It’s universally understood that both New Yorkers and Angelenos are obsessed with boutique fitness. Yet cultural differences abound. “People in New York usually understand complicated exercises faster than boot campers in Los Angeles,” dishes Barry’s Bootcamp COO Joey Gonzalez. (He also notes that LA men are much faster to whip their shirts off then men in NYC.)
But just how does SoulCycle’s new West Hollywood location (or Physique 57 in Beverly Hills or Barry’s Bootcamp in West Hollywood) stack up against its East Coast sister studios?
Well+Good reporter Sharon Feiereisen packed her sneakers, spin shoes, and nubby barre socks for a fitness tour of Los Angeles’s larger boutique studios.
The popular spin brand, now owned by Equinox, just opened its first LA location in West Hollywood.
The public areas are spacious and sun-drenched, and locker rooms are roomier than NYC’s. But the cycling studio is as, um, intimate as ever—52 bikes squeezed tightly into the candle-lit room. Yes, your sweaty arm will graze your neighbor’s.
The workout mirrors NYC’s and features bi-coastal instructors, like Roarke Walker and the fiesty and uber-talented Kim Perfetto. LA SoulCyclists aren’t quite as skilled as New Yorkers yet, so NYC wins for intensity level. But we have a feeling it won’t be long before LA spinners go the Jill Kargman route and dub the studio their spinagogue, too.
When it comes to whittling away the pounds, it’s hard to beat Barry’s treadmill-strength training combo. It all started here, with Barry Jay, a decade before the Kardashians called it their fitness home.
New Yorkers who whine about the tight locker rooms and showers at the Chelsea studio, brace yourselves: the West Hollywood original is infinitely smaller and has just one unisex bathroom. There’s barely enough room to wait inside for the studio doors to open—and there’s no Fuel Bar. That said, Barry’s Bootcamp attracts some seriously ripped and committed regulars: very attractive (shirtless) West Hollywood gay boys and toned trophy wives of studio heads (remember Ari Gold’s Entourage quip?).
Pure Yoga’s luxe studios on the Upper East and Upper West Sides offer classes with some of the city’s best teachers—whether you’re a Hot Power Vinyasa enthusiast, a Figure 4 aficionado, or an Anusara devotee. Click here for your one-day trial.
Core Fusion at Exhale
Because of the location, classes always contain a few newbie students who are hotel guests. Classes don’t tend to get as packed at they do in Manhattan. More room at the barre! That said, instructors may not pay as close attention to students as they do in NYC. And class feels less frantically paced than in New York.
“The LA studio is more laid back,” Core Fusion creator Fred Devito says, “and the NYC workouts are a bit more intense. This may play into the energy of each city.”
(We didn’t get to the Venice studio on this trip, but it’s yoga central with many of the West Coast’s top teachers.)
Located in a gorgeous, sprawling, glass-enclosed space in Beverly Hills (jealous yet?), Physique 57 has two classrooms and attracts some of LA’s most well-toned (and famous) bodies. We’re only allowed to mention Emmy Rossum (star of Shameless). But trust us, others go.
Even with its high-profile clients, the brand’s cache and following is much bigger in New York, which is reflected in the number of studios here.
Still, classes feel pretty consistent: Among LA’s most popular instructors are Kim and Katie, who both initially taught in New York, so they know how to get your quads and glutes shaking.
Know Before You Go
1. No matter what studio you go to for your workout, classes in LA cost less than their NYC counterparts.
2. Expect to see more men in class on the West Coast than you would on the East Coast (even in a barre class like Physique 57).
3. While New Yorkers tend to get an early start with 6:00 a.m. workouts, early sweat sessions are offered less on West Coast schedules.
4. New Yorkers tend to be in-and-out when it comes to their workouts, but in LA people don’t have that same sense of urgency (i.e. don’t expect half the class to bolt right before the cool down).
5. A lot of LA trainers are also actors/models. Maybe that doesn’t surprise you?