Overhearing water cooler talk in Los Angeles, ears prick up at phrases like “running Santa Monica Stairs,” “hiking Runyon Canyon,” “…got this booty with RPM’s Karyn Technique” and “This physique? It’s one of Dove’s Bodies.” What’s the gossip about? The hottest new workouts in a town known for creating hard bodies and keeping them red-carpet ready.
Running away and joining the circus isn’t just a pipe dream in Los Angeles, it’s a workout. When she founded Hollywood’s Cirque School, Cirque du Soleil veteran Aloysia Gavre was adamant that “anybody with any body” should be able to live out their trapeze dreams. On the schedule: circus arts such as Contortion, Aerial Fitness, Trapeze Tricks, Hand-Balancing and Cyr-Wheel.
Beyond letting you tap into fantasies of mimicking Pink at the Grammys by twisting ceiling-high in silk fabric, what are the benefits of Cirque classes? Along with a dose of Pilates, students get chiseled bodies, increased strength, flexibility and the exhilaration of soaring above the Big Top.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is all about fitness firsts. It has the only al fresco gym in Los Angeles. As for machines, there's a Power Plate to add that little something extra to workouts. And world-class personal trainers are ready, 24/7, to customize regimes via the world’s first digital customized in-room fitness program. Like veritable genies in bottles, experts appear with the touch of the room’s iPad. Also available: complimentary Fitness Kits.
Knee issues? No problem. Trainers adjust workouts for personal injury zones. If you need a bit of Zen, yoga classes are an option, too. The geniuses behind the program are Blue Clay Fitness, one of So Cal’s top training firms.
Iobella body sculpting
Exercise in a pod. That's one way to describe an Iobella. Roxana Lissa brought these heated workouts that originated in Europe and Argentina to Santa Monica. Exclusive to a female clientele, Iobella workouts occur in two segments. The first takes place in a 98.5°F heated thermal pod, inside which clientele are coached through a series of low-resistance, high-repetition exercises targeted to their specific bodies. Among benefits are body shaping and tackling tough problem areas. After working up a sweat, participants hit the showers, then enter a triple-oxygen cabin for an extra boost and glowing skin.
Yogaqua and Aqua Yoga
Mother Nature offers up Los Angeles' perfect year-round gym with an ideal combination for an L.A.-style yoga class: surfboards, asanas and the Pacific Ocean. This is exactly what YogAqua offers. "Being out on the ocean is very soothing and healing," says YogAqua creator Sarah Tiefenthaler. Ninety-minute sessions are definitely challenging. "You're so focused on not falling off the surfboard and into the water, without even trying you get this mental freedom to escape, focus on where you are and what you're doing: a core-strengthening class that uses way more muscles than a normal yoga class."
A place where yoga students want to get wet: Kimpton’s Hotel Wilshire. The property is celebrating summer by launching new rooftop yoga classes. Led by Lululemon Ambassadors, the sessions can occur anywhere from the penthouse suite balcony to the hotel swimming pool, where healthy mocktails are the perfect follow-up to sun salutations. Guests can partake in in-room classes via a hotel channel, using Gaiam yoga mats and other tools ordered up from room service. Guests aren't the only ones sharing asanas at Hotel Wilshire. Members of the community are welcome to join in and get their warrior poses on.
Indo-Row and ShockWave
Bringing water action indoors are Indo-Row and ShockWave, two cutting-edge workouts created by Josh Crosby and Jay Blahnik. Since IndoRow hit the L.A. scene, the 50-minute classes have been booked solid with fans looking to burn from 400 to 800 calories during what Crosby calls "an entire season's worth of rowing: skills, drills, endurance, intervals, waves of work and races" all on specially-designed WaterRower GX machines.
Crosby and Blahnik’s latest workout creation, ShockWave, kicks things up a notch. These high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes have four to eight stations (including one of Indo-Row) that focus on leg, core, arm and cardio moves. A 45-minute Shockwave session burns as many calories as Indo-Row, but Crosby says it leaves exercisers "obliterated and exhilarated," having worked out every inch of their bodies.
Bollywood Bhangra Beats
Hip hop, pole dancing, Zumba — Angelenos love getting their groove on. One form of dance that transports hoofers to India and the silver screen is Blue 13 Dance Company’s Bollywood Bhangra Beats.
The brainchild of Blue 13 founder Achinta S. McDaniel, the classes feature a mix of Bhangra steps, classical Indian dance technique and flirty Bollywood choreography. “It’s a sweat-drenched, fun, sexy, cardio-heavy dance class with a heavy dose of drama,” McDaniel says, pointing to signature moves like “sexy headache” and “Bollywood vampire.” “For 60 minutes, dancers let go of inhibitions, lose themselves in dance, get theatrical and really play.”