Racing, Rattling, and Posing

Shape up for summer with obstacle courses, shaking plates and infrared yoga.
Learning the ropes at Lock Box’s Obstacle Course Racing. 


PJ Stahl loves bringing teams from his LA CrossFit gym, Lock Box Fitness & Performance Center, to the obstacle course-based Spartan Races. Eventually, it dawned on him that what he really wanted to do was import the Spartan Races to Lock Box. And now, at the brand-new OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) boot-camp classes, 200-pound tires, sandbag races and barricade climbs are all part of the fun. “I wanted to come up with a new training class that was conditioning-based,” says Stahl, who is also an educator for Power Systems, sponsor of the Spartan Races. The Lock Box curriculum consists of three classes that will appeal to any Spartan or Tough Mudder racer: Three Arenas, The Gauntlets, and Ring of Sparta. “They inspire people to take on new challenges,” Stahl says, “and they’re fun for everyone.”


At Platefit studios, seismic conditioning is on the menu.


To anyone too intimidated to step onto their gym’s lone vibrating plate sitting in the corner, Rachael Blumberg’s got you. “I used that plate in the corner 15 years ago,” she says. “After about six weeks, I saw such an incredible difference in my body that I sold everything to buy five plates.” Fast forward to her chain of three successful Platefit studios, where devoted fans shake their way to strength, conditioning, and even cellulite reduction. “Doing high-impact moves on the plate makes them low impact,” Blumberg says, “so nothing’s jarring for the ligaments.” The classes are only 27 minutes long due to the muscle contractions forced by the plates (“30 to 50 times a second!”), and are mostly circuit-type classes, with some barre and dance options.

A soothing red light heats up yoga and bounce classes.


Infrared saunas are all the rage in LA—so what’s next for the healing light technology? Natasha Nelson, who opened her stunning Madre yoga and fitness studio late last year, is on it: infrared-heated classes. “It’s not hot yoga,” she says. “The infrared delivers a warm hug instead of a stifling heat.”

Her studio, a confection of concrete, open-beam ceilings and stucco, a look she calls “industrial femme,” offers yoga, bounce (done with a mini trampoline), and elevate, which combines HIIT, yoga and core. In addition to the infrared heat that is on during all classes, students can also reserve Madre’s infrared sauna. Just welcomed last month: a Reiki-healer residency, and canteen. “I make a killer hummus,” Nelson declares.

—Abby Tegnelia