Sports | October 18, 2017 10:30 am

In Search of the Toughest Fitness Class

Outside magazine goes on mission to find the toughest gyms in Los Angeles.

losing muscle
Man lifting weights in gymnasium. (Getty Images)

It’s a fair question for fitness buffs: “What gym in my area is going to kick my ass the hardest?” In other words, how sculpted can you get, given your busy schedule.

Outside magazine’s Nate Dern set out to figure that exact question out in Los Angeles, a city known for its health nuts and fitness-first attitude. RealClearLife has teased out Dern’s best-of list below.

Spinning – FlyWheel – As Dern writes, “Slate called FlyWheel ‘SoulCycle for uber-competitive sadists,’ on account of the TorqBoard, a ranked display of each rider’s power output. In effect, you can ‘win’ at exercise, which, as an aspiring uber-competitive sadist, I found to be highly motivating.”

Private Gym – LIFT – Located on L.A.’s east side, LIFT is a private gym owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team—and has a cardio-averse regimen. Writes Dern: “[My trainer] condemns cardio with the same intensity that precocious kindergartners announce to their classmates that they don’t believe in Santa Claus.”

Boxing – Echo Park Boxing and Muay Thai Gym – If you’re wondering, Muay Thai has nothing to do with the umbrella cocktail. It has everything to do with kicking ass. Dern also explores jiujitsu, getting to choke out an opponent.

Barre – Pure Barre – Dern says that his experience with barre is that it’s “Excruciatingly hard.” The most he seems to get out of the class is a $12 pair of “sticky socks,” which provide traction on a slippery floor surface.

Pilates – Club Pilates/Lagree Fitness/Plate Fit – “If barre is excruciating,” says Dern, “Pilates is agonizing.”

HIIT – Orangetheory Fitness – Says Dern of his choice: “In addition to top-notch equipment, skilled instructors, and well-designed workouts, the feature that sets Orangetheory apart from other boutique HIIT gyms is its incorporation of customized heart rate monitoring. With more than 700 locations and nearly half a billion dollars in annual revenue, I’m not the first person to deem it the fitness class of choice.”