The 7 Best Fitness Studios We Tried This Year: LA

Our (very picky) LA editor reveals her top fitness studio picks.

Image via Jaimie Baird
Image via Jaimie Baird

I’m a fitness instructor’s worst nightmare.

Blame it on the fact that I was involved in the industry for so long (or that I’m just kind of critical), but I have extraordinarily high standards for group fitness classes … And a low tolerance for uninformed trainers or workouts that could cause an injury. Unfortunately, as a result that means it’s very hard for me to find workout classes that I enjoy.

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Being so discerning isn’t fun—it’s distracting, especially when all I want to do is sweat and release some stress. I annoy myself when I notice that a trainer doesn’t ask about clients’ injuries before the class starts or doesn’t bother offer modifications for challenging movements. When I see an entire room doing a kettlebell swing wrong (read: dangerously) and the trainer doesn’t give a correction, it really bothers me. I wish I could ignore stuff like that and simply focus on giving myself a good workout, but I just can’t.

Needless to say, I’m picky as hell about how I train. And it took me three years of living in L.A. (and a LOT of workout classes) to find a core group of studios that I love. This year, a whole new tribe of sweat lovers cropped up on the West Coast—and I couldn’t be happier. Keep your eye on these studios—they’re my seven favorite places to sweat in L.A., and I’ve no doubt that you’ll only hear more about them in 2017.

LIT Method


The idea behind LIT Method is really what sold me: Low-impact, high-intensity interval training (HIIT).  According to the latest in exercise science, HIIT workouts are the most effective type of workout for burning fat and increasing cardiovascular endurance—score.

I really fell in love with LIT while I was training for the New York City Marathon. Because I was running so much, it was key for me to find a low-impact strength workout that I could do in addition to my regular long runs. The combination of bodyweight training and cardio was seriously effective (according to my Apple Nike+ Watch I burn close to 450 calories in a 45-minute class, which is a lot for me), and really fun.

Sign up for class here

Unplug Mediation Studio

2016 has been the unofficial sponsor of recovery and self-care. Although I resisted trying meditation for a long time—and still find it incredibly challenging—I notice a serious difference in my mood, worldview, and efficiency when I make the time for it. But I still have to remind myself that taking 15 to 30 minutes a day to meditation isn’t a silly “luxury”—it’s a necessity makes me better at life.

Unplug Meditation has been a saving grace more times than I can count this year. Everything from the wonderful, grounded teachers to the minimalist meditation room just oozes serenity. Plus they have complimentary tea in the lobby for you to sip on as you hang out after class—just another reason to love the place!

Sign up for class here

The Class


I walked into Taryn Toomey’s class in Tribeca three years ago, one week before I was set to move from NYC back to L.A. I loved it—the shaking, the shouting, and the loud music were downright primal, and when it was all said and done I felt more calm and centered than I did after my regular yoga classes—but conceded to the fact that I’d have to visit New York to get my fix.

So, I was ecstatic when I learned at the start of 2016 that The Class was popping up in Venice for a few days a week. Flash forward to nearly one year later, and Natalie Kuhn and her crew of instructors have become the fitness-darlings of the Westside. If you haven’t hit up The Class yet, check it out at its new permanent location at Yogis Anonymous in Santa Monica.

Sign up for class here

MVMT Theory

A video posted by MVMT THEORY (@mvmtheory) on

Hands down, MVMT Theory was my most surprisingly delightful discovery of the year. Billed more as a dance class than a workout class, the 60-minute sessions kick off with a yoga-like warm-up complete with planks and chaturangas, which seamlessly transitions into a Beyonce-style hip hop class.

Yes, you will feel sexy AF by the end of this dance experience. The super stylish, ever-so-sweet instructors make even the most uncoordinated non-dancers feel like they’re good enough to star in a music video (or at least dance backup), and when they dim the lights at the end and turn up the music for the “Burn Out” section it’s pure dance cardio-bliss. Coming from the girl who usually looks more like Elaine from Seinfeld than Jessica Alba from Honey when it comes to dancing in public—but feels like Beyonce after a MVMT Theory sesh—you’ve got to get to this class.

Sign up for class here

Barry’s Bootcamp – Weho

When I walk into the Barry’s red room, I think _______. 📸: @sweatconcierge

A photo posted by Barry’s Bootcamp (@barrysbootcamp) on


When I need to get a serious workout in that I know won’t disappoint, I go to Barry’s. Some of the most intelligent (and ripped) trainers I know are Barry’s Bootcamp instructors, and swear by the method for keeping them in great shape year-round. The franchise has been in the boutique fitness game for a long time and is only gaining in popularity, so they’re clearly doing something right.

Or a lot of things. The trainers’ killer playlists, the super fancy treadmills that are practically begging for your to hit a PR sprint, and of course the notorious red lighting in the studio all add to the allure of Barry’s Bootcamp. If you haven’t stopped by the classic West Hollywood location, consider this your call to action: They’ve doubled the size of the old space by knocking down a few walls. It’s gorgeous and spacious, and definitely worth a visit.

Sign up for class here

Electric Flight Crew

Sure, EFC doesn’t technically have a studio. But that’s because the city of Los Angeles is the running group’s playground—with three different meet up locations conveniently placed throughout the city, you’re bound to find a spot that works for you.

I can’t say enough about this group. The Electric Flight Crew team is inclusive, cool, fun, athletic, and so freakin’ friendly—it’s gotta be the endorphins or something, because normal people aren’t usually so awesome. No matter if you’re a running novice or a seasoned ultra-marathoner, you’ll fit right in with EFC.

I’m a big fan of the No-Shower Happy Hour that follows every training run. But if you’re more into the workout than the post-run beers, you can even meet up with EFC on the weekends for a Sunday Funday class, which is sponsored by a different studio every month.

Sign up for a run here

Y7

A photo posted by Y7 Yoga Studio (@y7studio) on


Sometimes yoga is too stuffy and precious for me to get out of my head about it. Y7 is the opposite—nothing is sacred, but in a good way. The instructors here are all top-notch yogis that can still crack a joke or drop an F-bomb in the middle of class. There’s zero “yoga teacher voice” happening here, probably because every class is accompanied by a dope hip-hop-inspired playlist that would overpower any psuedo-serious yoga voice anyway.

The icing on the cake is that Y7 uses infrared sauna heat in its classes, so you’ll get a detoxifying experience in every class.

Sign up for class here


Did I miss one of your favorite L.A.-based classes? Shoot me an email at michellepellizzon@sporteluxe.com and we’ll go on a sweat date. 

Michelle Pellizzon
Michelle Pellizzon is a certified health coach, holistic nutritionist, NASM-certified PT, healthy living expert, and the U.S. Senior editor of Sporteluxe. When she's not writing, you can probably find her running the trails of the Santa Monica mountains, trying to meditate, or searching for the best coffee in LA.