SKYLER VALLO

ACTRESS | MODEL | WRITER

Crossfit

Day 15: The Halfway Point!

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BRICK CROSSFIT  (Kickboxing Edition)

7811 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, 90046 

Pink Gloves- they most have known I was coming to class 

Pink Gloves- they most have known I was coming to class 

It has been a tough couple of weeks in the acting world for me. This led me to the desire to really want to hit something. Thank God for punching bags. What a release! 

As soon as I started my Classpass, my friend Sam (pictured above), has been trying to get me to take kickboxing at the gym she works and attends, Brick CrossFit. I would have loved to attend sooner, but the class falls on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 am. Anyone coming from the Valley to West Hollywood knows that this commute is hella bad. I had to work up the courage and energy to make it happen, and I even have a full day off. It still seemed daunting. I gave myself 45 minutes to get there and my Waze took me over the canyons into some really wonky roads. But I made it! With 5 minutes to spare. 

I have taken many cardio kickboxing classes before, but I have never hit the bags. I am so thankful that I had Sam there to help me because she gave me an extra set up of wraps and helped me navigate how to cross them over my fingers properly. Also, they had an extra set of pink gloves at the gym for me. How cuuuute. I can't believe some ripped guy hadn't already snagged those babies up. 

The instructors name was Peter and you could tell he had definitely done this possibly for a living before. Boxing, that is. He was obviously ripped but holy moley, the force with which he hit that bag was shocking. The bag was swinging in the air. When I hit the bag, it didn't move a centimeter.  

We warmed up on the jump rope. Not especially skilled on the jump rope myself but I made it work. We paired up, there were two (sometimes three) people to one bag and we would switch off turns after Peter gave us the combo. First we began fairly simple with a punch and a kick. We would both take turns and then he would add on to that combo with another uppercut, side kick, punch series. Practice. Then add on again. This was seriously getting hard to remember this combo. By the time we got to the third addition, I was struggling!  

 

I like, kind of look badass here, no? 

I like, kind of look badass here, no? 

The way we did these combos reminded me of a dance class. I was realizing that boxing is an incredible workout for your body and your mind. You are constantly having to think of the next move. It's also a head clearer- you can't think about anything else shitty in your life going on because you really have to be on point with your moves.  

I was dripping sweat, btw. I think sneaky Pete may have turned the heat on, which really wasn't necessary because I still would have been a sweaty mess regardless.  

I got instructors from Peter to move my hips more when I was hitting the bag. Also, I was kicking the bag with the wrong part of my foot. Ahhh, there is alot to remember here! Sam also told me to lift my leg up like a male dog peeing on a fire hydrant. That was also quite valuable information. 

Bags on the side, Sparring in the middle

Bags on the side, Sparring in the middle

The most difficult of class for me was when we left the bags and headed to the middle of the floor for sparring with our partner. Not only was the combo difficult to remember but here I am, kicking and punching my friend who has a pretty face and body and I really didn't want to hurt her. Not that I probably could because let's face it, my kicks were pretty weak. But still, she's an actress too- don't wanna screw up that money maker. Thankfully, Sam was really patient with me even though I was terrible at sparring and kept barely touching her like a church mouse. 

We ended class switching from the floor to the bag. On the floor we were holding planks and mountain climbers. On the bag we were punching as fast as we could. We would do it twice, then 4x, then 6x, all the way up to the count of 20. Then we headed back down the scale. Then we did this with kicks. I was super exhausted by the point and sweat was rolling into my eyes. It's tough to see this way. But with gloves on, it's the only way.  

Guys- I really loved this class. I could for sure see myself incorporating a boxing class into my weekly routine. So far, it's at the top of my list for classes I would like to continue with. I WISH Brick was closer to me, because the commute is deadly. There are some boxing classes near me, I will be checking them out soon. Guess it's time to buy myself some pink gloves!  

Day 3: ClassPass 30 Day Challenge

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The good news is: I have full use of my arms again. CrossFit killed. I couldn't sleep on my usual sleep side because my left shoulder was VERY angry at me. I also couldn't pick up my dog, Toby. He is a little on the obese side, but no doggie snuggles yesterday was sad. I sat down on the floor to eat dinner (because yes, I am super fancy and eat at a coffee table on the floor in front of the tv) I actually do own a kitchen table but have used it a total of two times. I digress- I had to have my boyfriend legit pull me up from the ground from my coffee table dinner.  

Again- Why, oh why, do these super-humans put themselves through crossfit? 

I wasn't planning on taking Wednesday off, but I couldn't sit down on the toilet, much less have a work out.

So today, I treated myself to something I know. Something I love. Reformers pilates. Back in my element! 

I signed up for Forever Young Pilates, in North Hollywood taught by Rachel Rankin.  I actually know Rachel from other classes around town.  It appears we enjoy the same work-outs.  Also, she's a babe.   

I signed up for a "semi-private" class.  Most reformers classes are small, 6-10 people, so that is what I was expecting from FYP.  I was shocked when it appeared as if there would only be one other student in class besides myself. There were only two reformers. "Sem-private" turned out to be more like my own private little lesson- just another chick was along for my ride.  I was super pysched because I would get a lot of individual attention but also kind of terrified because I could still hardly move from my previous workout. Please go easy on me Rachel. 

The semi-private class only has two reformers

The semi-private class only has two reformers

What I really liked about Rachel is that she understood that I was almost immobile and didn't put too much weigh on the machines. With other pilates places, I sometimes feel like they stack on too much weight. FYP is classical pilates. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but to me, it means that it isn't like Pilates Plus or WundaBar, which is like pilates on crack, the classes are super fast classes and include cardio, like jumping on a jump board. Classical pilates is a much slower burn. It was just what the doctor ordered.   

The woman who was working out beside me was talking about how she just took Soul Cycle yesterday and how it was TOO EASY.  Dear Lord.  For those of you who do not know, Soul Cycle is the super hot, celeb, sort of heated, cult like, spin workout right now.  Workout partner lady said that this pilates class was way harder. It's so funny, because I have a feeling I would think the opposite.  Not that I will ever know, because Soul Cycle is like one trillion dollars a class, and is not on ClassPass so I won't be experiencing it.  However, the day for a cycle class IS creeping up on me.  I will have to give in sooner than later.  Expect some major complaining, like crossfit style complaining. Sorry folks. Can anyone recomend a "fun" cycle class in Los Angeles to me?

I really like Rachel and we have fun chatting about all of the class options available on ClassPass.  She says she keeps canceling her own classes so she can take classes everywhere else and so it is dangerous to her. I wish I was that ambitious. She corrects my form whenever I pop my hip up, or do something funky with my leg. She knows what she's talking about. Also, I read on some pamphlet that she used to be a figure skater. That's my goal in life, to become a figure skater (I'll be a late bloomer) so I am hoping that someday she can teach me how to do a double axel in addition to fixing my knee placement on a reformer.

Tomorrow I am signed up for something really different!  It's a stationary surfboard set in the sand. I cannot surfboard in the water so let's hope I am better at it on the ground.  Hang ten. 

Leg circles on the reformer

Leg circles on the reformer

Day 2: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

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I look happy to be there, but inside I am dying.

I look happy to be there, but inside I am dying.

I got extremely ambitious with my second day of the challenge and attempted Crossfit. Now, I have tried Crossfit many moons ago and it was an awful experience originally. I also believe that I barfed after that first class about three years ago. The first time, I did not get a lot of explanation about how to do the moves properly and I ended up not being able to work out for about two weeks after.  Obviously, I went to the wrong spot and most crossfit classes are NOT like this.   But, because of this experience I was extremely hesitant to try crossfit.  

Today I decided to try out Crossfit Horsepower Studio City,CA.  This is one of the biggest buildings I have seen for a crossfit place. I often see the poor souls running on the sidewalk and think to myself, thank God I am not doing that right now.  Don't these people know it's 100 degrees outside!  Lunatics. Today, I was going to be one of these crazy people.

I decided that my first class should be the cardio flex class which is described as having a "boot camp approach of group fitness classes with the functional feel of Crossfit. No heavy weights! But no sitting around! Your muscle tone, flexibility, heart and lungs will never forget it!"  There were a lot of exclamations in this description so I was already hesitant. But the no heavy weights thing appealed to me. You might not be able to tell from looking at me, but I'm not the strongest girl who ever lived.  

The instructors name was Jen. She was extremely pretty and also one of the most fit women I had ever laid eyes on. Also she had nice hair. When I walked in she was coaching the class before mine started which looked super intense. Lots of very fit dudes jumping on extremely tall boxes. Ugh, I hate jumping. I really hate jumping. Please don't let there be jumping in my class. Back to Jen, I talked to some cross fitters after class and they pointed out that she is a celebrity trainer on The Biggest Loser, it was Jen Widerstrom.  Neat! By the way, she was extremely open and approachable. She explained proper form to me and also explained how I could do a pull up. I hadn't done a pull up since the second grade.  Jen commanded a strong presence. I want to be her friend.

Obviously, I survived class. But there were some moments that I wanted to keel over and die.  We started out with a 800 meter run, it was only 80 degrees outside so basically it was like winter in LA.  Then we partnered up and tossed medicine balls back and forth really fast! I was extremely nervous about this part because catching a ball has never been my strong suit. Then we did sit ups and passed the balls.  Then we did leg lifts and passed the balls. I was really hoping that there was no more ball tossing after this because I got really lucky and caught it every time! Warm up complete!

Then we got to the good stuff. We began with a 500 meter row. Then we did a 10,9,8 section where each time we did it 10 times then once completed we started over and did it 9 times. You get the picture.  I have included a photo to show the reps. The hardest part was clearly the pull ups. Pull ups! I can't even do one. Luckily, they have these elastic bands you put your foot in and it helps you cheat a lot. But it was still like, the hardest thing I have ever done.

I would like to point out that all of the women in this class were BAD ASS. They were completing every rep so fast! Beating all the dudes. It was really impressive. I mean, I wasn't one of these women but yay, girl power for them!

I talked with some of the other attendees after class and they agreed that this was probably one of the most difficult cardio flex classes and that it was pretty much a regular crossfit class but only slightly less weight.  I am so relieved that other people thought it was hard.  I didn't feel like such a wiener. 

Again, I was dreading this class all morning. But afterwards, and now, I still feel really electric and alive! I was so inspired that I went to the grocery store and bought a chicken that I could eat for lunch! Protein, rarr! I also bought carrots.  I wonder how much weight I lost today after being so healthy?

I think I would take this class again, someday, but I hope Jen is the teacher again so I can work on solidifying our budding friendship. 

I DID IT!