Travel Guide: Weekend at Northstar California in Tahoe

March 23, 2017

Recapping our incredible visit to Northstar in Tahoe and sharing tips to make your next ski vacay one for the books.

Northstar

Even before we officially moved to SF, MM and I discussed how once we were west coasters we’d take frequent trips to Tahoe. Ya know, skiing every weekend in the winter, hanging lakeside in the summer. Yet, somehow we’ve been here nine months and just took our first trip to Tahoe. Criminal, I know. And now that we’ve experienced how incredible it is, I’m trying to get us back for another weekend as soon as possible.

After researching a couple of the mountains, we decided on Northstar California, which I learned was moderate terrain (good for all levels) and is one of the more luxurious mountains, sign me up! We planned our trip with two other couples and rented a super cute Airbnb 20 minutes from the mountain.

Prior to our trip I chatted with the lovely PR people at Northstar to get the lowdown on the mountain and the can’t-miss special activities. After a long weekend at Northstar, I can confidently recommend this mountain for a first class experience.

I’d been snowboarding for the last 15 years and decided that it was maybe time to switch back to skiing. I took this weekend at Northstar to give it a try. This mountain was the perfect place; by the second day I could take on some of the black diamonds but for my more advanced skier friends, there were extra challenging slopes as well.

We skied on Friday, which is awesome if you can get away from the office. Prior to the weekend, you’re likely to avoid long lines, but it was a pleasant surprise that even on Saturday, we didn’t come across any crazy lift lines. Also, the views of Lake Tahoe from parts of the mountain were incredible, probably the prettiest ski mountain views I’ve ever seen. The staff was incredibly friendly and everyone in our group had a great time.

Oh, and let’s take a moment to talk about the weather and ski conditions. As a former east coast snowboarder, I’ve come to expect icy trails and sub-zero temperatures. Imagine my delight as I skied through soft snow and 55 degree sunshine. Amazing! Tahoe has had a ton of snow this year (literally never in my life have I seen such high snowbanks along the road) and even though it didn’t snow the week prior to our visit, the conditions were still excellent. Spring skiing with minimal layers needed is my jam. West Coast skiing really kicks the East Coast’s butt.

If you’re planning a trip to Northstar, here’s some insider info to plan the best trip.

Ski Rentals: If you don’t have your own skis, you can rent at the village at the base of the mountain via RentSkis.com. I highly recommend upgrading to demo skis. It’s slightly more expensive than the performance or sport skis and the quality is worth it. Even more important, the line for demos was super quick whereas the line for the other skis took much longer. Reserve your skis online ahead of time and on the day you pick up, get there early to avoid the long lines.

Download Epic Mix App: When you buy your lift ticket it will be connected to an Epic Pass. Download the Epic Mix app prior to the start of your ski day and you’ll get wait time estimates for each lift, your stats, a mountain guide and photos. Be on the lookout for Epic photographers throughout the mountain. They’ll take your picture, scan your lift ticket and the photos will be uploaded to the app within a couple of hours. I highly recommend stopping for those photos opps, they turn out great! Don’t ya think?

Northstar

Mountain Top Champagne Tost: This was a first! Northstar offers a free champagne toast for skiers at 2pm every day. The “tost” takes place at this cute little mountaintop set up complete with fire pits, bean bag chairs and a bar. Throughout the day you can purchase champagne if you don’t feel like waiting in line. If you want to partake in the free champs (which you totally should), arrive by 1:45pm and line up, they can only dole out a limited amount of champagne each day and you don’t want to miss out. Read more about this experience HERE.

Upgrade to the Platinum Tost: Celebrating a special occasion on the mountain? Then upgrade to the Platinum Tost, an unforgettable experience. For $85 a person, you’ll get VIP seating with a private fire pit, a bottle of Veuve, an enormous and delicious charcuterie platter and a personal s’mores kit. Deeeeelish! Seriously, if you want to feel like a baller on the mountain, check out this VIP opp. A huge thank you to Northstar for this treat! Those mid-day s’mores really hit the spot 😉

Northstar

 

S’mores: Need a sweet treat at the end of an intense day of skiing? Gather around the skating rink at 3:45pm each afternoon for complimentary s’mores.

Apres Ski Relaxation: Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, skiing takes its toll on your body. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up the day or the weekend than with a massage. Fortunately, Northstar has a little spa right in the village–The Tahoe Spa and Wellness Center. My friend and I opted for hot stone massages after our first day of skiing and it breathed new life into our legs before returning to the mountain in the morning. Another way to get that body feeling flexed and ready? Post-ski yoga, also located in the village. I had hoped to fit in a class but couldn’t get my act together this time. Next time I’m going to check it out.

Village Dining: Whether you’re stopping by for apres or having dinner, the village at the bottom of the mountain has some great options. We went for sushi at Mikuni and on our last night dined at Tavern 6330′. For sushi lovers, Mikuni has a ton of inventive rolls that are enormous, so if you like going off the beaten path with your sushi, this is the place to do it. At Tavern I highly recommend the kale caesar (pictured below), the filet mignon and a delish glass of pinot noir. The service and the food get an A+ at both spots.

Northstar Village Restaurants

Take the Scenic Route: Tahoe is gorgeous, so don’t rush out of there on your way home. I know, avoid the traffic and get an early start, but don’t skimp on the scenic drive. On our way home we drove through Truckee which is a super cute ski town. We grabbed beers at Mellow Fellow then drove around Donner Lake which was a can’t-miss. The views were incredible.

Donner Pass

Even though winter is officially over, there’s still skiing to be done! There’s plenty of time to get to the mountain and enjoy warm spring skiing. Northstar is slated to be open through mid-April. And if you can’t get there before April, we can start chatting about Spring and Summer activities in Tahoe next!

Or maybe you’re already thinking about next winter? There’s a crazy good deal currently offered for the Epic Season Pass. It’s only $859 and gets you access to Northstar, Whistler, Vail, Heavenly, Park City, just to name a few (there are 14 US mountains and 30 European mountains included). Considering a day pass to any mountain is over $100, if you’re going to ski a bunch next year it’s worth it. I’m toying with the idea but not ready to pull the trigger.

Have you been to Tahoe? Any favorite spots I missed out on? Share below please so I can prep for my next visit!

Northstar

A big thank you to Northstar for showing me and my friends an amazing time!

San Francisco Life Thoughts from a Former New Yorker

March 21, 2017

Finally starting to feel settled, I’m sharing what this San Francisco life is really like (while my New Yorker mentality still hangs on).

San Francisco Life

San Francisco in a nutshell: always a little cold, often with a pretty view.

Woah, I’ve been living in San Francisco for nine months. Sometimes it feels like we just finished our cross-country road trip, and other times I feel like I know the city and I’m a local. I’ll admit that I let the first few months in SF fly by without adjusting to life here. Between my bachelorette party, wedding and honeymoon, I had plenty to distract myself with. But once the honeymoon was over (*tear), I made a more conscious effort to explore SF, make friends and find my way here.

When MM and I initially spoke about moving to SF, I thought I’d arrive and immediately be obsessed with the city. Most people love it, it’s super outdoorsy, the weather is pretty good, there’s unbelievable hiking nearby, and so on. But I didn’t immediately fall head over heels in love. Whether you love or hate NYC, there are a lot of emotions when you leave. I definitely had a love-hate relationship with NYC (which I believe is the standard). While I still love NYC and of course my friends who live there, I was ready for a change of pace and scenery. There are a lot of things I miss about NYC. Do I want to be living there though? No, I’m happy with our choice to move, even if I didn’t immediately become smitten with SF.

When I moved to NYC after college, I already loved the city. I had spent weekends and summers in the city and moved there with a huge network of friends. I didn’t need to fall in love with the city, I was already madly in love with it. But you can love a city and not want to live there, and then it’s time to try something new.

And now here we are in SF, a pretty common next step after NYC. I’ll try not to make the below a complete comparison to NYC, but it’s hard not to when assessing my feelings on SF. As a former New Yorker, living in NYC for nine years, here are my thoughts on SF after nine months in the bay area

San Francisco Life So Far

The Weather is Bizarre

I think we can agree that NYC’s extreme weather isn’t ideal, but the weather in San Francisco isn’t the best either. Pretty much since we’ve arrived, it’s been fall. We left NYC in June when it starts to get steamy, humid and hot. SF summers are chilly and overcast. When in NYC you’d break a sweat in July just walking out your door, here I wore a fleece all summer, and sometimes another layer on top of that. We’ve had a few 70 degree+ days and two days that it hit 90, but other than that, fall all year round. I guess I’m not complaining (too much) about it; Fall is arguably one of the best seasons, right?

The Cali Pace is Slower

This shouldn’t come as a shock, but things are calmer and slower here. NYC is go-go-go and even though SF is very success-focused and a city full of smarty pants, it seems to be done with a better work-life balance. People aren’t rushing around quite as much and us New Yorkers need to re-train our brains to stop and smell the roses.

Where Are All The People?

SF is a big city with millions hundreds of thousands of people living here, but where is everyone? The city isn’t geographically that large, so I’d expect to always be surrounded by people, much like I was in NYC. Sometimes it will be 7:45pm and I’ll be walking home from the gym and I’ll be the only person on the street. It really creeps me out and makes me feel super unsafe, even though it’s not late. NYC isn’t the safest city in the world, but there are always so many people around that you feel relatively safe, even at 2am. It’s been a very big adjustment not being surrounded by tons of people all the time. I know this should be a positive for SF, but I wish I felt safer when walking around.

Trader Joe’s doesn’t’ have a line…need I say more?

I recently tried to explain to an SF native what shopping at Trader Joe’s in NYC is like. It’s hard to convey the experience, honestly who would believe that people line up outside the grocery story just to get in, to then wait in another line that wraps around the entire store? It’s insane. Whenever I got to TJs in SF there is a line of maybe 3 people at most. It’s really a treat. Silly, but true. Only my New Yorkers will understand this one!

Less City, More Nature

San Francisco is definitely a bustling city, but within the city, there are hikes and beaches. Heck, there are trees and grass! But really, there are lots of places to explore and connect with nature without leaving the city limits. In NYC, there was Central Park, but beyond that, it was mostly a concrete jungle vibe. I’ve explored some of the SF hikes and view points and have much more on my to-do list to check out.

San Francisco Life

View from Land’s End in the city.

Surrounding Areas are Beyond Beautiful

While I thought I’d immediately fall in love with SF and didn’t, I did immediately fall in love with all the areas surrounding SF. Hop in your car and the travel options are endless. You can drive 30 minutes to Marin County and explore amazing hikes, drive an hour for wine country, drive under 3 hours to Big Sur and Carmel or drive just under 4 hours and be skiing top notch mountains in Tahoe (shout out to you Northstar!). After nine years in NYC, I was super excited to explore a new part of the country and I truly cannot get enough of the gorgeous places near SF. I’d hate to say leaving the city is my favorite part of living here, but it is.

San Francisco Life

These two photos were only taken one week apart, above in Bodega Bay, below in Tahoe.

Tahoe

It’s Expensive, Duh

Before we moved, everyone said the rent was more expensive than NYC and I refused to believe them. No way, I’ll find a good deal! Ok, I was wrong. Our rent is more expensive here, but the silver lining is we’re getting a lot more bang for our buck. I’d say rent prices are relatively similar to NYC but things are newer and nicer here. While we’re paying more, we have a washer/dryer in unit, a dishwasher, a gym, pool and hot tub. We didn’t have anything close to that in NYC. We did have a permanent hole in our ceiling and a wall that always leaked! Rent is costly, but I thnk in terms of food, drink and activities, there are slightly more affordable options here.

It’s Full of Transplants

As I make an effort to be friendly and meet new people, it’s been a pleasant surprise that many people are in the same boat as us, transplants from other cities, often times from NYC. While it seems like most people move to NYC immediately after college, people tend to move to SF a bit later in life, late 20s or early 30s. Afterall, who in their right mind would move to NYC when settling down and starting a family? While not cheap, I can see it being easier and more pleasant raising a family in the Bay Area. I think breaking into a new friend group would be much more challenging in NYC in your 30s than it is here. I say that having not really put in enough effort into making new friends, but I’m working on it!

We Have a Car

In your 30s, having a car shouldn’t be such a novelty, but it is. When I first moved to NYC, my favorite thing was not having a car or needing to drive anywhere. As I got older and wanted to travel further, I really wanted a car. We actually had one in NYC but it was for weekend trips, never for in-city transportation, oh and it was conveniently parked 30 blocks from our apartment. Now we’ve got a car (parked in the garage in our building, what a concept!) and yes, city traffic kind of sucks, but we can drive to dinner if we want, to the grocery store, to do errands and so on. But also thanks to Lyft and being in a fairly compact city, we can avoid driving if we prefer.

Muir Woods

A quick drive away to Muir Woods.

So all that being said, do I like living here? Yes! The adjustment has been more intense than I expected and sometimes I’ll watch a TV show set in NYC or read an NYC blogger’s latest post and a tear will come to my eye, but I’m still happy we made the move. I’ll always love NYC, but that doesn’t mean I want to live there.

Does the San Francisco life agree with me? Yes. Am I a west coast lifer? Too soon to tell. I do believe that if it wasn’t for family living far away, why wouldn’t everyone want to live in California? It’s an amazing state with so much to offer. We’re still new here and I’m sure my opinions will evolve, but for now, I’m happy with life here and I’m looking forward to making this city feel more like home.

Napa

Cali life agrees with this little one.

Love List: Shout Out to What I’m Loving Lately

March 9, 2017

The tv show I’m obsessed with, the podcast that’s inspiring me, the yoga class that’s energizing me, and more things that top my Love List right now. Here’s a look at a few things I’m loving!

love list

My iPhone photo from the SF Botanical Gardens, not bad for an iPhone6, eh?

TV: Big Little Lies

I’ve touched on it before, I love tv. Do I watch too much? Perhaps, but let’s chat about a new show I’m super into that isn’t reality tv (yea, I’m proud of myself too). Have you checked out Big Little Lies on HBO? I read the book a few years back and was obsessed. As much as I remember loving the book, I actually couldn’t remember a single detail about it. Here’s the weird thing that happens when I read a book: I’m super into it, I can’t put it down, I’m obsessed. Then I finish the book and 100% forget what it was about. Does this happen to anyone else? So when we first started watching Big Little Lies I seriously had no idea what it was about. Each episode, the details would start coming back to me. Now we’re on episode 3 and I totally remember the storyline and how it ends. Glad my memory isn’t so bad and just needed a little jumpstart. The show is great and I’m loving the shots of Monterey, which is super close to us and as soon as it reopens, I’m planning a trip to Bixby Bridge, prominently featured throughout the show.

Love List

photo via

Podcast: The Healthy Maven’s That’s So Maven Episode 8 with Katie Dalebout

I recently wrote about how much I’m loving podcasts and I want to add one more to the favorite list, That’s so Maven by Davida of The Healthy Maven. Davida is also new to SF and we met up a couple of weeks ago for a workout and lunch. I immediately felt such a connection to Davida, especially given the similar journeys we’ve been on with our recent moves to SF. I’m loving her podcast and especially enjoyed her recent episode that discusses Shine Theory and the struggle and challenges of comparison. Take a listen and learn a thing or two.

 

Blog: Lucky Andi

With so much change and many ups and downs in my life, I try my hardest not to dwell on the things that aren’t going right, and instead focus on what is great in my life (I touched on this in a past post). I’d like to give a shout out to fellow blogger Andi of LuckyAndi. Andi’s got an incredibly positive energy and she recently posted a Thursday Thankful list. It’s a simple list of things she’s thankful for and it was a good reminder that we all should look on the bright side of things and be grateful for all we have. Thanks Andi, you’re inspiring me to create my own thankful list.

 

Home: Succulents

Succulents are just the trendiest plant right now, right? Well, I’m totally onboard. I love the look and ease of care. Actually, MM is our resident gardener and cares for all our plants so thank you to him. My bridal bouquet included succulents and I was truly so in love with my bouquet (shout out J.Morris Flowers) that I did not want to part with it when the wedding was over. To preserve some of the beauty, we took the succulents out of the bouquet and actually brought them all they way from our wedding site in VA to California. Somehow they made it through the flight and MM planted them for me. So far they are doing well and I hope they continue to thrive, because what a special keepsake from our wedding! For SF peeps who also love their succulents, head to the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park (free for SF residents). We visited last weekend I could have spent all day taking pictures of all the different succulents.

My bridal bouquet above (photo c/o Candice Adelle Photography) and the same succulents repurposed at home below.

succulent bouquet

Workouts: Ritual Hot Yoga with Jenny

Shoutout (again!) to one of my favorite SF studios, and a special shout out to instructor Jenny. I’ve been to a few Ritual classes led by Jenny and got to connect with her last week at an event put on by Ritual & Bare Snacks (more on this later). After that event, Jenny came to take my Orangetheory class this week, then the next day I hit up her morning Ritual class. I love connecting with other fitness folks in the city and it’s extra fun to have them in my class and vice versa! I’ve only been in SF a matter of months, but I have to say, the fitness community is incredibly welcoming and inclusive here and it’s very refreshing.

jenny hot yoga

Photo via (if I keep attending Jenny’s classes, will I be able to do this soon?)

Postive Vibes: With Love & Gratitude

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I really enjoyed everyone’s supportive and inspiring messages. To share one more, I loved this letter by Arrabell Stavroff & Lululemon, honoring women everywhere. it’s a quick read and one that’s worth it.

 

Simple Homemade Cashew Milk Recipe (Paleo + Whole30)

March 3, 2017

A couple of ingredients, plus a high-powered blender, here’s your homemade cashew milk recipe. Make it weekly and your coffee standards will never be the same!

Ever since doing my first Whole30 in 2014, I’ve been scouting out the best nut milks. At first, it was really hard, if not impossible, to find a Whole30 compliant milk in stores. On Whole30 you can’t have most additives and finding almond, cashew or coconut milk minus all that garbage was a challenge. At one point I found one that was 8oz and around $12, silly. Fortunately, it’s much easier to find these days. Even though you can find compliant nut milks, they still have a ton of ingredients, many of which I believe are unnecessary, and if you can avoid the long list of ingredients, why wouldn’t you?

As soon as my Vitamix arrived a few months back, I’ve been making my own nut milk and will probably never return to store-bought. Making it at home is super simple, plus my version always has 5 ingredients or less, whereas the brand I was previously buying contains 13 ingredients (many of which I can’t identify).

So let’s get to it, time to make some cashew milk!

Simple Homemade Cashew Milk Recipe

(total time: 12 hours / work time: 2 minutes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 5 Cups Water
  • 1-2 Dates (optional)
  • Splash of Vanilla (optional)
  • Dash of Cinnamon (optional)

What To Do:

  • Pour your cashews into a bowl and fill with about 2 cups of water (enough to fully cover the cashews and then some). Place a paper towel over the bowl and let soak on the counter for 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours, drain the water from the cashews, discard the water. Take the freshly soaked cashews, plus 3 cups of water and place into your high-powered blender and blend until totally smooth. If you prefer a thinner cashew milk, add more water, for thicker cashew milk, use less (I prefer a thinner milk and use 3.5-4 cups of water for every cup of cashews).
  • If desired, add 1-2 pitted dates for sweetness. Also optional, add a splash of vanilla (not Whole30 compliant) and a dash of cinnamon for a bit of flavor. Continue to blend until smooth.
  • Pour your batch of cashew milk into a mason jar, keep it in the fridge and you’re set for the week. Add to your coffee, your cereal or drink it solo.

So simple right? Currently, I believe almond milk is more popular than cashew, but let me tell you why cashew milk deserves an A+. First and foremost, it’s easier to make. Because cashews are more soluble, they blend easily and do not require straining. With almond milk, you’ll follow the above directions but will need a nut bag to strain the milk through. I find that step to be messy and annoying; with cashew milk it’s not necessary.

Also, I love that all you need in your pantry is a cup of cashews to make this happen. If you come home from a weekend away, you can soak your cashews and blend this up Monday morning, instead of running to the store or being stuck without cashew milk until you have a chance to grocery shop. Along those same lines, if you’re going out of town you can whip up a small batch instead of having to open up a whole carton and waste most of it.

cashew milk recipe

Enjoy your cashew milk & cheers to your coffee’s new best friend!

Three Small Wellness Goals for March

March 1, 2017

There’s no time like the present to make a few wellness goals. Big or small, they impact our health and wellbeing. Read on for the three small changes I intend to make in March.

wellness goals

Ah, all the fresh vibes of a brand new month. I love taking the opportunity of a new year, a new month or even a new week to set goals. As great as big resolutions are, small changes over time can be just as impactful. There have been a few small things on my mind that I know I can improve upon, but I keep ignorning them. It’s a nagging feeling in the back of my mind–these are very easy changes to make, but I haven’t gotten around to making them. You know how it goes, we usually know what we need to do to be healthy and feeling our best, but actually doing those things is a whole different beast.

So with a fresh month at our fingertips, I’m ready to make these tiny changes that I know will have a big impact.

Three Small Wellness Goals for March

Get More Sleep

I know, you’re so tired of me talking about how I need more sleep. I’ve basically been talking about it since I started this blog. My Fitbit tracks my sleep and my average sleep time is not good. This week it’s 5:49, gulp. Last week it was 6 hours and 56 minutes. That’s not so terrible as my goal is minimum 7, but what is bad is the range of sleep time over 7 days: 4:24-9:17. It’s not good for your body to be on such a varied schedule, it’s much healthier to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day, getting between 7-8 hours each night.

A challenge I’m having with my sleep time is my wildly changing schedule. Some days I have to wake up at 4:15am to teach, other days I don’t have to teach until 6:30pm and sleep in. On the days that I do teach early, I figure I can stay up late, teach, then take a nap after class (but then I skip the nap…).

So how do I correct this? My goal is between 7-8 hours of solid shut-eye each night. Instead of opting for just one more episode at night, I’m going to get that TV shut off by 10pm. And despite a different schedule each day (and obvi I’m not going to wake up at 4:15am every day to stay on a schedule), I’m going to try to go to sleep early(ish) regardless of whether I have an early class or not.

Drink More Water

It’s strange, but I found myself far more hydrated, drinking water throughout the day, when I was working in an office. I think it’s because it gave me an opportunity to get up from my desk and walk around to refill my water. With a more on-the-go schedule, I often forget my water bottle or just don’t bother to refill it. I sometimes will go until midday before I realize I haven’t had any water. Not good!

The easiest way to drink more water is to start your day with a big 8oz glass of H20, it will jump start you in the right direction for the day. I’m going to start my day with water and keep it going all day long.

Read More

When I was on vacation two weeks ago I did a lot of beachside reading and it reminded me how much I love to read. Beach views aside, I LOVE reading and yet, I barely do it unless I’m on vacation. Reading more is going to help with my goal to sleep more because currently I’m watching TV before bed, instead I should be reading.

You may question why reading is a wellness goal. Let’s be real, I’m obsessed with watching TV. I hate admitting that but there are so many shows I watch and it takes up way too much of my time that could be better spent. When I watch too much TV, my brain feels like mush, when I read it feels stimulated and inspired. I feel better when I ditch TV time and pick up a book. My goal for this month is to finish two books and get back into the rhythm of reading on the regular.

Are there any small wellness goals or changes you want to make? Share them below and please share any book recommendations you have!

 

Exploring the LA Fitness Scene: 3 Studio Reviews

February 28, 2017

A look at three studios as I make my way through the LA fitness scene.

LA Fitness

When we found out we were moving to San Francisco, one thing that made us extra excited about the move out west was the proximity to LA. Not because we’re obsessed with LA (although, I’m starting to see the hype and may be falling a little more in love with it every time we visit), but because some of our best friends live in LA. While obviously closer than traveling from NYC, the drive to LA from SF isn’t so short; it takes us about 6 hours. Every time we do the drive (which has been quite a few times in the short 9 months we’ve lived on the west coast) we are reminded that the drive is kinda long and kinda boring. The flight is typically cheap and quick, but we like to bring Ollie with us and driving is easier.

Despite 6+ hours in the car, I’ll happily continue traveling south to LA to see my best friends. Promise I’m trying to make new friends in SF, but my college besties just so happen to live in LA. Visiting my LA friends also gives me the opportunity explore the LA fitness and wellness scene. Every block has a unique workout studio and a cute coffee or juice shop around the corner. Each time I visit LA I try to check out something new, combining my wellness time with catching up with old friends, or meeting new ones.

If you’re heading to SoCal, here are some recent LA Fitness Favorites

Speedplay LA

LA Ftiness

I visited Speedplay LA with Rachael of @sweatandrepeatla. The class was tough, but we still could sneak in some chat time between sets and during our stretch. Speedplay is a high-intensity interval training workout, using unique equipment (some was even new to me!) and is located in a ridiculously killer penthouse (Beverly Hills location). The fully-body 60-minute class is circuit style, with a treadmill section, a row section and a floor section (utilizing weights, bands, Bosu and/or TRX, depending on the workout). Each class is different and because you’re switching between stations often, you won’t get bored and you’ll stay motivated.

The most unique thing in this class (for me) was the Woodway Curve treadmills. They’re non-motorized and curve-shaped. Because they don’t have a motor, that means your legs and momentum are what keeps them going. By stepping closer to the top of the curve, you’ll speed up the treadmill; step closer to the middle and it will slow down. This definitely felt unsteady at first, like I was going to fly off the back, but you quickly find your rhythm and it’s not so scary (promise, no one flew off in my class!).

I really enjoyed the class and found the instruction clear and upbeat. Oh, and those views! On a clear day, the Beverly Hills penthouse offers views of the city and even snow-capped mountains way off in the distance, cool right? As our workout got progressively sweatier, Rachael and I went onto the terrace for a few of our floor blocks, I love that you have the option to get fresh air and sunshine, even in a group fitness setting.

I’d definitely check out another class at Speedplay LA, it was different, fun, and challenging. PS, your first class is only $15, check it out / speedplayla.com

Training Mate

LA Fitness

LA Fitness

Emily of @emcookharris recommended this workout so we met there for a high energy Sunday morning wake up. Even though it was a tad earlier than I would have preferred to start my day, it was worth it to take class with the studio owner Luke (highly recommend his class!). Training Mate originated in Australia and now in LA, is led by a fully Australian staff. Fun fact, I studied abroad and Australia and LOVED taking group fitness there because, hello, that accent! This class really took me back. Swoon.

Training Mate is a circuit style training class. It’s different each time–I’ll walk you through the format of our class (Sunday 9am). Our 60-minute class involved 10 stations. Each station had a different move and equipment, you’d do each station for 60 seconds, then move on to the next with about 3-5 seconds of transition time. The class was split into small groups that you’d travel through the stations with–my group was me, Emily and her husband Andy, a power trio if you ask me ;). You’d go through each 10-station circuit 3 times, then at the end, we did 10 minutes of abs as one group.

Moves/stations included rowing, biking up a hill, sprints, squats on a Bosu, bicep curls, pull ups, push ups, squat jump ups and a few more. Again, every class will feature different moves and also a different circuit style format.

What stands out most about this studio is the energy. Luke is kinda of nuts but hilarious and is extremely motivating. Everyone in the class was there to work and have a good time. Emily and Andy are both fitness instructors/trainers so clearly they could do a circuit style workout at their home gym, but they said they go to Training Mate for the energy and because it’s fun. I totally agree and if I was living in LA, I’d go back.

The studio space (West Hollywood location) is pretty big and also has an outdoor area if you want to do your abs or stretching in the fresh air. I thought the studio’s equipment was top notch with tons of variety, far more than typical group fitness studios.

Your first class is FREE at Training Mate, so get on over there and let me know what you think / trainingmatela.com

Y7 Yoga

Oh boy, I forgot how hard Y7 is. I had been a handful of times in NYC and this past weekend was my first visit to the LA studio (West Hollywood). My LA pal Jill is a regular there and together we checked out a Saturday 9am class. I was tired when I walked in but the heat and music helped to wake me up. I’ll admit, I really struggled through class, but I still enjoyed it.

The 60-minute yoga class is done in a heated room, about 80-90 degrees so not too terrible and is set to hip hop music. Most of the time the music isn’t too loud or aggressive, but for focused flows the volume was turned up. Of course each yoga class is different, but ours had some poses I’d never done before and it was a challenge (novice yogi over here). Y7 is definitely a bit of scene but I love the look of the studio space and the vibe.

If you’re in the mood for hot and challenging yoga, give Y7 a try. / y7-studio.com

LA Fitness Studios, What’s Next?

While I don’t have another trip to LA planned at the moment, I’m sure another one will pop up soon. So, what’s your favorite LA fitness spot? What should I try next?

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