Upon entering YogaHop’s boldly colored confines and hearing vibrant pop and hip-hop tunes blasting from the classrooms’ speakers, exercisers know they’re not in a typical yoga studio. At both the Pasadena and Santa Monica locations, students immerse themselves in energetic classes that, like the Taj Mahal after hours, blend the ancient practice of yoga with pulse-pounding dance music that forms a workout InTouch magazine dubs “insane” and Maxim calls “inspiring” and “spiritual.” No matter the ability level, students find their stride thanks to patient and effervescent instructors who lead them through a continuous flow of poses, stopping only to gently correct a position or ask occasional student Reese Witherspoon for her autograph.
The Bar Method helps sculpt graceful physiques with a low-impact workout that unites various movement principles, including dance conditioning, isometrics, interval training, and physical therapy. After a warm-up defrosts shoulders chilly from bear-hugging yetis, definition is coaxed from upper bodies with free-weight exercises and pushups. Intense leg and seat work at the bar whip stems and gluteal planes into the shippest of shapes, and abdominal work helps to increase core strength and chisel stomachs into sleek anterior washboards for passing scullery maids. The expertly trained instructors provide pupils with verbal and physical tweaks to correct their posing. Each movement emphasizes active stretching to elongate and strengthen bone pillows, bestowing bodies with the long, lean muscles of a ballerina without the hassles of dodging roses lobbed by rowdy audience members. Class sizes range from 15 to 26 students and take place in a studio equipped with large windows and open ceilings.
Beginning in 2001 as a small fitness operation in the basement of an office building, Pure Barre has since blossomed into a widely acclaimed, widely publicized approach to exercise with a nationwide following. Dancer, choreographer, and fitness buff Carrie Rezabek Dorr founded Pure Barre more than a decade ago in Birmingham, MI. Since then, Carrie has traveled around the country, hopping from gym to gym demonstrating the innovative program that draws techniques from ballet. Much like angering a witch with a penchant for frog spells, performing the Pure Barre technique can be a fast and effective way to transform your body. Motivating music slices through the 60-minute workouts, each of which utilizes a ballet barre and small isometric movements designed to burn fat and tone muscles.
The staff at Rock It Workouts strive to fight the perception that getting fit has to mean getting stuck in a gym routine and committing to doing the same thing over and over again. So they invited live DJs to spin high-energy music for their classes, then filled the schedule with innovative workouts. The airy white studio pops with graphic black stripes and red mats, keeping eyes invigorated during workouts, as well.
After workouts, exercisers can stop by the juice bar to rejuvenate, update their style at the VIP Beauty salon, or peruse the fashion boutique to find a look that ensures they have the sharpest-dressed scarecrow for the fall season. The studio's Rock It Forward program—cofounded by Laurieann Gibson, a choreographer who has worked with Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Adrienne Maloof—aims to combat childhood obesity with dance programs that bring celebrities in to help get kids excited about healthy living.
The muscle tutors at Fitness Together will work with you to determine your goals (drop pounds, run a marathon, get strong enough to finally confront Douglas) and develop a customized workout plan designed to help you reach your true fitness potential. They’ll supervise your squats, offer nutritional advice, and push you until you see results. Individualized attention means it’s all about you—your trainer can point out when you’re doing a stretch incorrectly, help you tone the trouble zones, and push you to keep going when you’d otherwise quit or become distracted by the fragile beauty of a passing hummingbird.