Ah, January. Fresh starts, new beginnings. It’s the perfect time of year to get back on the fitness track, now that all those gleefully consumed holiday calories are starting to make their presence known (tight waistband, anyone?). But if feelings of sluggishness or workout boredom are getting in the way, it’s easy to get one’s mojo back by mixing things up with challenging and fun group fitness classes. A bevy of inspired choices awaits thanks to ClassPass (classpass.com), an ingenious service that allows users to participate in classes at gyms and studios around Arroyoland — even around the world — without committing to memberships at those locations. Studies have shown that participants in group fitness activities tend to be more consistent in their exercise and stay motivated longer than those who do solitary workouts, so get up and check out these local options, all accessible via ClassPass, which are sure to induce both sweat and smiles well into December.
Where: Rock Barre, 1581 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 256-5555
What it is: The cardio barre class at the newly renamed Rock Barre offers a total body workout that also satisfies one’s inner dancer. Prior dance experience isn’t necessary, though, just a desire to see a difference in one’s butt, legs, torso and arms. Part dance, part fitness, the class combines barre work — pliés and relevés included — with the use of light weights. Owner Leana Rudish recently took the former Cardio Barre studio from being a franchise to a licensee, allowing her to bring fresh ideas into her business. She plans to keep the focus on dance fitness and this year will offer hip-hop, high-impact cardio and intensive stretching classes, as well as a traditional ballet technique class for adults. “Our instructors are so talented,” she says. “I’m excited to expand my offerings.”
Where: Breakthru Fitness, 345 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, groov3.com
What it is: For a completely different kind of dance experience, check out the high-energy vibe of a Groov3 class, created by Los Angeles dancer/choreographer Benjamin Allen. Allen’s technique leaves participants feeling confident, accomplished and fit — and maybe just a little bit like music video stars. As much a mental workout as a physical one, the choreographed hour is led twice a week by instructor Adam Noel Jones at Pasadena’s Breakthru Fitness (his third class, with a live DJ, is based at Eagle Rock’s Live Arts Los Angeles). Hip-hop- and jazz-infused dance combinations, which change each week, are taught step-by-step, accompanied by the hottest current tunes. “By the end of the hour, you know six to eight counts of choreography,” Jones says. “It’s not done to one specific song because the music is going the whole time. You could take the moves tomorrow night to a club and dance to any song. It’s a blast.”
PEDAL & PUNCH
Where: Classic Bicicletta, 91 E. Union St., Pasadena, classicbicicletta.com
What it is: Last June, Mauricio Gonzalez was inspired to create a new addition to his Classic Kickboxing space in Old Pasadena. Classic Bicicletta is an homage of sorts to the Colombian superstar cyclists he grew up admiring, such as Luis Herrera and Nairo Quintana, who, he says, are “in amazing cardiovascular shape,” in much the way boxers are. As its name implies, Pedal & Punch is a combo cycling-boxing class that begins with a high-intensity ride and ends with a round of boxing bag work. It’s both an upper body and lower body workout led by coaches with diverse backgrounds in music, dance, athletics and the military. Gonzalez says it’s an old-school class that’s all about fitness, not sparring. “Once you finish the cycling portion, you keep your anaerobic part of the workout going with the boxing. They both come together perfectly.”
Where: Gold’s Gym, 39 S. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, poundfit.com
What it is: If the idea of channeling one’s inner rock star during a workout sounds appealing, Pound might just be the perfect class. Described as “the world’s first cardio jam session inspired by the infectious, energizing and sweat-dripping fun of playing the drums,” participants do all their moves — squats, crunches, lunges, curls, arm extensions, leg extensions and butt lifts among them — to popular, pulsing music, while wielding Ripstix: durable plastic drumsticks that add a quarter-pound of extra weight to each move. The constant pounding on the floor and clicking in the air burns upwards of 900 calories an hour. Once found exclusively in trendy Crunch gyms, the Pound concept, which started in Venice about six years ago, has made its way to Gold’s Gym in Pasadena. Instructor Eddie Gleason puts participants through the paces of his vibrant, nearly nonstop 45-minute class three times a week. “I’ve had everyone from young people to seniors take Pound,” he says. “They all say they love it because it feels like they’re exercising without exercising.” In addition to burning calories, it’s touted to improve rhythm, timing, coordination, speed, agility, endurance and musicality. The YMCAs in South Pasadena and Sierra Madre also offer Pound classes.
Where: WundaBar Pilates, 860 E. Green St., Pasadena, wundabar.com
What it is: For a completely different kind of workout, which focuses on improving flexibility, building strength and developing control, check out WundaBar Pilates. At the heart of every workout is the WundaFormer, a patented apparatus that combines two traditional pieces of Pilates equipment, the Reformer and the WundaChair, with a ballet bar and jump board. “Our founder, Amy Jordan, calls it the Swiss Army knife of Pilates machines,” says Pasadena instructor Heather Morrison. (There are eight locations in Southern California and one in New York’s SoHo). Targeting each part of the body, the sweat-inducing moves are challenging and precise — but not impossible. “People of all abilities can do this,” Morrison says. “Our instructors are trained to take care of anyone who walks in the room — we challenge the people who have been coming for years while still making that first-timer feel like they can do it, so everyone feels successful and gets their best body.” It’s a total body workout, she adds. “You discover muscles that you never knew were in there. We’re asking you to think deeper about each thing versus just an external workout. It comes from within and that’s what we really want to emphasize: It’s strengthening from the inside out.”
For information on ClassPass’ participating studios and pricing plans, visit classpass.com.