great idea. I’m so glad I got up.

Minutes 57 – 60:
The moment of truth.  Our stats are put up on the screen and we are led through some stretches.  I’m too distracted by the data.  I have real data about my workout in the form of a bar chart showing how many minutes I spent in each of the zones and total calories burned.  I’m kind of bummed by the calorie count – 404 calories.  Seriously is that all.  A tad depressing seeing some of the men burned more than 700.

The teacher explains what the results mean and I’m asking a bunch of questions.  Mainly I want to know how  I optimize my workout in order to burn the most calories.  Answer, Orangetheory (spend your time in the Orange Zone).   Interesting so maybe I shouldn’t try and run so fast?

I leave class and within a few hours I have the results of my workout emailed to me.  This is good.  I now have a benchmark and you better believe I will be back again this week to beat my results.

With the studio just opening on Friday, I expect it to take a bit of time for the instructors to find their rhythm.  One thing I hope they add ASAP is towel service.

So if you are looking for a new workout to try Orangetheory is it and they have over 400 locations.

 

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Pretzels at The Bar….Method that is

I know you’ve been doing Bar classes for years now.  I could never get my head around spending a hour  doing something where I wasn’t dripping with sweat.  Cardio was my mantra for years.   I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you sooner when you told me how amazing Bar Method is.  Well amazing may not be the right word, but I can see why you were hooked.  Holy sh&T that is one tough workout.  I’ve been going once a week for the last 3 months (well that is what I’ve been trying to do).    I’m fairly certain I’m always the worst in the class.  I have zero flexibility so things like getting my leg  up on the bar pose a bit of a challenge.   That being said, I don’t care and I’m certain nobody else in the room cares either.  We are all too busy “pushing our limits” and “experiencing the shake.”  I  kid you not, at time it feels like I’m my own earthquake but they say that is “when the change really starts to happen.”  Oh and there are pretzels at the Bar but you don’t eat them.  Instead, I think they eat your fat away.

Bottom line is I get it, I understand why people hit the Bar. In fact,  I wish I could do a 30 day Bar challenge as I truly believe I would see changes in my body.

You can find me at Bar Method Brentwood @ 6:10am on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

So cheers! Take a shot at the Bar.

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Super Fly(wheel)

I’ve been in NYC for an eternity. Okay only since Sunday but I swear one day in NY feels like 3 days to me.  I was busy with work so sorry to my friends in NYC if I didn’t reach out.  I’ll be back.  Anyhow, I had lofty ambitions outside of work. I was going to try and different workout every day.  #Fail

However, tonight on my last night, I made it to Flywheel.  It was awesome.  There are 2 Flywheel locations in LA (West Hollywood and Larchmont) but I’ve never been.  Flywheel is indoor cycling but in my opinion it is vastly different from SoulCycle and I firmly believe you can like both.

Here is what I loved about Flywheel:

– I got super sweaty (sweat is fat crying)

– It was over in 45 minutes

– Accountability – Each bike has a little computer that measures your resistance and speed (no more cheating and pretending to put on a full turn)

– Torq Boards – You can choose to have your performance display on leaderboards in class so you can see how you rank against other riders. This was super motivating as I wanted to be first.

– Performance metrics provided in your own private account (snapshot from my account below)

Looks like I’ll be heading East of the 405 more often

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I Woke Up at 5am on Purpose

I know I’m nuts.  I’m okay with it. Last week I ran into Raphael Verela, owner and creator of Circuit Works in Los Angeles. I’d been to Circuit Works a few times in 2009 and decided it wasn’t for me.  Raphael told me a lot had changed since 2009 and I should give it another shot.  I told him I would and then learned the only class I could make that he was teaching was 5:30am on Tuesday at the Main St. Santa Monica location.  When I give someone my word I stick to it.  I had a bit of anxiety on Monday night. Why in the world would I wake up at 5am on purpose.  I wake up early but 5:00 for some reason seemed like the middle of the night. When my alarm went off I think some expletives left my mouth.  Getting from Pacific Palisades to Main St Santa Monica that time of day was a breeze (10 minutes door to door/no speeding).  When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Raphael and happy to see there were other suckers ready to get their butts kicked along with me.

The class flew by as we went from 2 minute intervals on the treadmill to various strength stations on the floor.  The class had changed a lot since I was last there and I really enjoyed myself.  My idea of enjoying myself might be different from yours. When I work out I want to feel like I’m getting my butt kicked and if I’m paying for a class then I want to feel like I’m being pushed and challenged.  Raphael provided the right amount of motivation and helped keep me in the moment.  I guarantee you I would never do 95% of what we did in class on my own.  

This morning I woke up a little sore but that is a good thing.  I’ll definitely be spending more early mornings at Circuit Works.  5:00am wake up is early but seriously the benefit and endorphins I get from working out make up for it.  Besides with my schedule if I don’t work out in the morning it won’t happen.

If you want a challenge and are easily bored I urge you to try Circuit Works.  Oh and they have classes throughout the day in both Santa Monica and Brentwood so no need to be a rooster unless you have to.

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Hey Lulu, meet Will…ChillbyWill

I’ve been salivating over my friend Christina’s (and her business partner Corrina Wall) new line of workout gear, Chillbywill, for a few weeks now.  You can only imagine how excited I was to check out her trunk show at Burn60 on Saturday morning.  I’d seen a pair of pants (New Power Crop with skull insert) I wanted on her Instagram feed @chillbywill.   Saturday morning these pants became mine.  Upon returning home from my workout, I decided to put my new pants on.  Even though I’d already worked out my afternoon would be spent at the park playing handball and practicing baseball, thereby justifying my choice in workout clothes. Okay who am I kidding if I could I would wear workout clothes all the time. After all I do live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have a child.   Isn’t workout attire the default uniform?  All joking aside,  my new pants fit me like a glove.  The material sucked me in (this is a good thing) and they were beyond comfortable (not sucked me in like Spanx where I get a stomachache). The pocket on the side was also a great place for my phone and keys.  Running around these pants performed well (meaning they stayed in place, the waist didn’t fall down, etc).  I can’t wait to buy a few more pairs.  Speaking of buying them, you can order them online http://store.chillbywill.com/.

By the way the picture above is the picture I saw on Instagram.  Those are my new pants but that is not my body.  And if you don’t like skulls don’t worry there are other styles to choose from.

I’ve Got The Power

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I swear every New Year I think about how I should do more yoga. I also think about how I want to do pull ups but that hasn’t happened and I think I’m over pull ups.  Anyhow, this year after hearing my friend Carly rave about Corepower I decided to give it a try.  She told me there was a class called yoga sculpt.  Sculpt, YES, I need a lot of sculpting.  I was a bit intimidated so I enlisted the support of a good friend.  My friend was up for trying something different.  She does a lot of yoga but Corepower was new to her  We arrived and managed to squeeze our mats so they were next to one another.  We sat down on our mats and began to take it in our surroundings.  At one point before class started she looked over at me and said, “I feel like I’m in the movie This is 40.” Sadly I’m closer to 40 then I am 30 and I got what she meant.  We were flanked by beautiful young women (this place draws a UCLA crowd) scantily clad in sports bras and short shorts. Although I could say age and having birthed a child were my excuse, truth is I never looked like them. As if they were not enough to distract us, in walks a tall, dark, and very chiseled man shirtless and in what I’ll call hot pants.  At this point I was feeling amused.  Regardless of how the class turned out, I knew I’d have some material and visual candy.

Class started and the teacher, Marxel, cranked up the heat and turned up the music.  We did a series of yoga poses and the pace was fast.  Before I knew it I was dripping with sweat and loving every second of it.  I was no longer concerned with the people around me, I was more concerned with myself. OMG I was getting my butt kicked.  Push ups, mountain climbers, up dog, down dog, chaturanga push up, was there no mercy.  Sweat was coming out of pores I didn’t know I had and I felt winded – sprints winded.   I wasn’t the only one sneaking in an extra child’s pose here and there.  Anyhow, about 3/4 of the way through class we picked up our weights (I stuck with 3lb weights) and incorporated them into the movements.  You’d be surprised how heavy those weights begin to feel.

Although I was glad when we took our final savasana, I felt great.  In fact so great that I decided every weekend when possible I would go to Corepower Yoga Sculpt. I’ve now been 4 times.  I’m hooked. Marxel was out of town one of the weekends and there was a different instructor. She was great in her own way but not as hard.  Rumor has it (according to friends and other people I hear talking after class) Marxel is the hardest teacher.  I’m not telling you this so you’ll be that much more impressed with me or think I’m more insane then you once thought. My point is that each instructor is different so give it a try and see for yourself. If you don’t like to work out and don’t like to sweat then don’t go.  But if you are up for a challenge (and have consulted with a physician and are ok to exercise) give it a try.

And if you ever want someone to go with on a Sunday morning, let me know.

Better Late Than Never

I realize I’m what you might call a laggard.  I know people have been blogging for years now and that is great for them.  I decided to do this for me and maybe one or two of my friends out there will find a gem or two in what I have to say.  This blog is the vehicle for me to share the things I love.

Speaking of things I love, exercise is high up on the list. I know some of you hate to exercise. Maybe it is because I grew up playing sports, but for as long as I can remember physical activity has been a part of my daily regimen.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I finally turned 13 and was able to join a gym.  Thanks mom for supplementing my membership (I did put babysitting money towards it) and helping me get there.  These days I’m not a regular gym goer but I love to try new classes and workout with friends.  One of my favorite places to exercise in Los Angeles is Burn60 in Brentwood.

I’ve been going to Burn60 since it opened many years ago. Prior to having a child (now 7) I went  3-4 times a week. Now if I’m not training for a marathon, I try and take a class once a week.  Quick summary on Burn60. It is a 60 minute treadmill based workout.  You spend half your time on the treadmill and half your time on the floor (resistance training with light weights, bosu balls, kettle bells, push-ups, planks, etc) .  Depending upon the class, the day, the teacher, etc you might do 5 on 5 off, 10 on 10 off, 15 on 15 off, 30 on 30 off, etc.  There are 12 treadmills so at most a class has 24 people in it.  You DO NOT have to be a runner to do Burn60.  There are MANY people who walk on the treadmill.  The great thing about Burn is all the instructors give you recommendations for treadmill speeds: walker, jogger, runner, advanced runner, etc.  This morning’s class was taught by one of my favorite teachers, David Siik. (BTW I also love Keith, Nick, Julie, & Anna).  David is an incredible instructor. He is an accomplished runner and spends a tremendous amount of time crafting each class.  Oh, he’s also a model and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Today’s workout was everything I’d expect from a Burn60 class.  I ran my butt off and had my arms and abs worked to the point where they were on fire.  This to me is a great thing.  And, I saw some friends plus a ton of familiar faces I’ve come to know over the years.

If you are looking to change things up, add Burn60 to the list of things to try.  Also try a few different instructors as everyone has their own style. Oh, and after class you may be able to score some great shoes at Habit (they are currently having a sale). Burn60