After more than two years of inconsistent workouts (thanks a lot, Netflix), I randomly decided to challenge myself to attempt 30 different workouts in 30 days. If this sounds insane, it’s because it is. It’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done. As someone who tends to stay inside her comfort zone when it comes to fitness—I generally find a class and stick with it like glue for years—it was incredibly daunting to try a new, unfamiliar workout every single day. When it came to physical comfort though, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all. Though I basically dreaded my workouts every single day, once I conquered a class, I felt better than I had in months, maybe even years—not just physically but mentally too. It might well be true that exercise has the same effect on happiness levels as an anti-depressant. There were many, many days I wouldn’t have bothered with a workout if I hadn’t made this (work-related) promise to myself, and now that it’s completed, I wish someone would make me do it all over again. I highly recommend you grab a ClassPass and try your own 30 Day Challenge. I can almost guarantee it will change your life. If you do, use #30DayChallenge to help us all stay motivated!
Tracy Anderson MultiTAsk Band
Studio: Tracy Anderson Class: Multitask Band About the workout: Tracy is probably the best-known trainer to the general public (as Gwyneth Paltrow's longtime trainer and business partner, though she also has Jennifer Lopez's body to recommend her along with a host of other celebrities). Her MultiTAsk Band class combines 25 minutes of deTAil band (strengthening exercises using resistance bands strung from the ceiling) with 25 minutes of band-based cardio. The exact workout changes weekly. My experience: I have to be honest—I didn't want to love this class, as it's on the pricier end of the spectrum; however, true to form, I absolutely loved it (I can also blindly choose the most expensive piece from a magazine spread as the one I most covet). The environment of the studio was no-nonsense—there was no hand-holding or cheerleading—but the veteran women taking the class with me were incredibly supportive. One of them was, I swear, more than twice my age and used the toughest bands the entire class while I used the easiest bands and still found the workout to be incredibly challenging. Unlike some tough classes, however, it was also fun and empowering. One woman told me the class was so addictive that her husband often joked she'd soon be the most toned homeless person in the valley. I definitely feel her, and will be going back daily as soon as I win the lottery. Tip from the studio: "The best way to get the results you want from your fitness program is consistency. Setting a date with your workout, being focused and having fun are guaranteed to give you the results you desire—most clients will see results with inches lost, muscle tone and endurance after the first two weeks of consistent class participation. You can also sign up for our real-time video-streaming program, which provides you with Tracy Anderson class access no matter where you are!" [Editor's note: The streaming program is $90/month for access to one streaming class per week.]
Studio: Pop Physique Class: Pop Sculpt
About the workout: "Pop is an isometric workout—it uses precise and repetitious movements to target all the major muscle groups in the body," says founder Jennifer Williams. "It's incredibly safe—as you only use very light hand weights and your own body weight for resistance—yet super efficient and effective. What really sets Pop apart is the incorporation of ballet technique from my years as a professional ballet dancer. You by no means have to be a dancer to do the workout, but you will see results that you would from taking ballet class. Clients truly tell us that after just one class, they see muscles firm and tighten. If you do this workout regularly (three to five times a week) for 30 days, you will be blown away by the results."
My experience: I attend Pop Physique pretty consistently, so I knew what to expect going into this class. As someone whose fitness goal is toning more than weight loss, I find Pop Physique pretty effective in terms of keeping things tight, and it never gets "easy" no matter how many times I do it.
Tip from the studio: "In my experience as a teacher and a client, the best workout is the one you incorporate into your lifestyle versus a quick-fix approach to fitness," says founder Jennifer Williams.
Studio: XO Fitness Class: Cross Over
About the workout: XO Fitness classes combine a variety of disciplines—Pilates, cardio, boxing, circuit training, weights and even some yoga to unwind. It's a low-impact, high-energy, fast-paced, fun and completely comprehensive workout. "If you take three classes per week, you will feel a difference in your body in two weeks," says owner Sara Lewis. "You will see a noticeable difference in your body in the mirror within a month. After three months, you will have a total transformation. A new body. I'm a walking example. I lost 10 pounds just from our month-long instructor training! At the studio, we call this 'feel-see whole body' transformation."
My experience: I was really intimidated when I walked into this class and saw its diehard devotees, all of whom had insane bodies. I was also intimidated by the equipment. I'm an ex-dancer and have never been an athlete, so I tend to stick to dance-based classes; however, I absolutely loved XO. I find I can do anything for one minute, and I really enjoyed the fast pace of this class. I also have a newfound love for rowing machines. They're so easy (for me), but they make me feel tough!
Tip from the studio: "Every exercise we practice at the studio you can do by yourself at home. You can use props—as little as a pillow—or nothing at all. Here’s an example: Shadow-box at full intensity (without stopping) for one minute. Then, add a standing floor exercise (jump lunges). Then, a floor Pilates exercise (Series of Five). Repeat those three times with little to no breaks in between. That is the basis of our workout. You can do anything for a minute!"
Studio: D&A Flying Yoga Class: Decompression 1
About the workout: This program combines the benefits of aerial yoga, yoga meditation and Pilates. "They're all interrelated, and their synergistic values are empowering," says founder Seun Lim. "For beginners, the common benefits are to release toxins, straighten the spine, hydrate and oxygenate vertebrae, improve posture, improve muscle tone, replenish energy and reduce stress and tension." She also says the upside-down poses have anti-aging benefits.
My experience: This class is really challenging! If you've never done it before, I highly recommend it as a means for pushing your body outside of its comfort zone. Also, it provides an awesome sense of accomplishment when you actually end up in the air. I discovered that I have a bit of a mental block against hanging upside-down—the instructor basically had to pry my hands off the hammock, and the whole class had a good laugh at my expense.
Tip from the studio: "If you don't have an aerial hammock available, practice an aerial pose. Put tension on lumbar 4 and 5—the keepers of Ming Men Fire—an energy center located in the lower torso."
Platefit Power Plate
Studio: PlateFit Class: PlateFit Power Plate
About the workout: In a PlateFit class, you work out on a vibrating plate, which forces muscle contractions between 30 to 50 times per second. That means in just 30 seconds, you get over 900 muscle contractions. The workout is just 27 minutes long. According to the studio, when going three times a week, most clients start seeing results in six to twelve sessions. "You can expect to feel leaner and tighter and experience a reduction in cellulite," says founder Rachel Blumberg. You can read more about the studies done on cellulite reduction and the PowerPlate here.
My experience: I love a quickie workout. This one was tough, and I have to admit checking the clock to see how much longer I had to survive. I think, however, that this is the sign of a good workout—I wasn't bored, I was challenged! The machine is weird at first but feels so good—it's like getting a massage while working out.
Tip from the studio: You can buy a personal Power Plate to use at home if you don't live near a studio.
Studio: PlateFit Class: CelluliteFit
About the workout: Says PlateFit founder Rachel Blumberg, "Using whole-body vibration technology, people are able to lose more weight, reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve their lives in a fraction of the time of working out without the Power Plate." This class is very different from the other PlateFit class, as it involves placing alternate parts of your body onto the plate while in a relaxed position (as opposed to working out intensely.)
My experience: Cellulite is a genetic inevitability for me. I already have it, but I know that my current wobbly patches are only going to expand with time. So, I'll try anything that purports to reduce its appearance. This class was basically as therapeutic as a massage—if you're looking to relax and do some good for your body in a cost-and-time-effective manner, I'd highly recommend giving it a try.
Tip from the studio: You can buy a personal Power Plate to use at home if you don't live near a studio.
About the workout: "The structure of a Playlist class fuses unique remixes of popular Top 40, hip-hop, EDM and electronic music to enhance the students' ability to go inward and simultaneously escape," says Nicole Sciacca, Playlist Yoga’s Chief Yoga Officer. "The dark, candlelit room keeps the practice intimate. We like to work hard with intelligent, challenging sequences while having a good time."
My experience: To be honest, I have never really taken to yoga. I think the reasons for this are twofold—one, I am the least flexible ex-dancer on the planet, and two, it feels a bit intimidating to me, like at some point everyone learned how to do it but me. That said, I really enjoyed this version. It was fast-paced and dynamic without losing the part I like best about yoga—the relaxation factor.
Tip from the studio: "We find inspiration from music and community. If you have a workout buddy, use one another to remain accountable to your practice. See if you can attend class three to five times a week, and ask questions. Ask your teacher about proper alignment and to take a look at your body in certain postures. Everyone is unique and has a personal journey through yoga!"
The Class With Taryn Toomey
Studio: The Class With Taryn Toomey
About the workout: "The Class is an extremely efficient way of clearing your mind while strengthening your body," says instructor Natalie Kuhn. "While you're dripping sweat amid the calisthenic and plyometric exercises, we invite you to witness your internal dialogue. When you are in the place of discomfort, you'll find that more often than not you experience self-doubt. It's in this space that both the mind and body heal and strengthen. If you're willing both physically and mentally to commit to the work of the Class, the results can be immediate. The most common response we hear after someone takes class for the first time is: sore but clear! With regular attendance, your body will become stronger and leaner. The long-lasting benefit of the Class is that the tools we strengthen in the room can be used in everyday life. Practicing awareness and consciousness has a profoundly positive effect on your life."
My experience: This was my favorite class out of the 30, which is no small thing. I don't know how to describe it, other than to tell you that I was sweating and crying (in a good, cathartic way) at the same time. You have to try this!
Tip from the studio: "I used to be one of those people who got on the treadmill, set my speed and then flipped on the Food Network to learn how to bake a cake while getting in a few miles," says Kuhn. "I completely severed my mind from my body. Now, when I run, swim or hike, I use the same principles of the Class: Watch your internal dialogue from a bird's eye view. Notice when you want to stop, and meet yourself at that moment of resistance. Talk to the part of you that has habitually learned to give up, hide or distract. Challenge that part of you to keep going. You might be surprised by how able you actually are."
Studio: Physique 57 Class: Signature
About the workout: "While many workouts include some form of cardio or strength training, Physique 57 blends intervals of cardio, strength training and stretching while working every inch of your body so it's really a one-stop shop (all in just 57 minutes). It's this unique combination that leads to clients seeing quick results," says co-founder Tanya Becker. "Plus, our instructors are the best of the best in the industry. They go through a competitive audition process and then spend 90 days in training and at least 200 hours at the barre. I recommend taking class at least three or four times in order to see visible results that include sculpted arms, toned thighs and glutes and a chiseled waistline."
My experience: I feel like you get a lot of tone without a big time commitment with this class. It really focuses on problem-area muscle groups, but it also moves quickly so you don't feel it (until later!). I like that the teacher constantly corrected my form, as I don't want to develop injuries later in life from performing exercises incorrectly!
Tips from the studio: "Use our VOD platform at ondemand.physique57.com. We have so many workouts that will motivate you and meet you wherever you are on your fitness journey. We offer a variety of videos from 10 to 57 minutes and you can make your own mash-ups based on what you're looking to tone that day! Many of our videos don't require any equipment so you can get fit with us anytime, anywhere. Try two weeks on us: Visit ondemand.physique57.com, select Start Your Free Trial, fill in your e-mail, create a password, then select Join Now. Enter promo code ZR2016, then enter your name and click Start Monthly Membership."
Studio: MVMT Theory Class: Hip-Hop About the workout: "MVMT Theory is a pop-up hip-hop dance class whose mission is to unite the community through movement, music and spaces," says founder Tiffany Chao. "We believe that movement starts internally and ultimately works its way outward, manifesting into confidence. We're inspired by collective consciousness, with each class blending the mindful practice of yoga with unique, fitness-driven choreography to provide you with the Swag, the Moves, and the Soul. At our core, we're here to provide a safe space for each individual to explore dance. All classes are musically driven, and hip-hop-inspired—purposefully crafted to add an element of discovery for anyone attending each class. Every playlist is vetted between our music curator and the instructors to evoke feeling and connection in each class. We blend elements of yoga and strength training along with choreography to round out the class in a holistic way. It complements beginners as well as those who have danced or are currently practicing dance. Think of it as an alternative form of cardio." My experience: I have always loved hip-hop classes (even if I look ridiculous while doing them). The energy in this room was great, and the location (Platform LA) was gorgeous.Tip from the studio: "As with any choreography, it takes time to pick up and requires you to access a different part of your brain. However, we've seen clients improve significantly after five classes—after all, dance is a mental game. Inspiring confidence and swagger is what we hope to do. Nutrition and diet are a big part of what fuels the body, so be sure to complement any class and workout with a well-balanced diet."
Studio: Your Neighborhood Studio Class: Contemporary Dance
About the workout: "I design my class from a perspective of dancers as smart athletes, technicians and artists," says instructor Seda Aybay. "It challenges various muscle groups while working with technique, memory and artistry. Oppositional pull, quick weight shift, counter balance and successions are emphasized throughout the class."
My experience: This was without a doubt the most physically taxing of all the classes. I did it with a friend—she's been going to Seda's class for years and years—and we both nearly gave up at the end out of exhaustion. This class is physically and mentally challenging, but also addictive. I highly recommend you give it a try, particularly if you've ever been a dancer.
Tip from the studio: "Whatever you decide to do, be passionate about it," says Seda. "Love doing it so much that it's not a workout but a way of life. Body, mind and soul. Commit to it so you eliminate the risk of injury, but also allow yourself to fully benefit. Don't check your phone. Let it be your time."
Cirque School LA
Studio: Cirque School Class: Aerial 101
About the workout: "Cirque School classes are a unique way to keep your body and mind fit," says founding director Aloysia Gavre. "You will surprise yourself with what you are capable of by just believing in yourself that you can. So while you might walk away with a sore body, it is the comprehensive approach to this training that leaves you with an adrenaline rush." The Aerial 101 class I took involved trapeze exercises as well as fabric conditioning.
My experience: This was so much fun—I felt like a kid again. I could barely do anything and there were actual kids running (flying) circles around me, but it didn't matter. As one of the other students told me, it takes years to get good at this. I will definitely go back—trapeze was my favorite.
Tip from the studio: "Allow yourself to make your passion become your fitness regime. It doesn't really matter what it is as long as you do it frequently and make it a mentally and physically challenging workout so it doesn't become a mindless activity."
Studio: Rise Nation Class: The Climb
About the workout: "Rise Nation is the first-ever climbing conditioning (cardio) class done in 30 minutes with zero impact. It burns twice as many calories as most one-hour workouts," says founder Jason Walsh. "Ultimately, it's safer and more effective than other classes. We reinforce the natural cross-crawl motion, keeping the body balanced. You will get stronger without bulking, increase your work and lung capacity and ultimately get in better shape."
My experience: This is the perfect pre-work workout. It's fast-paced, challenging and over in just 30 minutes. I will definitely become a regular!
Tip from the studio: "Honestly, get outside and go for long walks and hikes. Don't underestimate the power and benefits of walking, especially after eating a meal."
Studio: Cardio Barre Class: Advanced
About the workout: "Cardio Barre is a unique, high-energy, no-impact exercise class that combines barre work and light weights with continual fat-burning motion," says Cardio Barre Hollywood owner Denise Cohen. "No kicking, no punching, no jumping up and down—just exercises that lengthen and strengthen your muscles as you’re burning fat. Central to the workout are toning and resistance exercises for the butt, legs, torso and arms to sculpt muscles and elongate the appearance of your body."
My experience: I've been going to Cardio Barre forever! As a former dancer, it's one of my favorite workouts. The classes remind me of my days as a ballerina, but they're more energetic, which is necessary given how exhausted I feel all the time.
Tip from the studio: "If you can’t make it to a class, take a walk, bike-ride, walk the dog, etc. Just move every day and be grateful and happy for your wonderful life."
About the workout: "Workouts are repetitive and can be boring, but here you connect with others in a group setting," says trainer Chase Weber. "A bond with your classmates takes place and not only do you have yourself to push but you have others who encourage you. Whether it's the workout or the competition portion, a fun setting is key. One where you get a great burn and make some friends along the way is the perfect combination. The more you engage and show consistency, the more you'll see a change in your body. You can expect a change in approximately six to eight weeks."
My experience: This class was challenging but fun, and I really felt like it was a full-body workout. It's one of those that flies by because the energy is so high and you're moving between exercises frequently. I can see now why so many of my friends are obsessed.
Tip from the studio: "Don't be afraid to get in a routine with a group. It'll show you that everyone has strengths and weaknesses but everyone is there to get better. You'll find yourself with a little more confidence to connect and push one another to reach your goals!"
Studio: LIT Method Class: Signature LIT
About the workout: "It isn't just a workout, it’s a method," say co-founders Taylor Gainor and Justin Norris. "No running, no jumping, no weights, we are low impact but very high intensity—using compound movements first to pre-exhaust your muscles. Then you enter the isolation phase, which specifically targets single muscle groups to effectively tone and shape them. We always end the program with corrective posture exercises and myofascial release, aka foam rolling, to help with recovery and injury prevention. We always recommend three to four sessions per week to really see a change in your body. This program is designed so you can work out every day without feeling joint pain." LIT stands for "low impact training," and the classes involve alternating work between a water rowing machine and resistance bands.
My experience: Everyone I know is obsessed with this class, so I was excited to try it. It was challenging—especially on my weak, Tyrannosaurus Rex arms—but energizing, and we never held an exercise so long that I felt like I needed to quit. I love workouts that are dimly lit, too, so everyone can just focus on their own progress.
Tip from the studio: "Low impact doesn't have to mean low intensity. Resistance bands are our choice of equipment, because they offer variable resistance, keeping your muscles engaged throughout the exercise. Low-impact exercises save your joints from breaking down over time."
Studio: Barry's Bootcamp Class: Arms and Abs
About the workout: "The unique combination of treadmill-based cardiovascular work and strength training and sculpting on the floor is very effective when it comes to calorie and fat burn," says Barry's CEO Joey Gonzalez. "Also, the Barry's workout is fun! The environment is set in red lighting and the trainers always incorporate great playlists to keep everyone motivated. Barry's is for every fitness level so you can work at your own pace. The trainers are there to motivate you to push yourself and reach your fitness goals. If you work at your best, you can expect to burn up to 1,000 calories per one-hour class. You will definitely see results if you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and attend Barry's classes consistently four to five days per week for three or so weeks."
My experience: I've known Barry's devotees for years, and I was always a bit scared to join them. For some reason, I expected super intense trainers who would scream at me while I huffed and puffed next to super-athletes. That is not at all what I experienced! The class is definitely intense, but the instructors are encouraging rather than intimidating, and the dimmed lights allow you to focus on your own fitness journey (while occasionally peeking at the beautifully toned bodies next to you for motivation).
Tip from the studio: "It's all about muscle confusion and changing things up on a regular basis so you continue to transform your body," says Joey. "Barry's combines cardio and strength training in the most effective and safe way possible to achieve maximum results. Additionally, since we focus on a different area of the body each day of the week (i.e., every Barry's studio offers Abs & Arms class all day Monday, Butt & Legs all day Tuesday and so on), you'll be sure to get a well-rounded workout."
Studio: Yogaqua Class: Aqualates
About the workout: "Performing yoga or Pilates poses on solid ground is already challenging, so when you add an unstable surface, you work so many more muscles, especially your core," says founder Sarah Tiefenthaler. "This idea came about because of a longing for a fitness activity that could be outdoors and fun! Working out shouldn't have to feel like a chore. In just one visit, you'll be hooked. There's something healing about being on the water. It's the simplest way to let go of your daily stress and simply be in the moment. Just from coming once a week, in four weeks you'll notice the tightening of your core and more definition in your arms."
My experience: I've never been on a paddleboard, so I was pretty nervous about this class. I got the hang of it really quickly, however, with the help of our bubbly instructor Eliza. The Pilates part of the program is fairly basic, but I was still really sore the next day. The best part of this workout is that it just blows any studio class out of the water (pun intended). I left feeling alive and energized. I wish I could do this every morning!
Tip from the studio: "Get creative and change it up. Don't do the same workout every day. Do some routines indoors and some outdoors. Make it fun and exciting!"
Studio: Yogaglo Class: Self-Love Is The Answer
About the workout: YogaGlo is a global community that allows people from around the world to participate in an online yoga experience through HD videos led by world-renowned instructors. It's the perfect app for practice on the road. Users can stream or download up to 10 classes on their device. The app also has a Find Your Class tool that helps users discover new options to fit their energy level, mood and schedule.
My experience: At-home workouts don't normally work for me, as I tend to just wimp out whenever I get fatigued. However, because I was working out every day, I didn't quit, even though no one was watching me. I really liked this flow, and I found it to be both challenging and re-centering. Maybe I'm becoming a yogi after all!
Tip from the studio: Access the YogaGlo app by downloading directly from the site for $17.99. It's compatible with iPhone, iPad or Android, and new users get a 15-day free trial.
About the workout: "SoulCycle makes exercise fun," says LA-based instructor Madeleine Starkey. "The combination of inspirational instructors, epic spaces, expertly curated music and candlelit rooms allows for a truly transformative experience. Riders engage in high-intensity cardio (burning between 500 and 700 calories in 45 minutes), while toning their upper bodies using hand weights and core-engaging choreography. SoulCycle is a full body workout that simultaneously engages the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. The bike purposely forces riders to engage the core throughout the entire ride. During class, riders work with speed and resistance to push their aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels and burn fat. It's a total mind-body experience! Instructors deliver inspirational messages that leave you feeling stronger and more powerful after every ride. People walk out of SoulCycle physically and mentally stronger than when they walked in."
My experience: I see why so many people are addicted to SoulCycle—it's an empowering workout that feels like it does as much for your mind as it does your body. Once again, I like that the room is dark so that you're mentally able to enter your own world while you work out.
Tip from the studio: "Health and fitness should be a journey and a lifestyle, not something you check off your to-do list each day! In order to be successful, you need to find something that brings you joy and leaves you feeling better each time you do it."
Studio: bellicon Home Class: Arnita Champion's Core Workout
About the workout: "bellicon Home takes the extraordinary benefits of rebounding on the bellicon and combines it with an amazing range of customized video workouts that will guide you through a plan designed just for you," says trainer Arnita Champion. "The result is a complete, total-body fitness program that’s truly fun, energizing and fully adaptable, making it easier than ever to achieve your fitness and health goals. bellicon training conditions the entire body by converting gravity into a cardio-boosting, muscle-toning, fat-burning workout that improves balance, strengthens bones and increases flexibility without straining muscles or joints. It's the perfect all-in-one solution for getting in shape and staying there."
My experience: As it turns out, working out on a trampoline is really fun, but also really effective—I was incredibly sore the next day. The core class I took was incredibly difficult—I would suggest starting with the "Full Body Cardio and Strength" video instead, as its got a little more bounce to it. You can sneak these into your day very easily—no excuses (I may or may not have watched Netflix while jumping). After your workout is completed, the company sends you detailed emails outlining your achievements. Mine said, "You’ve jumped the vertical equivalent of a 56-story building, which is the height of the Washington Monument!" How's that for a pre-9 AM achievement? Honestly, just having this mini trampoline in my house makes me happy—I plan to jump around on it whenever I need a little energy boost.
Tip from the studio: You can buy a bellicon trampoline to use at home here.
Studio: Prevail Class: Sweat
About the workout: "Prevail blends boxing with a challenging full-body fitness component," says founder Milan Costich. "In a 45-minute class, not only are you working your arms, your glutes and your core for a crazy calorie burn, but you're also challenging yourself mentally. Learning combos on the mitts demands that you be 100% focused on the task at hand, which is a great habit to carry over into your daily life. Boxing is also a therapeutic way to relieve stress, so one class has the ability to turn an otherwise bad day around. These elements, combined with a genuinely supportive and caring staff, encourage clients to pursue self-excellence in and out of the studio for a total life changing workout experience. Our aim is to improve the way you move, feel and look. It's not uncommon for members to see results in their first month of training, and seeing how quickly people are able to change the way they feel is incredibly inspiring. Coupled with a healthy approach to nutrition, our program truly sets up our clients to succeed in reaching their goals."
My experience: This is the perfect place to go if you want to find out why Gigi Hadid swears by boxing. It's a really fun, high energy environment where you can learn boxing techniques with hands-on instructors—and more importantly, not feel self-conscious doing so. The workout is empowering and challenging, the instructors are kind and helpful, and the music is awesome. This is one of those classes that does as much for your mood as it does for your body.
Tips from the studio: "Find something active that you truly enjoy. If your goal is to create a healthy lifestyle, it'll be so much more fulfilling if you actually like what you're doing. If you're someone who hates working out alone, find a class. If you don't like exercising, find something that is skill-set based, so you're focused on developing a new skill."
Body By Simone
Studio: Body By Simone Class: Full Body
About the workout: "Body By Simone is a unique experience because it combines the love of dance and other exercises that tone your entire body," says founder Simone De La Rue. "BBS is never boring or monotonous; the dances, the exercises and the music are unique in each class and with every trainer. Results are a product of how much work you put in and how you feel. Depending on which class you take and your stamina, you can burn anywhere from 400 to 900 calories in just 55 minutes. BBS has a transformation program where we have seen clients lose over 30 inches in just eight weeks."
My experience: I know a lot of girls who swear by this class (apparently Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is one of them, so you can see why I was intrigued). I always appreciate dance-based fitness, and this class was no joke! I swear, jumping around on and off for an hour can feel more challenging at times than running sprints. I loved the music and the energy, and though it was difficult, it didn't really feel like a workout in terms of tedium.
Tip from the studio: "My entire plan with BBS was to make fitness fun and accessible to everyone," says Simone. "We have DVDs available on our website. All workouts require minimal equipment, so you can literally take a BBS class anywhere. Fitness is all about finding what you love; working out shouldn't feel like a chore. When you find something you love, you won’t mind doing it every day."
Studio: Sandbox Fitness Class: Bootcamp
About the workout: "What makes this workout unique is that it's all done in sand," say founders Minna and David Herskowitz. "You burn up to 30% more calories since the sand provides resistance. And because it acts as a shock absorber, it's easier on the joints. Results and time frame vary depending on diet and how much effort you putting in during class time. But we do see weight loss and improvements in strength and condition in as little as two weeks. Because of the instability of the sand, the small stabilizer muscles and core muscles will be engaged much more than with a traditional workout."
My experience: I took the Bootcamp class, which consisted of burpees, push-ups, wall sits, jumping jacks and TRX bands. I was exhausted by the halfway point. It was a small class (only five), which felt like the perfect size. I liked that they allow you to work at your own pace. For example, they'll tell you to do push-ups for one minute. In that time, you just do as many as you can. For me, this is much better than not being able to move on until you've done 100 push-ups (which I may never be able to do, even with 30 more days of back-to-back workouts!). Tip from the studio: "If you don't live near a Sandbox Fitness, you can do the moves at a beach or any park with a sandbox. You don't even need any additional equipment. All you need is your body, some sand and some motivation. We post moves on Instagram and Youtube to help those out that don't have a Sandbox Fitness, so make sure to follow us."
The Studio (MDR)
Studio: The Studio (MDR) Class: (MDR) Total Body
About the workout: "I really think the Lagree Method workout is perfect," says founder and CEO Lisa Hirsch. "It has no limitations and allows for complete, total-body training with little to no impact on the joints while specifically focusing on training your slow-twitch muscle fibers. Using a machine called the Megaformer, it allows the body to shift quickly and smoothly from one exercise to another, increasing heart rate while attacking each and every muscle in a very concentrated and focused manner, sculpting a strong, powerful, lean body in a safe and measured way. You work muscle groups that you never knew you had in a very slow, controlled manner. The results are consistent and amazing!"
My experience: MDR was described to me as Pilates on crack—a friend told me it changed her life and her body. I can see what she means. The workout kinda makes you want to die, but in a good way. She told me it never gets easier—it was very, very physically challenging—and I think this is the hallmark of a great workout. I will definitely have to psyche myself up to go again, but the best things in life are never easy!
Tip from the studio: There are approximately 300 Lagree Studios across the country.
Studio: Jazzercise Class: Dance Mix
About the workout: "Jazzercise combines dance with fitness to make working out fun while getting toned and fit," says Digital Communication Specialist Atena Moosavi. "Our music and moves are current, which makes it always exciting and fresh each class you attend. We aim to push through plateaus so our customers get the most out of their workouts and see real results quick! It’s not just what you get out of the one-hour workout, it’s the feeling you get outside of class. It's a lifestyle, and a community that supports one another in achieving not only fitness goals but other life goals as well. It's a family. A really fit, fun family."
My experience: I tagged along with my mom for this one, and I expected it to be, well, let's just say "not my style." I was pleasantly surprised, however, with the quality of the workout. It combines fun and easy-to-conquer dance moves with weight training—my mom is a longtime addict who, at one point, became so obsessed she started to teach classes on the side. I can see why she loves it!
Tip from the studio: Says Atena: "Fortunately, we have over 2,500 locations across the globe so you are likely to find a class near you. You don’t have to be a dancer. Overall fitness and health are super important to living long and healthy lives, so look for something that interests you that you can stick with over time."
Studio: Blogilates Class: 6 Minute Sexy Series
About the workout: "POP Pilates can be done at home, with no equipment, for free," says Blogilates and POP Pilates founder Cassey Ho, who is the #1 fitness instructor on YouTube. "The format is like a 'dance on the mat,' which means you’ll be getting your sweat on to your favorite tunes. You use your own body weight to build strong, lean muscle without having to get a gym membership or pay any money at all! If you stick to doing POP Pilates workouts four to six times a week, you will notice an increase in total body strength, and have a defined core like never before! Other benefits include increased flexibility and improved posture. Stay committed to POP workouts for a month and you’ll notice these benefits, and over a few months your body will transform!"
My experience: If you're thinking that you could never afford to work out 30 times in 30 days, well, unfortunately this platform totally eliminates that excuse. Its workout offerings are intense and effective, and they're also free. I tried Cassey's introductory POP Pilates video (POP Pilates: Total Body Workout), which was instructive in terms of form, and then did POP Pilates for Beginners and ABC Abs as well. I definitely felt pain (the good kind!) the next day. These routines are ideal for cramming into your packed schedule in the morning before work—Cassey has a full 30-day beginners calendar along with videos for those wanting to jumpstart their own month-long initiative!
Tip from the studio: Use your body as a weight and push yourself! Find workouts you love, whether it be following POP YouTube videos in the comfort of your own home, or finding a live POP Pilates class at a local gym. Be consistent and have fun—the results will follow.
Studio: Moore Dancing Class: Advanced Hip Hip with Ginger
About the workout: "What makes this workout unique is the fact that I don't design it as a workout," says instructor Ginger Broussard. "Dance in and of itself is already a workout so I don't feel the need to add elements that are inauthentic to who I am as a dancer and choreographer just to make someone sweat even more. I don't dance to sweat, it's just a nice byproduct. But if you ask anyone in my class they'll tell you that they sweat bullets every time and always feel like they get an amazing workout."
My experience: I've been going to this class for years, and it's always one of the most fun hours of my week. Ginger is one of those dancers who transforms the moment the music comes on—it's really inspiring, and will make you want to train to do the same. Her advanced class is still generally full of dancers on all levels, so don't be intimidated to try it out.
Tip from the studio: "Find something that challenges you and keeps you coming back. If you actually enjoy the workout, it's a lot easier to stay consistent and focused on your goals. I have students who have tried other activities but have been taking my class for years because it challenges them. Don't be afraid to try something new and think outside the box (or the gym) when it comes to fitness."
Carrie's Pilates Plus
Studio: Carrie's Pilates Plus Class: CPP Workout
About the workout: "This workout is much more intense than a classical Pilates workout," says manager Jocelyn Cardinas. "Our instructors' goal is to get everyone in class to total muscle failure, to create lean muscular physic. The workout is a seamless combination of weight training, cardio and Pilates. We utilize the best of all three: the strengthening and toning benefits of weight training, the rapid non-stop movement of cardio, and the muscle lengthening and postural benefits of Pilates… all in one hardcore circuit training sequence!"
My experience: If you're looking to take your pilates training to the next level, this is the place to do it. They have modern machines that are like Reformers on steroids. Once class begins, you don't stop moving for 50 minutes, and you'll probably feel like you're going to die at some point. Somehow, however, you make it through and feel incredibly accomplished afterwards. It's an incredible way to build lean muscle fast while working on cardio and endurance. The instructors are really motivating and helpful, with an emphasis on form. Even though the class is really challenging, it's set up to where time flies by.
Tip from the studio: "First class is only $10, easy to sign up online, and reserve their spot ahead of time on Carrie’s Pilates Plus app, or online at www.carriespilatesplus.com click 'join' to get started. The workout will tighten your core after one session, so this is a really great activity to do before a big event, or before heading to the beach."
Studio: Y7 Class: WeFlowHard (Vinyasa Flow)
About the studio: "Our signature WeFlowHard 60-minute vinyasa class is structured in peaks and valleys of intensity using the beat of hip hop music to guide the breath and asanas," says founder Sarah Levey. "Our studio rooms are dark and candlelit to inspire the personal practice and we also use infrared heating technology, which aids in the detoxifying process, as opposed to forced air heat which is what the majority of hot studios use. The majority of our clients start to see results within 3 weeks of regular attendance (3x/week) The first thing most people notice is that their arms and abs become tighter and stronger (we attribute this to all the chatarunga pushups and plank holds)"
My experience: I've always been scared to try hot yoga as I tend to faint in high temperatures, but Y7 uses infrared heat, which is something I've recently become obsessed to thanks to Selena Gomez. I love candelit yoga, and I love hip hop, so this workout was really in my sweet spot. It was challenging, but I didn't feel insecure about my lack of expertise as I do in some classes. The energy of this class felt so empowering—I really loved it, and will definitely go back regularly.
Tip from the studio: "My biggest tip is to find something to do that you love. If you love your workout it doesn't seem like work or a chore, it becomes part of your lifestyle, something you look forward to."