There are so many reasons why I love Girls Weekends. It gives me a chance to decompress, relax a bit and most importantly, spend lots of quality time with good friends - no distractions, no kids, no work. I also love Girls Weekend because it means I have the opportunity to try out new workout classes in a new city.
This past weekend, My Fave Fitness Hero, a good friend and I headed to West Hollywood for a weekend of fun. Fortunately, we all have Class Pass so on Saturday morning, we checked out what classes were available. One of the classes that caught our eye was a class entirely based on the VersaClimber at a place called Rise Nation. It was described as a full body, zero impact, 30 minutes workout. We couldn't resist so we signed up and headed over to the studio.
Rise Nation is an open two story studio with a check in desk and retail located on the first floor. The staff was super friendly and excited to have a few out of towners join the class. After we checked in, we climbed up the stairs to the second floor which houses a small seating area/lobby with two restrooms. This area then leads into the large studio with about 30 VersaClimbers and a stage. I was new to the VersaClimber so I wasn't sure what to expect. Fortunately, there were three staff members along with the instructor to help individuals get settled in and walk them through the user of the machine. The team member who helped me got me strapped into the machine and then walked me through how to use the machine. The machine has a computer on it with different stats. However, the team member did not walk me through the computer and it turns out, we would not use it in class at all.
Hands down, the best part of the studio was when class starts. There are motorized black out curtains that come down and the entire studio goes pitch black. Until the ceiling lights turn on. It's one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The ceiling has a cool hexagon like pattern to it and there are lights that flash on and off in different colors. It is AMAZING! Then the music kicks in and class officially starts.
The first thing I noticed about the instructor set up was that it was difficult for her and for us as rookies. The VersaClimber is set up on stage so that it is facing the mirror and the instructor's back is to the class. This means the instructor can only really connect with the class by looking into the mirror and the class had a limited view in terms of observing form.
The class ultimately cycled through the following forms:
- Moving legs and arms at a warm up pace (moving the length of the machine at an average speed)
- Moving legs and arms as high as possible (working more core and working the length of the machine without hitting the ground)
- Small but fast movements working a smaller range of length
- Working different grips and taking the hands off the moving bars while moving on the machine
- Holding onto the handle bar and working in a squat (with the focus being on the lower half of the body)
The class itself was full of blood pumping music and lots of energy. Although it was only 30 minutes, it felt a bit longer to me because I could not get comfortable on the machine itself. If you do visit the studio and are new to the machines, I would recommend asking specific questions up front about form. For example, it was unclear to me how much should be legs versus core in getting my body to move. And when focusing only on the lower body, it was unclear to me if it should be more of a squat position or something else.
I would recommend the workout for anyone who likes to try different types of classes and is looking for a good sweat. I'd highly recommend getting some pro tips up front. I think that would have helped me have a better workout and probably would have allowed me to stop worrying so much about whether I was going to hurt myself!