SKYLER VALLO

ACTRESS | MODEL | WRITER

endurance

Hoop Dance Champion of the World

Hoop Dance, Hoola Hoop, Dance, Barre, Fitness, Group ClassSkyler ValloComment
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I'm BAAAACK. And I am always finding ways to figure out how to work out without actually working out. When I was doing my CP 30 Day Challenge last month I came across Barre Lab and I took their signature barre workout. But what really grabbed my short attention span was the fact that there was a Hoola Hoop Dance Class. Say whaaat. I want to work out like a 5 year old.

Mid Spin  

Mid Spin  

The hoola guru/instructor, Anah, was in India at the time of my first class, at believe it or not a HOOLA HOOP CONVENTION. This woman is ridiculous. She literally just floats around the class doing out of this world hoola moves. If for nothing else, you should go for the performance you will receive. One of the reasons I kept dropping my hoop is because I couldn't stop watching her. Yea...I'm gonna go with that's the reason I kept dropping my hoop.

The hoops are provided at Barre Lab. They are the biggest hoops you ever laid eyes upon. They also have a hefty weight to them. When they are heavier, they allow you to hoola better. So if you're a beginner you want to grab the biggest, heaviest hoop you see. 

A little precursor, you will look really silly silly doing this class. This class is not for the self-consious. The hoop will fall (many times). But guess what? Everyone looks the same way. I laughed out loud so many times at myself. I was having a bit of a morning and after I went to this class my energy improved about a million percent. You can't be in a sad mood after you just spent an hour hoola-ing. 

I'll give you a quick rundown of the structure of the class. You spend the first song warming up and getting used to the weight of the hoops. You begin with stretches, mainly focusing on the hips and stomach area since those will be getting a lot of attention.

Did you know that you have a side that you always hoola on? With me, I spin my hoop to the left. The class was about half and half. One girl was an ambidextrous hooper and she could spin both ways easily. LUCKY. Hooping to my right was challenging at first but I got the hang of it after I began placing one foot in front of the other, versus parallel feet. So intricate! Then we spent time catching the hoop in our hands and flipping it quickly to the other side of our body and spinning it that way. After this, we practiced spinning the hoop solely on our butts. Yes, there is a different position for this too. Then we alternated between butt-hooping and stomach hooping, all with some sick tunes in the background of course. Finally, we did some slight of hand tricks with our arms and the hoop. I could be a circus performer now. Basically. 

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We spent the last ten minutes of class grooving to our own sick-ass hoola moves we just learned. Free-style. Some sweet rap tunes were on but I was sorely disappointed when Shakira's hips don't lie didn't come on. 

The class was incredibly fun. I did sweat, but it was about 85 degrees in the studio; I think I might have been sweaty just standing there not doing a thing. I am not sure that hoop "dance" would be the absolute correct term for the class. We didn't really dance. We hoola hooped. And while I was expecting to hoola, I was also thinking I would get a bit of a cardio dance class in, too. Maybe learn a combo. It was definitely a technical, tricks learning class- a simple one at that- and it should be since it was beginner. I for SURE was not a master at anything we performed today. The level was perfect for me, and for most of the class but again, I would have preferred a little more dance thrown in with all that trick learning'. If you want to become a professional hola-hooper, learn something new, and have fun then this is class for you. 

Update- I took this class yesterday and I have a huge ass black bruise on my left hip. Who know hola-hooping could be so aggressive? I feel so bad-ass. 

 

Cool Tank Bro

Cool Tank Bro

Day 24: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

Fitness, ClassPass Challenge, Rise Nation, Group ClassSkyler ValloComment

Rise Nation 

613 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 

http://rise-nation.com

 

Super Sleek Exterior

Super Sleek Exterior

Rise Nation, I have been hearing a lot about you over the past couple months. In Los Angeles driving distance, you're nearly a different state from me, which is why I have waited so long to try you. I knew that Memorial Day would be D-Day (see what I did there?) Memorial Day not only means no traffic but in addition, because it is a holiday, the only time in West Hollywood you are going to find street parking fo' free! What a deal.

I am not a gym person. I really despise the idea of running on a treadmill and/or elliptical and going nowhere. Rise Nation is a class that is done entirely on a climbing machine. The machine is a cross between a stand up rowing machine and an elliptical (but much more difficult than the latter). The class is set to loud, high energy music- much like a spin class. It even has the little spin nobbie that controls the resistance.

They can pack a lot of climbers into one space

They can pack a lot of climbers into one space

All I can say about this workout is -holy moley. My heart. 

I was not even 30 seconds into the first song when I thought I might not be able to make it. But wait- I was like, the youngest person in the class. There was like a 60 year old man beside me and he was doing it. I had no choice. I had to push through the asthmatic attack. I don't even have asthma. 

During my ClassPass challenge  I have taken 30 minute classes. I can honestly say that Rise Nation is the only class out of the three that I truly feel only can possibily be 30 minutes long. My shirt was soaked by the time I was done. I had perspired all around my machine. There would be way too many heart attacks if this class were any longer than 30 minutes. 

I am the first skeptic about getting a full workout in 30 minutes. But this might be the one. Obviously, it hits cardio but it will also tone as well. Your arms are lifting the levers; you can make the resistance as tough as you want. You are also in a semi-squat the entire time, therefore your butt and thighs are toning. During the slow jam is when I felt my bum burning the most. It's like you are swimming through mud.  

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The only reason I got through my class today was the instructor, Adam (and the 60 year old man beside me kicking my climbing ass). Adam was so motivating and I loved all his music picks. It was like, my childhood. There may have been a couple of boybands played (Nsync obviously, not Backstreet Boys) . One thing that sets Rise Nation apart from other studios I have visited- everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. Everyone introduced themselves to me. They showed me how everything worked before class. They give you a towel too. They must know how much you are gonna be pouring sweat. Adam was so nice and he used to work at Mexicali just like me. And everybody else in Los Angeles. 

I can only describe the set as having arm choreography. During the fast parts of the songs we would be "sprinting" a.k.a moving our legs and arms like a hamster on a really big wheel. Then the slow part of the song would hit and we would punch out our movements. It's hard to explain. But all the moves went with the song slow. Similar to a spin class. But it was more fun because Adam was dancing on the platform.  

They darken the room with black out curtains. The ceiling lights up. It's a club. Personally, a little over the whole club work-out scene but if a neon light motivates some people then this is the spot for you. They have a really cute outdoor area that you can go and regain consciousness after class. There also looks like a juice bar, but it wasn't in operation today. 

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I believe that the first class at Rise Nation is free. Also, after your first class you can purchase a three pack for $30. After that it goes up considerably. If I lived closer, I might consider purchasing this even in addition to ClassPass but because I live over the hill I just can't commit. Wherever you live in LA you should try the first class! I would say this workout is perfect for people on a tight time schedule. 30 minute work-out and you truly feel like you could go eat a brunch and maybe have burned off most of those eggs benedict. I wish they had showers though, because I was glistening quite heartily. 

I will reiterate that Rise Nation might be the friendliest studio I have taken at during my 30 Day Challenge. You also get an incredible workout in only 30 minutes. Go. Just go. 

Day 22: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

bootcamp, ClassPass Challenge, Fitness, pilates, reformer pilatesSkyler ValloComment

Fitmix Studio  (The Mashup)

601 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/fitmix-studio-los-angeles-3

Located just off Melrose and La Brea

Located just off Melrose and La Brea

 

Yet another Los Angeles hybrid workout- The MashUp at FitMix- features a class of half treadmill and half mega-pilates reformer.

I spent a lot of the week doing shorter workouts (30 minutes); a very tiny part of me was "wanting" to do Barry's Bootcamp, simply for the reason of getting a good ass kicking. I remembered that it was a Holiday weekend and I could drive to West Hollywood with barely any traffic at all. THEN I remembered I had been wanting to try Fitmix since it opened several years ago. 

 

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I was intimidated by the amount of running I would be doing. The thing I like about Barry's Bootcamp is that you trade off every 10-15 minutes from the floor to the treadmill. At Fitmix, you spend 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the reformer. It would be difficult to trade off every 15 minutes with the reformer- so I get why it's done that way. But a full 30 minute run time frightened me. 

And with good reason. It was just as difficult as I was expecting. I spent my Friday evening out with friends, and yes, I drank a little too much. Luckily, I scheduled my workout for 11 am, so I was somewhat recovered by that time. However, not fully recovered. Not running a marathon recovered.

The run was tough. The instructor, Katherine was shouting out some really high numbers to be keeping up with, I'm talking 8,9,10 sprints while having inclines of 4-10. We spent pretty much the whole time doing 90, 60, 30 sprints. During the 90 second sprint we would spend one minute of it on a high incline (8). Then we would get a 30 second rest- let me tell you by the time you get your speed down to a walk it's damn time to run again. During the 60 second sprint we would incline 30 seconds of it at an incline of 4. The 30 second run was all flat, but she expected a speed of 8-10. We did this combo about 7 times. I thought it would never end. 

This was me after the run portion was over. 

Nearly dead.  

Nearly dead.  

The run was about as little fun as a person can have. I think you can tell from the photo how much I had. At least there was a lot of Jay-Z to keep my ears company.  

We then moved to the reformer which I was a little more excited about. We spent the first few mintues with a good leg stretch. We laid on our backs and put the legs in the straps and did a few rounds of circles. This felt so very nice. 

I was a little surprised that we spent the whole time on the reformer working on arms and abs. We did not do one leg exercise besides the stretching. I wondered if this was because our legs were already worked on the treadmill? And by worked, I mean SHREDDED. I wonder if all the instructors focus mainly on arms and abs during the mash up classes. I would have to come back to get a better feel for how all the classes are run.

P.S.-This studio also features Endurance pilates classes. 

One slightly negative thing I have to say- and this is kind of a general statement about pilates places in general. They aren't the most friendly environments. The instructor, held a very challenging and tough class. If this is all you care about, then Fitmix is the spot for you. However, this is not the place to be coddled. We got right into the workout, and it was business the entire time. I wished that Katherine had introduced herself to the new students. I think it's a nice touch that makes first-timers feel welcome. I spoke with Katherine at the end of class and she was really nice! I liked that she wasn't super annoyingly peppy during the class either. That can be a workout buzzkill for me. But again, an introduction at the beginning of class or to the class in general would have been appreciated.

We did a KILLER move on the reformer today. It's called the "Angel" and it's truly anything but angelic. 

 

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When doing the angel you are leaning slightly back with the straps at a fairly heavy weight. When you bring your arms out you also lift your legs at a 45 degree angle. I am fairly advanced at Pilates at this move kicked my booty. It challenges every part of your body and I was wobbly trying to keep my feet in the air. This move should be incorporated into every class and I can't believe this was one of the first times I had done it! 

This studio would be difficult for me to get to on a normal workday with the traffic pattern but if you live in the West Hollywood area I would recommend that you check it out if you are looking for an intense work out. This is not for the faint of heart. I would rank it in the top 5 most difficult classes I have taken thus far. I got my wish- I got the kick ass workout I wanted today. That alcohol is way out of my system after my class at Fitmix!