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If you know me, you know I love a good fitness class. But the fact is, I simply don’t always have time to get ready and go to an hour long class – and you probably don’t either. And though any length of workout is absoltuely better than nothing, there are times when I want the most bang for my buck. A result-based workout that can be done quickly, for busy weeknights or when traveling. I’m a HUGE fan of interval training. I have found nothing gets me results faster than incorporating intervals into my fitness routine. As someone who used to run long distances regularly, intervals have been a godsend. No more hour long sessions on the cardio machine at the gym for this girl!

HIIT is a good example of that, and after taking classes regularly at Barry’s Bootcamp, I wanted to talk more about intervals. Interval training in general usually means you’re getting a great workout, and is why successful gyms like Barry’s are advocating for it. They’re definitely onto something worth sharing.

What are intervals?

To sum it up, intervals are working at different paces & intensities for a set amount of time, over and over. Working out in intervals keeps your body from feeling “comfortable” during your workout. When you disrupt it every minute or so to pick up or slow down your pace, you end up burning more calories and strengthening your heart, among other things.

Who should do intervals?

Anyone and everyone, though it’ll look different for each person. Intense intervals are something you build up to after spending a few months getting in shape. If you’re a newbie, find the variables that work for you (maybe you’re jogging instead of running – more on this below). Don’t push yourself too hard. Definitely don’t get down on yourself if your intervals don’t look like the person next to you. Believe me, I wasn’t nearly as strong as a lot of people at Barry’s, but I still felt great after each workout (and kinda dead, in a good way). You’ll get to where you want to be after consistently doing intervals a few times a week. Some benefits of interval training: better endurance for long runs, other cardio workouts, improved cardiovascular health, more calories burned, and the biggest one for me – losing belly fat! 

How do I incorporate intervals into my workout?

One of the most common ways to incorporate interval training into your everyday workout is to hop on the treadmill. I definitely understand the treadmill can be a bore, but stay with me here, it’s worth it! And yes, you can totally do intervals off a treadmill, but personally, I appreciate the effectiveness that a treadmill provides (a time clock, ways to monitor speed, stay efficient, etc.).

When you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, start adding in intervals by varying your speed on the treadmill. Make sure to get completely warmed up at a slow pace before you begin to increase your speed (avoid those injuries!) and then determine what your “fast” pace will be and what your “base” pace will be. Test your speeds and find out what works best for you!

Adding incline

If you feel ready to kick your workout up even more, consider adding an incline to your intervals. Don’t be intimidated – you don’t have to run at 6 mph while running uphill (unless you’re into that). You’re actually going to keep the speed the same on this one. Instead of changing the speed every other minute, you’ll increase and decrease your incline – simple! Doing this will definitely intensify your workout and burn even more calories. It’ll also make your heart and body stronger too.

Easy Treadmill Interval Workouts You Can Do

Luckily, I was able to steal a couple treadmill workouts from Justine Cuenco (follow her on Instagram @cococuenco) – if you look at her page you’ll see she is a total boss and a huge fitness buff. The girl’s dedication to fitness and working out is super admirable. So I had to get her custom “Coco Run” and try it out for myself. See below for three examples of interval workouts you can try on the treadmill.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

This run should take you to 4 miles, which is perfect if you’re training for a race! If you’re looking for something a little more quick or dirty, try some hill or speed intervals.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

Repeat 2-3 times for a KILLER workout.

Why Interval Training is the Best Thing Ever and How You Can Add it to Your Fitness Routine | by The Luxi Look

I used to hate, hate, HATE sprints, but now I love them! Love getting my cardio done for the day. Repeat this set at least twice for best results.

If you’re ready to start doing intervals right away, here is some edgy workout clothes I am absolutely loving right now too!

xx, Amy

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

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! From a value perspective, CToday, 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. If you’re a boutique fitness class never, this makes having a Classpass membership a no brainer!

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’ve tried and love, some of them I actually buy classes from outside of Classpass as well, because 2-3x a month just doesn’t cut it for me.

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 a challenging workout that gives you results, go here. My favorite workout by far – the combination of weights and treadmill intervals will help you reach your fitness goals fast.

Y7 Yoga – my favorite yoga studio in LA. Heated, set to hip hop music, and in a super dark room with no mirrors (= no judgement). It’s unlike any hot yoga class I’ve ever taken. Less spiritual (if you’re looking for that vibe, I like Modo Yoga), but always a good sweat and workout.

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!

Hot Pilates – I love heated classes, and these get HOT! Normally mat pilates classes don’t do it for me, but I really enjoy the Hot Pilates Sculpt class. You will sweat and leave feeling 5 pounds lighter.

Ballet Bodies – I’m obsessed with the stretch class. Every time I go to this class, I leave asking myself why I don’t go every week. It’s a must, especially if you have tight hips from running/cycling. Bonus – grab a juice or smoothie from Beverly Hills Juice Company next door after.

JJ Dancer – might just be the best class on Classpass. Not an exaggeration. Even if you’re not a dancer (I’m certainly not), you’ll have so much fun in this class. Choreographed dance moves set to hip hop music followed by a barre-esque toning portion. I tell everyone about this class because I love it so much.

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 LA Studios

Sweat Garage – similar workout to Barry’s Bootcamp. The studio is more bare bones but the classes are insanely tough. Go to Derek’s class – his treadmill portion is the hardest I’ve taken (90 second sprints, whaat?).

Training Mate – fun circuit training based workout. The atmosphere is super social, so bring a friend.

Platefit – some people love it, I couldn’t handle the vibrations. The vibrating plate made me feel nauseous and the workout was just ok.

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.

Burn 60 – I prefer Barry’s + Sweat Garage to Burn 60, but it’s still a good treadmill + weights workout if you’re looking for that. The instructors aren’t as dynamic as the ones at Barry’s, and I found myself having to motivate myself more. Also, it smells like fried chicken when you leave the studio, thanks to the Pavilion’s next door. #willpower

Lift Society – I’ve only taken Glute Lift (it’s exactly what it sounds like). As a weight training newbie, I appreciated the emphasis on form and small class size.

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
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