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When it comes to working out, lately I’ve been all about getting the most bang for my buck. I’ve been opting for higher intensity workouts over my usual pilates and yoga. Incorporating more sprints has been a welcome change in my routine  (and body!), but unfortunately led to my very pesky IT band flaring up, leading to knee pain after my workouts. What’s a girl to do?! Luckily, I got really into foam rolling and it has been a tremendous lifesaver.

Foam rolling is something that’s been around for awhile now. I only recently decided I really wanted to take a deeper look into it. If you aren’t sure what foam rolling is, it’s incorporating an actual foam roll into your workout routine, but the real benefits of foam rolling come from the massage you get by using it. Here’s some of the research and other information I found on the benefits in case you’re interested, too!

How do you foam roll?

The most common way to use a foam roller is with your calves (which can get sore easily and from a lot of workouts). Place it under your calf and slowly roll from your knee to ankle. Then, with the roller under your right leg, your left leg bent and your left ankle crossed over the right, slowly roll again. It’s important to go really slow. You can even let the roller sit under any areas that are extremely sore/tight for up to 30 seconds.

It’s a really simple movement and can also be done with your thighs and arms. Seems simple enough, right?

My favorite is using it on my IT band – your IT band, or iliotibial band, is the ligament that runs from your pelvic bone (hips) all the way down to your shins. This band helps rotate your helps as well as stabilize your knee – when you hear of runner’s knee or IT band syndrome, we’re talking about this part of your body. Foam rolling has done wonders for helping massage my IT band, allowing me to run longer and faster.

Why Foam Rolling is the Best Thing Ever | by The Luxi Look

Why is the massage from foam rolling so beneficial?

The benefits from foam rolling are all about the mobility of the fascia. What is fascia? It’s a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles in our body. If the fascia doesn’t have mobility, its fibers become linked and fuse to the muscles and nerves, which prevents normal motion and will cause pain.

That was a lot of science and complicated information, but when you break it down, it does make sense! The main takeaway is that foam rollers help to massage your fascia to keep it from binding to your muscles and nerves. And it’s essential to a healthy body because if the fascia does bind, it can cause constant pain. No thanks!

Foam rolling is also a smart way to loosen your muscles and treat knots that cause muscular pain. Of course you should always see a doctor if you have any health concerns, but you can definitely use foam rolling as a way to treat your body to a massage after a workout – without having to pay a masseuse. It’s especially cool if you’re training for a marathon or doing something constantly challenging.

How often should I foam roll?

Foam rolling isn’t something you need to do for hours to feel the results. Some experts recommend doing it for just a few minutes each day, or up to 15. I do it for around 2-3 minutes everyday, focusing on the spots that are a little more tender or sore. You should look at it as something to help you (and your body) relax, not as work! And, a good foam roller can be found for under $20 – so it’s really a no brainer.

I hope this was helpful and gave you some new info on something that is so good for your body. If you’ve foam rolled before, I want to hear from you and all about your experience!

Fresh off a 7 day Barry’s Bootcamp challenge (yep, that’s 7 classes in 7 days) and I literally cannot move, my body is so sore. I didn’t think my body would be able to handle 7 days in a row of such intense exercise! While I’m happy I was able to push myself to complete the challenge, I’m actually pretty relieved it’s over. Back to my 3x/week workout plan, haha! I will say that Barry’s Bootcamp is the best workout I’ve ever done for my body, and since starting to take classes (at first sporadically, now somewhat more consistently), I’ve been able to see a real change in my body. Read: slowly maybe gaining some muscle definition? Anyway, for those of you that aren’t familiar with Barry’s Bootcamp, it’s a form of HIIT. What is HIIT, you ask? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to lose weight and tone up fast! With swimsuit season HERE and intimidating as ever, if you’re looking to shape up quickly, you definitely want to be doing HIIT.

What is HIIT?

HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is an exercise method in which you alternate between periods of high intensity exercises (read: really hard) with low intensity exercises. For example – sprinting on the treadmill for 30-60 seconds, followed by walking or jogging for 30-90 seconds.

Why is HIIT effective?

By switching between high and low intensities, HIIT has been shown to burn more calories and fat than steady state exercise and boost your metabolism. It’s effective and allows you to shorten your time at the gym with all the benefits and then some. If you hate the thought of an hour on the treadmill or the elliptical machine, then you definitely want to incorporate more intervals in your life! I’m heading to Europe in two weeks and in anticipation of being in a swimsuit 24/7 I’ve definitely been trying to ramp up my workouts – HIIT is a great way to do so!

And of course, one of the best ways to motivate myself to hit the gym is by buying a new gym outfit. Whatever it takes, right? ; )

Look cute while training with my favorite edgy workout wear picks:

Cropped Star Hoodie

As you already know, I have a huge soft spot for anything with stars on it. This cropped hoodie is perfect for throwing on over a sports bra and running to the gym, going on a hike, running errands, or even just laying around the house.

My Favorite Sports Bra for HIIT

This sports bra has gotten me through the toughest workouts! It’s especially great for high intensity workouts as it provides medium support (for small to medium chests) which is perfect for anything from weight lifting to spin to pilates class.

The BEST Leggings Ever by Varley

Love the material Varley uses for their workout clothes, not to mention they always come in the coolest prints and most flattering shapes. You probably already have 10 pairs of basic black leggings, so opt for a pair with some mesh detailing (black + mesh panels = super slimming pant!).

Get To-and-From the Gym in this Mesh Jacket

Very into mesh details right now, can you tell? This jacket is simple yet edgy (love both black and white versions!) and at $25 (!!) is the ideal breathable layer to bring with you as you go to and from your workout this summer. I have the black version and I love it!

A Must Have Printed Cut Out Sports Bra

As you can tell, Strut This makes some of my favorite workout clothes. This cut out sports bra is different than the usual basic sports bra so you’ll be sure to stand out at the gym.

Light as Air APL Sneakers

These sneakers really are SO comfortable! One of my favorite bloggers, Marianna Hewitt wears these all the time and I knew I had to snag a pair for myself. The all black is classic and goes with everything, but these light as air sneakers come in so many fun colors (including rose gold, my fave!).

How are you shaping up for summer?

My workout routine is constantly changing. I get bored of the same class after a while, not to mention your body plateaus if you keep doing the same thing. If you’re bored with your current routine or not seeing changes in your body, you may want to check out Classpass. I’ve debated writing this post for a long time, because my relationship with Classpass Los Angeles has been on and off.

For those of you that aren’t familiar – Classpass describes itself as a  “new kind of gym membership that grants you access to thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in your city and around the world.

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

When Classpass first launched, the membership offered unlimited classes at hundreds of studios for $99 a month. Over time, the business found that model to be unsustainable and after a couple price hikes, has gotten rid of the unlimited feature. While that move was unpopular, it was absolutely necessary. Anyone who is familiar with boutique fitness classes understands that they run anywhere from $12-$30 for a single class, with unlimited monthly memberships at some studios running upwards of $300/month!

I never fully maximized the unlimited option – I could never seem to book the classes I wanted, the times I could actually attend before or after work always filled up right away, and I honestly prefer more of a consistent routine. Then there were some studios that I wanted to go to more than 3x a month and either paying more out of pocket for more classes or not going at all. Like a bad relationship, I found myself quitting and coming back for two years.

Today, pricing for Classpass Los Angeles (may vary in the city you live in) begins at $40/month for 3 classes, $60/month for 5 classes, and $115/month for 10 classes, with options to purchase additional classes through the app if you use up all of your classes for the month. The downside is still that the number of times you can visit each individual studio is capped, depending on the membership you have.

I like to switch between the 5 and 10 class per month memberships, which gives me flexibility to try different studios and mix up my routine. While the new Classpass isn’t as much of a deal as the unlimited version, it’s still by far the best bang for your buck in terms of taking a variety of boutique fitness classes. Here are the classes that I think are worth trying on Classpass Los Angeles. These are the studios that I always try to max out on and the ones that I actually go back to as a loyal customer and buy classes from.

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

hoodie: bebe | grey activewear set: grana

My Favorite Classpass Los Angeles Studios

Barry’s Bootcamp – if you want results, go here.Weights + treadmill intervals get the job done. I keep a normal class package in my account but will always max out my Classpass classes here.

Y7 Yoga – my favorite yoga studio in LA. Heated, set to hip hop music, and in a super dark room. The instructors are all pretty solid, but my favorite is Jess.

The Studio MDR – hands down the best megaformer (pilates on crack) workout in the city. I drove from West Hollywood to Culver City/Marina Del Rey for over a year to take classes here. The commute got to be too long, but I still have a huge soft spot for The Studio MDR. Classes on their own are expensive, but worth it! If you find a rare spot open on Classpass, snag it asap!

Training Mate – fun circuit training based workout. The atmosphere is super social, so bring a friend. The Australian trainers cracking bad jokes at you the whole time don’t hurt either.

Ballet Bodies – the stretch class is a godsend. If you want to loosen things up, help prevent injuries, and feel like a ballerina, go here!

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Other Classpass Los Angeles Studios Worth Trying

Sweat Garage – similar workout to Barry’s Bootcamp. The studio is more bare bones but classes feel more intimate, and less intimidating.

Hot Pilates – a variety of heated yoga/barre/dance-inspired classes, but in a hot studio. Makes the workout way more intense. The classes are great on the weekend when you need to sweat out the bad stuff.

Cycle House – personally not the biggest fan of spin but everyone else seems to love it. This one has a bit of a cult following. Classes are intense and you will sweat a LOT.

Flywheel – again, if spinning is your thing, definitely check out Flywheel.

Prevail – classes are tough to get into on Classpass, but the actual workout (boxing + conditioning) is a ton of fun and will get you into shape.

Fitmix – the combination of pilates on the reformer + crazy treadmill intervals is beyond killer.

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

These are the classes in the West Hollywood/Mid City/Hollywood area that I’ve taken and would recommend. I’ve taken classes at other studios that just weren’t as memorable, so if you have a question about any in the area give me a holler. Now that there’s a limit on the number of classes you take a month, Classpass feels less like a membership to help you find new studios, and more like an affordable way to take boutique fitness classes at a handful of your favorite spots. If you’re used to working out 5+ days a week, you’ll either need to adjust your routine or supplement with a membership elsewhere.

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Grana was kind enough to send a couple sets of their new activewear to me to try out. I’ve tested and worn their basics before (here and here) and have always been blown away by the quality and prices of their pieces. Despite having a closet full of yoga pants, I was missing a pair of the perfect black leggings. These photos were quickly snapped with my photog and friend, Lauren, before running off to a bootcamp class together. I wore this black set for the first time and was surprised by how comfortable the material was and how well the fabric wicked off moisture during even a very intense and VERY sweaty workout sesh.

Honestly, I really, really love these leggings and the best part is they’re only $49. The matching bra is only $29. Sizing is slightly smaller than in the US, so size up if you’re unsure.

I’ve been impressed by a lot of Grana’s launches, but the activewear line may actually be my favorite (so far!).

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Classpass Los Angeles - Studios Worth Trying | by The Luxi Look wearing Grana Activewear

Happy Friday! Wanted to quickly chat with you guys about YOGA before the weekend. I’ve shared my workout routine before, but something I’ve been trying to incorporate more lately is yoga. I find exercise to be the #1 form of stress relief for me, but nothing clears my mind the way yoga does.

I know a lot of people think yoga is “boring” and “not real exercise” (I disagree with both statements!) – but I really do believe yoga is one of the best things you can do for your body.

The benefits of yoga are practically endless – increased strength and flexibility, improved circulation, posture, bone health, stress relief, the list goes on and on… It’s also a great cross-training option – especially if you run and/or lift weights! I especially love hip opening stretches (LOVE/HATE half pigeon pose).

The key is to find the type of yoga that is right for you. Here’s a helpful guide to different types of yoga. My personal favorite is heated vinyasa (the heat is so detoxifying), so I stick to that. Although LA has a seemingly endless amount of yoga studios, I had a hard time finding a studio I really loved. Lately I’ve been really into Y7 studio – basically heated vinyasa set to badass music (think tons of hip hop).
Why You Should Practice Yoga | The Luxi Look
Why You Should Practice Yoga | The Luxi Look
Why You Should Practice Yoga | The Luxi Look

In terms of what to wear to yoga, it helps to wear something slightly more form fitted so you’re not constantly readjusting your clothes. There are so many stylish athleisure brands out there today – if you’re looking for a wide selection definitely check out Sculptique – some of the cutest workout clothes out there.

I’ve always wanted to get my yoga teacher training certification – any trained yoga teachers out there with insight or advice?

Happy weekend babes!

xx, Amy

top and leggings: koral activewear from sculptique

Work It Out

Work it Out | The Luxi Look

Let’s talk health and fitness… I haven’t always been the biggest fan of working out and it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started exercising consistently. To this day, gyms intimidate me so I stick what I know and love – group fitness classes. I’ve tried it all – barre, spin, yoga, pilates, circuit training, etc. (Classpass is good if you don’t know what you like or already know you like everything). There’s really no quick fix to getting in shape – consistency is the key. It wasn’t until this past year that I really found what I love and have been sticking to a routine that has led to actual results for the first time in my life.

Sooo currently my routine is Barry’s Bootcamp 2x a week with a hike or a different type of class mixed in here or there. I love the combination of intervals on the treadmill (the only way to do cardio) and weight lifting, and aim to sweat for an hour 3-4x a week. Being active has really become part of my lifestyle and it helps so much with anxiety, stress, and general mood and well being. It’s not always fun or easy to get up early and workout, but I always feel amazing after when those endorphins kick in.

Call me crazy, but new and cute workout clothes are definitely motivation for me to get my ass to the gym. How cute are these sets? There have definitely been mornings when I’ve wanted to stay in bed but then I remember the cute gym clothes I set aside and somehow that drags me out of bed…

Work it Out | The Luxi Look

Work it Out | The Luxi Look

I love Strut This for their matching sets and somehow the “one size fits all” sizing is actually that. The fabric is super soft and comfortable – and they have the cutest prints. Definitely check them out if you haven’t already.

Work it Out | The Luxi Look

Work it Out | The Luxi Look

Varley is another new fave – the material is incredible for sweat wicking so wear to any of your favorite activities, you will fall in love! I love discovering new activewear lines, I feel like the athleisure trend continues to stay, which makes me feel better about running around town in my workout clothes all day.

What’s your workout routine / how do you stay healthy and grounded?

xx, Amy

photos: ryan chua

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