As we welcome the new year, we also welcome the chance to start over, set goals and kick bad habits to the curb. Since resolutions to improve health and fitness are among the most common year after year, we’ve compiled some of the most interesting, fun workouts and cutting-edge facilities in our neighborhood to get you started on your journey to a happy and healthy 2018.
On the Mat
Yoga is one of the top fitness disciplines in Los Angeles — and for good reason. With regular practice, the exercise sculpts and tones muscles and improves overall flexibility. It also whips your mind into shape by encouraging deep concentration through meditation and controlled breathing exercises, resulting in reduced stress and clarity of mind.
For those easing into the practice, Toluca Lake’s Yogi Tree Center for Growth offers a variety of yoga and meditation classes at all levels, with special programs and retreats for adults and children. For a twist on the traditional, Hello Critter offers its popular goat yoga class at Basecamp Coffee & Eatery in Burbank.* In this lighthearted class, 15-pound Nigerian Dwarf goats roam the premises, hop on peoples’ backs and weave under those engaging in downward dogs. Instructor Jocelyn Yamasaki says that students are able to stretch and strengthen their bodies, refresh their minds and pet baby goats all in one place.
It’s inevitable that as we age, so do our bones and muscles. There are many exercises we can do to ensure that we age gracefully, however, and Pilates is one of them. Practiced on either a mat or a reformer/apparatus, Pilates is a method of body conditioning that is proven to tone muscles and assist in skeletal alignment over time. Those who want to learn the Classical Pilates Method can take private or semi-private classes at Toluca Lake’s PilatesLogic, where principal instructor Bruce Burchmore teaches everyone from celebrities to seasoned practitioners and beginners, breaking down the method in a straightforward manner and providing encouragement every step of the way. Another option is North Hollywood’s Club Pilates, a chain recognized for serving up over 2.2 million workouts nationwide since opening its doors in 2016. Its modernized group practice uses high-tech reformers and is taught by a variety of skilled instructors. Instructor Danielle Mortensen says that the all-inclusive studio focuses on teaching a mind-body connection to students.
Cycle and Spin
Charismatic instructors, upbeat tunes and solidarity among fellow spinners is what makes indoor cycling classes a favorite group exercise among those who dread cardio days. Each class burns hundreds of calories, and is the perfect exercise for all fitness levels — it’s low-impact, low-stress and, most importantly, anything but boring. For a traditional ride, Toluca Lake’s Sycle encourages friendly competition between riders with advanced bikes that track distance and calories burned. Also in the neighborhood is The Sweat Shoppe, a studio that literally cranks up the heat on the average cycling workout. In each session, cyclists pedal their way through a dynamic 84-degree session in the studio’s “Hot Room.” While all who enter the room are guaranteed to leave drenched in sweat, riders can take solace in the fact that there are numerous benefits to heat training. According to owner Mimi Benz, it maximizes athletic performance by creating faster, stronger and more powerful bodies over time, and promotes mental acuity, detoxification and improved sleep patterns.
Inspired by movements found in ballet, yoga and Pilates, barre combines all three styles and then some for high-intensity, yet low-impact, exercise fit for those who enjoy a lot of variety in a single total-body workout. The barre is incorporated into workouts to increase balance and is used by students to aid in isometric strength training that targets hard-to-tone muscles. North Hollywood’s Pure Barre offers 35 specialized classes per week that focus on cardio, strength and flexibility training. Owner Brittany Egbert says that the results of just one 50-minute barre session would take the average person multiple gym visits to achieve on their own. For another intense body-burning barre workout, Studio City’s Cardio Barre is known for its method of combining barre work with light weights to tone, define and sculpt muscle.
No time to shuffle from class to class? There are plenty of nearby gyms that provide all the equipment and classes needed to get a comprehensive workout all under one roof. The private Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club goes above and beyond its reputation as an elite tennis club with a fitness program that boasts over 50 group exercises classes weekly — such as cardio kickboxing, aqua boot camp and dance — all taught by some of the best trainers in Los Angeles. Alternatively, members can structure their own workouts with access to a heated outdoor pool, fully equipped weight room and cardio studio that features an indoor cycling component. Another gym option is the Burbank Fitness Club, a modern facility with state-of-the-art equipment and a variety of unique class offerings, like Muay Thai, Zumba and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. The gym is favored by many for its highly motivating zero-judgment community culture.
For those who want quick results, the private strength-training studio InForm Fitness is home to the highly effective Power-of-10 method, a slow-motion, high-intensity program with an emphasis on building and maintaining muscle. The Burbank location is the only one on the West Coast, making it an in-demand spot to get an effective workout with limited commitment — one or two 20-minute sessions per week is all it takes to see optimal results in no time.
Around the Neighborhood
If studios aren’t your thing, simply stepping out for a run or brisk walk each day — perhaps with your dog — is enough to get your heart rate up and your body moving. Riverside Drive and the adjacent tree-lined streets provide perfect routes with enough inclines to make for a dynamic workout while enjoying the beauty of the neighborhood.
Whether you want to build strength, endurance or flexibility, combat stress or just have fun, you’re likely to find an option that suits you in this active community. There’s no better time to get moving!
*Goat yoga is no longer offered at Basecamp Coffee & Eatery, please visit Hello Critter’s Facebook page for information on future class locations.
Before you start your exercise program, get safety tips from a local sports podiatrist in “Ask the Doctor: How Do You Run 50 Races Without Injury?”