My First Time: Pink Iron (Lean and Mean)

I’ve been hearing rave reviews about Pink Iron from a couple of my fit gal pals since it opened. The classes offered are bootcamp-style circuit training, which I have come to realize is the fastest way to lose weight that i have yet to try. As I much prefer to deal with these classes with friends, I suck it up and wake up early to join one of my raving gal pals for a 7AM Lean and Mean class. I will note that while I feel leaner after, I am also most CERTAINLY meaner due to insufficient sleep. I can’t fault Pink Iron for this.

The studio is located in the same strip mall complex as the famous-even-in-the-flyovers Barry’s Bootcamp. There’s also a Jiu Jitsu studio there. Perhaps there is a zoning law in West Hollywood that puts all the pain together. In any case, when I arrive at 6:45, there are already people in the complex working hard.

Pink Iron is the ladies only fitness facility in the complex. This is accented by the miniature poodle that greets me at the door (the name is Barbell - adorbs), the incredibly clean and sparkly locker room with shampoo and hair driers, and the fact that the really heavy weights are pink. The idea behind this girls only rule is to facilitate a supportive environment where women don’t have to dress up to work out (I don’t own any Lulu Lemon; this has never been a concern for me), and to offer workouts that are specifically catered toward the majority of women’s fitness goals (read: toning vs. bulking up). I’m all for it.

There are six people in this class (love), which is taught by an encouraging coach who is socially-spazzy in the best possible way. The spazz-factor lowered the intimidation factor of the impending boot camp. She walks us through the plan and the proper form for all of the strength exercises, and then we are off to kick it off with a warmup run.

Here’s something I just love: the cardio intervals are outside. Not on a treadmill! Just a quick run out of the studio, down the street to Barney’s Beanery-adjacent, and back up. This really punctuates the workout in such a refreshing way; and it’s nice to feel outside air in the middle of a killer workout.

The strength cycle starts with 20 reps of five exercises, followed by outdoor running in between each cycle. The first cycle is mini bell jumps (jumping from the floor onto a stack of barbells and back down), double arm kettlebell snatches (I had to look that term up too) with a 17 lb kettlebell, grand plié squat reach and jumps, thrusters with two 8 lb weights, and finally burpees - the bane of my workout existence. Each subsequent cycle cuts off the first exercise of the previous cycle, therefore the strength cycles go down to four, three, two and finally just those damn burpees in the last cycle. The strength exercises are quick and keep the cardio up; pounds of sweat are coming off me from the very beginning. 

After everyone finishes all five cycles and runs, we do a quick Tabata that alternates four 20-second ab twists and four 20-second planks. Not to be a martyr, but I would have loved a few more minutes of abs to end the workout. It was the one area that didn’t really feel fully burned out at the end of the workout. I was not about to be the girl in class that raised her hand when the teacher forgot to assign homework, so I keep my mouth shut.

The workout was fantastic. It was fast-paced and challenging, but not rushed and too strenuous for proper form. Each class varies, which keeps it fresh and effective. It was one of the better workouts I’ve tried in the past few months, and that fact that it’s “girls only” shouldn’t indicate otherwise.

For whatever reason, there is a perception of female-focused workout classes that they must be easy. You know the classes I’m talking about: any class that incorporates the word “bar,” “physique,” or “pilates,” or any class that talks about toning, as opposed to bulking up. I’m not sure where this perception comes from, but I’ve heard guys scoff at them, and I’ve even heard the ladies dismiss them as “not my thing - I prefer hardcore workouts” before giving it a shot.

Listen. I’ve done the dude classes, and I’ve done the lady classes, I’ve dragged dudes along to the lady classes, and the consensus is: they’re all hard. Just because Sweat Garage (which I love) has a wider selection of heavier weights, doesn’t mean it’s any better of a workout than Pink Iron (which, as indicated above, I also love). Unless you’re looking for body-builder type strength (to each his own, but it totally went out in the 80‘s), you probably don’t need to max out on the heaviest weights in the gym. Weights that provide a challenge, but that aren’t so heavy that they prevent correct form, are going to be the better route. So lay off the ‘tude about lady classes. 

Burst of exercise-feminism has passed; back into the details. The first trial class is free, monthly unlimited memberships are $149/month, and individual classes start at $20 (working all the way down to $13/class if you purchase a 30 pack). The other classes offered at Pink Iron are yoga and Group Training (less boot camp, more strength training). More deets, you ask? 

The Deets:

Pink Iron

1106 N. La Cienega,
West Hollywood, CA. 90069

Takeaways: Free parking in garage off of La Cienega, towel service and yoga mats provided, not a place to scam on dudes, 800-1000 calories burned during Lean and Mean