Getting in shape can improve general happiness, boost energy levels, and grant the confidence to sit at Helen of Troy's lunch table. Approach greatness with today's Groupon: for $20, you get three dance-fitness classes at Pop Physique (a $60 value). Choose from the following locations: Hollywood, Silver Lake, Studio City, and Westside.
Pop Physique founder and former professional ballerina Jennifer Williams blends her dance expertise and Pilates certification to create LA Weekly–lauded barre-based sessions of body toning. Groups of roughly 15 students embark on daily sessions of Pop Sculpt, in which ballet moves coalesce with Pilates concepts and light weight training to work a range of muscles, torching calories while simultaneously corralling runaway tattoos. During each one-hour course, students repeat upper-body exercises using light weights, complete series of controlled movements at the ballet barre, and flex muscles through Pilates-style poses in mat work. Participants may also hold eco-friendly balls between their legs to strengthen inner thighs and stretch abdominals by pulling against karate belts liberated from cartoon pandas.
Although all classes can incorporate all levels of participants, each is designed to strengthen the body, shape the core, and foster enough flexibility to gain admittance into the most exclusive of rubber-band balls. Long-term practice often endows participants with pristine posture and tightened abs and posteriors. Pop Sculpt's low-impact workouts also accommodate expectant mothers and participants recovering from injuries.
Class instructors, many of whom have been professional dancers or actresses, channel their expertise into individualized attention, modifying exercises for each participant if necessary. Students stretch, bend, and pirouette to energy-building tunes, ranging from electro and indie to hip-hop, often synced to the beat of a particular exercise. The studio supplies patrons with eco-friendly mats, exercise balls, stretching belts, and weights necessary for each session, and class attendees should be sure to wear fitted exercise clothes and socks or their most breathable pair of footsie pajamas.
Many Pop Physique studios incorporate design details from the refurbished spaces they occupy and reflect an individualized neighborhood aesthetic with décor such as custom wallpaper. At the Silver Lake studio, clients wait in a lounge with low lighting and dark-wood accents, and the Studio City location uses a black-and-white color palette to complement vintage Hollywood décor such as hanging chandeliers and Cary Grant's baby photos.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2009 CityVoter nominee for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.