SKYLER VALLO

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sherman oaks

Day 25: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

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Pure Barre: Sherman Oaks 

13559 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91423 

www.purebarre.com

 

Doesn't look like a lot. But it's more than enough to make you burn. 

Doesn't look like a lot. But it's more than enough to make you burn. 

Regardless of the 30 Day Challenge, I have to have a Barre class in my life at least once a week. Besides Reformer Pilates, it is by far my favorite way to tone. I have learned to like a lot of different workouts over the past couple of weeks but it also just reinforced that I totally love Barre. Call me a Barre Addict if you must.

The one thing I do not love is that little red stretchy band sitting beneath the red ball. The ball can stay. The ball I do not mind so much. Just don't ask me to throw it in an athletic way. 

Those cords shouldn't even really be called stretchy. They have hardly any give what so ever. In my humble opinion, they are what make Pure Barre difficult. The moves you will do in this class are quite similar to all barre studios, but those bands. DAMN do they add another layer.  

 

Smiling because the band kept popping off my foot not because it's fun. 

Smiling because the band kept popping off my foot not because it's fun. 

Of course we used the bands a lot today. Boy, does it burn by the time you get to the second side. It tingles. OMG my leg might fall off.

 My leg was aching so much that towards the end of the set on the second leg I threw that bungee cord off in an angry, super dramatic way. Seriously, I had to finish the moves without the cord. I couldn't take anymore. My leg was on FIRE. Just call me a quitter I guess. I'm a quitter Mom. 

I have already tackled a bunch of barre classes, and so unfortunitely for Pure Barre I am giving you the super quick run down of class. You start with the Barre march. You move to the floor for push ups, tricep dips, planks, and sit ups. Then you move to the two pounders (or three if you're a beast or something) for arms. Stretch time. Move to the bar for thighs. Place ball between legs. Squat. Up and inch, down an inch. Stretch. Move onto buns of steel. Lots of stretchy cord involved. Do some butt work at the barre then move to the floor which I demonstrate in photo. Abs (they do the weird abs aganist the back of the barre here. don't love this). Abs on mat in center. Back work. Finish off with buns yet again. Whew. Done, over and out. Give me a freshly squeezed $12 juice STAT, I deserve it.  

 

We don't actually face each other in class like this. That would be weird.  

We don't actually face each other in class like this. That would be weird.  

That's my friend Emily, you may remember her from our horrific hot cycle experience.  

Everyone is very friendly at this Studio. There were two people after class who actually WANTED to take my photos. I usually have to painfully ask someone who looks at me like a weirdo who is super into Instagram. The owner, Jamie, is almost always around if she is not teaching, and she is usually in class. She was there today, making us all look bad, of course! The instructor's name is Anna and she's tough. I have taken her class a few times before. She doesn't demonstrate all the moves like some instructors will do, but there is always someone in class you can peep around and stare at if you don't know what's going on (I do it often-sorry peeps!) I like Anna's classes though because I know she isn't going to go easy on us. I'm a glutton for punishment.

I cheated a little and have come to this studio multiple times before my ClassPass Challenge and I will continue to do so. It's my neighborhood barre studio and it feels that way. I like places that feel like home. Maybe I will see you squatting there sometime soon? 

 

Day 13: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

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CARDIO BARRE  (advanced)

12350 Riverside Dr, Los Angeles, CA 91607 

 

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Cardio Barre, you were my first love affair with all things barre. This was the very first class I ever tried when I moved to Los Angeles. I was immediatly hooked. I was so enchanted that even after that first Groupon was used up, I bought class packages. That's really a measure of how much I actually liked it. Them classes ain't cheap, yo! 

I have taken classes at both the Studio City and Hollywood locations and both are excellent. They have many of the same instructors. I love Adair, my instructor today. I actually always use my 3 x's a month on her classes soley. She's always peppy, but she's tough. I find I sweat more in her classes. She doesn't give a lot of breaks, and today she gave none. But I love a good challenge. She also has the best music selection. I am not sure who does Cardio Barre's mixes but they are sooooo catchy. They are always up to date on current mixes too. I would love to get a copy because then I might actually have the motivation to go "for a run" at some point. The only thing that could get me to go for a casual run is bad ass music. 

 

Outside of the Studio City location 

Outside of the Studio City location 

 

A very important thing that sets Cardio Barre apart from other barre classes is in the name itself. There is cardio. A lot of it! Sometimes in other barre classes, I barely break a sweat. I typically leave cardio barre with a wet shirt and a soaked hairline. But you also get the toning aspects of it. To me, it's the best of both worlds.  

I also love that they use so many dance terms! I come from a dance background, and I really do feel like I get somewhat of ballet barre workout. Whereas other barre classes sprinkle the actual dance terms in, in cardio barre, it's best to have a dance background of some degree. They will be calling out Arabesque, Attitude, Frappe, Tendu, Coupe- just to name a few. No worries though, if you don't have your ballet dictionary handy you can follow the crowd. My first class at Cardio Barre, years ago, was an advanced class and I was able to keep up just fine after years away from dance.  

Warm up on Releve

Warm up on Releve

One thing that is crazy impressive to me, I always recognize the same faces. Even after years and years of attending, the same women are still there taking class every day. It's difficult to hold an Angelinos fitness attention span for a long period of time, so the fact that these women keep coming back year after year are a testiment that it must work. I was talking to the woman across from me at the barre, and obviously speaking about my love of ClassPass - and she was intrigued. I always see this woman here. But the other woman who was beside me was like "I ONLY TAKE CARDIO BARRE. PERIOD. EVER." It has it's fans. Clearly.

 

Battement

Battement

The lone man  

The lone man  

The room is carpetted which is a little weird. Most barre studios have wood. Also unlike other barre classes, you do not need grippy socks. You do however, need to bring your own towel for the floor exercises. I know what you are thinking- the carpet doesn't smell wonky. Thankfully.  

 

Bring a towel for the floor

Bring a towel for the floor

You spend a majority of the class on your feet doing dancery things and sweating but the last 10 minutes will be spent on the floor doing your ab's and some butt tonight. Thanks girl in the blue getup in front of me for a great demonstration! 

There are some fans of cardio barre that get a little annoyed with their policies. For one, they only offer deals to new clients only. This is why I hadn't taken in years, it got too expensive. While other studios will sometimes offer deals at Christmas time, or every 6 months, this place never does it. Kind of blows. Be kind to your loyal customers Cardio Barre! Also, the routine hasn't changed much in 3 years. I could have taken this very same workout years ago. It's difficult, but there are very minor adjustments to the general class.

Despite all this, I still love Cardio Barre, and will continue to come here. The workout flies by and it makes me feel a little creative too. Check it out to get back to your dancer roots! 

Day 12: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

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Barry's Bootcamp 

14622 Ventura Blvd , Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

 

 

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Ooo Barry's Bootcamp. I've been dreading this day for a while. Everybody knows Barry's is no joke. And it lived up to the hype. 

Barry's definitely has what I would call a cult following in Southern California. They have been around for a while, and have their solid fan base. Everyone in class was super toned, fit, and hot. You gotta be in shape to do Barry's, as well as have a lot of desire. Desire is important here. 

I signed up for this class before my weekend camping adventure on Friday. I did this for two reasons, one because I knew after a weekend of booze and shitty camp food I would need a good ass kicking, and two the morning classes always fill up pretty early and I can't motivate myself after about 10 am. Short motivation window for me. 

Everybody at the front desk was sincerely friendly and when they found out it was my first time you could tell they had a little bit of pity in their eyes for me. The friendly front desk man, who may also be an instructor there (fit enough to be anyways) introduced me to Martin, my class instructor for the day. Martin was also very friendly and explained how the class would go and where to put my things. I have been to classes similar to Barry's, so I kind of knew the deal but it was nice that they didn't just throw me out there to the wolves.  

I was surprised to see that my class was completely full. Almost 40 people! There are two groups: a floor set and a tredmill set and then you trade off every 10 minutes or so. I was assigned a spot when I signed up. I had the floor set first. I wished for the treadmill set first to start getting the running over with, but you can't always get what you want. I would have asked to trade, but again, my class was packed! 

The first set on the floor began with hand weights. He told me to grab a heavy set "At least a 12 to 15". I chuckled and grabbed an 8 pound and 5 pound set. I'm not even sure I could curl a 15 for more than, say, twice. We did lots of curls this round. Then it was time to switch to the treadmill.  

 

Full class! Sorry for the bad quality. It's difficult to take photos when you aren't supposed to be.  

Full class! Sorry for the bad quality. It's difficult to take photos when you aren't supposed to be.  

Apparently it was "Monday Runday"- lucky me. I love running. While on the treadmills, Martin gave three levels of running speeds, which was always around 6.5, 7.5, or 8.5. I bet you guys can guess which number I typically took. We started with a warm up. Then we did this whole 5 minute get your best time running thing. Ugh. 5 minutes straight of running is a mile! (well not for me...but for some people) The distance I got to was 6.8. 

Back to the floor and this time we used resistance bands. Despise resistance bands. We put them under our stackables. Boy, did this make arm curling incredibly difficult. I ALMOST grabbed my hand weights because I could barely curl more than 5 times. 

 

Butt Shot! 

Butt Shot! 

Typically in classes, I think you do side runs, runs on inclines, and backwards, and all the wacky ways. But today, it was all about distance. Monday's are distance days. It included lots of sprints and long "jogs"- by jog I mean running at a pace of 7.5 or higher. I should have clocked how many miles I actually ran today but if I had to guess it would be at least around the 3 mile mark. I for sure was not doing the highest number that Martin always shouted out, but I wasn't always doing the lowest either. I never stopped to walk when it wasn't a rest period, so I can feel proud of that. 

The plank series on the floor was pretty rough. I kept slipping on the mat because of how sweaty I was. Bring a towel. What an amateur move that was to not bring one. I removed the mat and my poor little elbows were screaming on the hard floor, but it was the only way. I had to push through. We had to smack our butt with on hands in the plank. Then hit our butt with our legs. Lots of butt smacking. Good way to begin a Monday.     

We did a few more sets of switching back and forth between the floor and treadmills. I liked that each set wasn't too long. I have been to classes similar to this one before, and I thought we spend too much time running. Like it was never gonna end! This kept everything manageable for me. Still hard as hell, but I could do it since I knew we weren't going to be running forever. 

At the end of class, Martin shouted out that he loves when he can't tell the difference between the newbies and the regulars so even if he wasn't talking about me per say, it made me feel neat.  

With so many people in class, Martin only came up to me once, during weight kickbacks and told me I was looking perfect. He didn't hand out any adjustments to me, and I like adjustments. But again, with nearly 40 people in class I imagine it would be difficult to get everyone. I did see him working with the chick behind me once or twice. I am sure if I was a total newbie he would have been fixing me right up though.  

Barry's Bootcamp is legit. If you want to incorporate some cardio into your life, like me, then this is a great spot because you also get toning involved and an excellent sweat. Ohh..it's also really clean! They mop and clean the machines between every class. Which is necessary- because you will sweat! 

Day 8: 30 Day ClassPass Challenge

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PULSE FITNESS STUDIO  

In between sets at the club, I mean, gym

In between sets at the club, I mean, gym

Apparently, I do not do near enough cardio. My face has finally lost its bright red flush since this mornings class at 9:40. Today I visited Pulse Fitness Studio located in Sherman Oaks, CA. Every day of the week, they target a different area of the body and today the focus was "below the belt".  Again, good for me, because my pesky thighs like to keep all the french fries stored there. 

This class claims to burn 600-900 calories per class. AND I BELIEVE IT. The run down: You begin with about 10 minute warm up on the treadmill. I think I started on a 6 for most of this part. Sometimes you are on an incline, sometimes flat, but always a level of "oh shit I'm gonna die". After the treadmill you head to the floor for the butt and leg exercises for the next round of ten minutes.  Here is me doing a squat while everyone else is not doing a squat. 

 

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After this, you guessed it, you head back to the treadmill for what I like to think of as the "oh shit, I'm already dead" part of class. This is where the steep inclines and sprints come into play.  A slight jog is no easy feat when you are on a 10 incline. We would do 30 second sprints, 30 seconds walk, then 60 sprint followed by a minute of recovery but then we had a TWO minute sprint. DONE.  Over and out. 

 But wait, there is still another floor set and another treadmill set?? aahhhhhhh

If you're reading this. You see that I survived. Personally, this is the hardest class I have taken on my challenge. This has a lot to do with the fact that I am out of cardio shape. The floor sets are challenging, but when you have just sprinted two miles, it makes it a heck of a lot more difficult. I was really sweating. Almost sweating as much as after a hot yoga class. And honestly, I should have washed my hair today. 

 

Hoping on one side to the other, with our "heavy" weight (aka, I could only do a 5 pounder) Emily's face in the background says a million words.  

Hoping on one side to the other, with our "heavy" weight (aka, I could only do a 5 pounder) Emily's face in the background says a million words.  

My friend Emily was really brave and she came along with me for the ride today. She is also a fellow classpasser and also hates cardio so I knew she would be the friend for me. Suffering together is so much better than suffering alone.  Also, we both wore tye-dye and didn't even mean to. We were totally on the same thought process today.

Mark was the fitness instructor today. He is also the owner. He is really welcoming and friendly. Also, the perfect blend of being encouraging but not annoying. And he's cute. That is all. 

If you are looking to get into some kickass shape then I highly recommend Pulse. But be prepared to run and sweat. My clothes were soaked at the end and it's already hard for my to sit downso I have a feeling tomorrow will be a fun day for me.