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Photo: LEKFit
Photo: LEKFit

Los Angeles has no shortage of spectacular places to work out, whether it’s barre on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or glossy gyms filled with high-tech equipment. But the most memorable destination I’ve seen lately is in an even more unlikely spot: a Hancock Park garage.

To be fair, it’s a pretty tricked-out garage, all bright white walls, dark wood on the ground, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and shelves stocked with rebounders, resistance bands, foam rollers, and more. (Think of it as every gal’s dream home gym.) And the trainer in charge, Lauren Kleban, is also totally legit—she’s a former pro dancer who got her start working at Tracy Anderson (way back when the audition call-outs were listed on Craigslist) and Ballet Bodies.

Yet despite the slick veneer there’s still a scrappy, cool vibe to LEKFit, one that’s made devoted clients out of entertainment types like Busy Philipps, Judy Greer, and WhoWhatWear co-founder Hillary Kerr. And then, of course, there are Kleban’s 55-minute workouts themselves—all of which draw from dance and trampoline cardio mixed with resistance training.

“It’s hard,” admits Kleban of her method. “A lot of my clients say they love me in the beginning, they hate me during the workout, and they love me again after.”

Photo: LEKFit

Home is where the sweat is

Kleban’s backyard studio has been open for biz since 2014, when the trainer became pregnant with her first child. She now teaches up to five classes a day—a mix of privates and small group sessions that cap out at six to eight people, depending on the class. Offerings include the Bounce Fit trampoline cardio class, the ballet- and yoga-inspired Sculpt Fit, and Fusion Fit, which includes a mix of dance cardio and high-rep/low-weight strength training.

Although she does offer two classes a day that are open to the public (get the schedule here), Kleban notes that “a lot of my clients just gather their friends and create a class—I [work with] a lot of the fashion and media girls and they all know each other, so it’s word of mouth.”

If you think this sounds like an intimidating crew to sweat with, Kleban insists it’s anything but. “My classes are small and intimate; whether they know each other or not, everyone’s friends after a few classes,” she says. “We support each other, and it’s not competitive. We’re all in it together.”

Sophia Rossi, co-founder of Hello Giggles and a longtime LEKFit devotee, concurs. “Lauren’s workout makes me want to be the best version of myself…or just be exactly like her,” she says.

Adds another LEKFit client, who wishes to remain anonymous: “I’ve tried similar classes and Lauren offers so much more: tougher, smarter, nicer.”

Photo: LEKFit

Breaking the internet

Next up, Kleban’s planning to take her method outside of her own property lines, having just debuted an online workout video platform on the LEKFit website. For the rest of the summer, she’ll be making five mini-workouts available to stream free of charge—arms, legs, core, dance, and trampoline—with a full library of subscription-only videos coming in the fall. (Check out the killer five-minute core routine below.)

“We get a lot of emails from people outside of LA asking for the workout,” Kleban explains. “My clients here travel all the time and they want to be able to take their workouts with them.”

And while she’s considering opening a studio elsewhere—a Beverly Hills or West Hollywood pop-up may be on deck for late summer—Kleban’s aim is ultimately to launch her workout on an even larger scale. “My biggest goal right now is to go online and see what happens,” she says. “If I don’t go the studio route, I’m really interested in seeing how we can incorporate the method into a hotel or a gym.”

Considering that S Factor founder Sheila Kelley—one of Kleban’s biggest inspirations—also launched her fitness empire from her garage, we’d say she’s off to a fortuitous start.

Kleban is smart to take her classes online—just look at how it worked out for Kayla Itsines, Cassey Ho, and the Tone It Up duo