Steel Barbells' coaching trio brings a variety of backgrounds to their classes, including martial arts, stunt work, and bodybuilding. But all three share a single goal: to help their clients get into the best shape possible. They use the flexible, scalable exercises of CrossFit to concoct new routines each day, challenging students of all ages and ability levels with functional movements, interval cardio workouts, and free weight training.
Six-foot obstacle walls tower over rows of barbells and bumper plates within Valley CrossFit's 15,000-square-foot facility. The gym strives to challenge all its members with diverse equipment, including seven climbing ropes, a 1,600-square-foot pro gymnastics floor, and a 48-foot-long pull-up and monkey-bar structure. Each CrossFit workout is designed to be challenging but can be scaled for participants of any fitness level, and the trainers constantly mix up class activities to keep bodies engaged. On any given day, members might find themselves swinging kettlebells, tossing medicine balls, or using rowing machines. Though group exercise is the core of the CrossFit program, coaches can also tailor the workouts even further during personal-training sessions.
Golden State CrossFit welcomes would-be clients to drop in and take a free introductory class before deciding whether to sign up for the cross-disciplinary training sessions. The core curriculum offers strength and conditioning training similar to that used by top athletes, but with tweaks to better suit the average fitness enthusiasts. In this spacious, no-frills gym on Ventura Boulevard, certified coaches teach hour-long group classes that include a warm-up, skill development segment, a special high-intensity workout of the day and a period of individual or group stretching. Participants range from buff guys looking to stay lean, toned women with a love for working out, and an array of adults trying to stay focused on their fitness goals. Golden State CrossFit is open Monday through Saturday, and offers discounted membership packages for long-term members.
Kevin Batmanyan lugs padded mats, weighted medicine balls, and thick, heavy ropes into the park. He’s greeted by an enthusiastic group of boot campers who stretch and warm up on the grass before Kevin starts their intense training session. He leads these small groups through challenging exercises that use plyometric exercises and intense bursts of cardio to build muscles and endurance. With a focus on team building and an abundance of natural energy, Kevin aims to make the sessions motivating and enjoyable.
At Vault, a diverse team of instructors leads classes ranging from CrossFit to kickboxing to yoga. For exercisers new to CrossFit, Vault provides a three-part Vault Access course that teaches the essential movements and techniques used in more advanced workouts. Each CrossFit workout is different, which prevents muscles from getting used to doing the same thing.
Inside CrossFit Studio City, there's no one primping in the mirror. There's no one chatting on a cell phone, flipping through a magazine, or watching TV. That's because the gym shuns such distractions, allowing for the absolute concentration it takes to perform CrossFit's system of high-intensity, functional movements.
Each day, certified instructors have students slinging kettlebells, doing pull-ups, and climbing ropes. Their mix of exercises preps for all physical activities, including running marathons or running a cat rodeo. The next day, they change the routine to keep everyone's focus intact.
Though the instructors push participants to their limits, there's no intimidation factor—they want people to feel good about leaving exhausted. They keep a jovial mood during classes, motivating all students with positive reinforcement and encouraging classmates to do the same for each other. Since CrossFit is scalable to all fitness levels, everyone from firefighters to soccer moms and grandparents are welcome to join in.