My First Time: Sweat Garage


The mission to lose 5 pounds has been upgraded to 10 pounds thanks to a “oh forget health” road trip this past week.  At least my fat is tanned.

So off to Sweat Garage we go.  

My workout buddy and I have hit up all things unhealthy in that plaza (shots of the day at Fat Dog, pretentious coffee at Commissary, fatty meat at Lindy & Grundy, om nom pizza at Pitfire).  Although we’re regulars for Bada Bing juice,  oddly enough, we had yet to attend Sweat Garage.  Since it opened in July, we’ve been trying to ignore that guilty feeling when we catch a glimpse of Sweat Garage on our way to hot dogs and rock shrimp, so it was only a matter of time before we surrendered.

And surrender we did, thanks to a free first class from our friends at Broke Girls Guide!

Generally pumped for a workout, I am mourning my third (THIRD!) parking ticket of the month, and really not in the mood to bring it.  What sets me off further is Sweat Garage’s lack of towel service, which I maintain should be provided when towels are mandatory (Yes - I am bitching about spending $7 on a towel when the class is free.  I know, I know)*.  This aside, I don’t think Ryan Gosling can relieve me of this mood if he handed me a stack of towels wearing only a towel.  I am just exuding negative energy this morning.

Sweat Garage to the rescue: the next hour will strip me of any energy I could possibly put toward negative thoughts.  I guess that’s what happens when you burn up to 600 calories in a one-hour class.

Sweat Garage runs off of the DECABODY workout, which essentially means using 10 different types of exercise to achieve body-improving results.  Those 10 workouts are listed as running, weight training, resistance training, plyometrics, jump rope, endurance training, kettlebells, core conditioning, interval training and Tabata training.  Each individual workout varies (which keeps it fresh); we used all but kettlebells in this class.

The class du jour is Max Out.  It is exactly as it sounds. We picked quite the day to start.

The garage door goes down, indicating the start of class.  I’m sure there is an exit, but something about the garage door being shut as class starts really solidifies that we aren’t going anywhere until this is through. 

Owner and trainer Christopher Slevin heads up the class.  I have to say, he is a refreshing change from a lot of the “explore what feels right for your body today” subscribing trainers I’ve had in the past.  If giving up or slowing down feel right for my body today, they are still not options.  This is not to say that he doesn’t provide individual attention and modifications to each person in the 20-person class, it just means that those modifications are still going to reach the max of what each individual can physically achieve.

The class starts with a four minute warmup on the treadmill.  The first minute is a jog, and moves up 1MPH each minute.  For me, this is 5MPH - 8MPH; I believe there are people who doing 4-7 and 6-9.

After this, we switch places with the other half of the class, and continue the warmup on the floor.  For this section, we complete two minutes jumping rope and two minutes of ab bicycles.  That damn jump rope still trips me up, but I am improving (not quite as good as when I was 10, but we’ll say I’m back at age 7 level of dexterity).

My workout buddy and I give each other a look after this.  That was the warmup?  We’re already soaked with sweat.  This is going to be rough.

The body of the Max Out class is broken into 90 second intervals, switching back and forth from the treadmill to the floor with weights.  We do seven treadmill intervals and seven weight intervals.

The 90 second treadmill intervals are set at the fastest pace we reached during the warm up, or the fastest each of us think we can maintain.  Incidentally, this is the only area where you can choose your own adventure.  Once you have committed to a speed (which Christopher surveys on the first sprint), that’s it.  You are committed to this.  Love the accountability**.  As we know, I revere fitness instructors as godlike beings for the duration of classes, so I stick to the 8, even when I think I’m going to be flung off the back of the treadmill, and even increase each interval by .1.  This makes me feel pretty proud, but also (unfortunately), intensely nauseas.  I think that means it’s working.

The one element I am too terrified to try is jumping on the treadmill from the sides at the max sprint pace, and jumping off when the sprint is over.  I fell off a treadmill on a cruise ship once (true story), and this risk is just not worth it to me.  To ensure I still sprint for the full 90 seconds, I bring myself up to the sprint during the brief rest, and bring myself back down after it’s stopped.  This extra running is motivation to learn how to jump on and off of the treadmill at some point soon.

The 90 second weight workouts bring the body to total fatigue.  Trust - 90 seconds lasts longer than it sounds when you are committed to one weight workout at a time.  Using 10 pound weights, we do seven different weight intervals: bicep curls, skull crushers, boxing, shoulder presses, chest presses, overhead tricep extensions and burpees.  I am at the point at 60 seconds into the later intervals where I can’t will my arms to move.  Christopher gives me a couple modifications after I told him I have a bad shoulder from when I tripped over a dog running (another true story), and I somehow make it through.

By the end of the intervals, my body is truly maxed out.  This seems to be the case for everyone else in the class as well.

The class prices start at $20 for an individual class, and work down to $12/class if you buy a 50 class series.  If you can make the 50 class commitment, it’s quite a steal for the individual attention and intense workout.  There is also a current special (on sale until June 8th) for 30 days unlimited at $175.  My body couldn’t handle more than a couple classes each week, but if yours can, this is another great deal.

Unrelated to anything exercise (other than, ya know, creating an environmentally sound planet where we can safely exercise outside), Sweat Garage incorporates a number of green/environmental initiatives in the gym.  Respect on that front, for sure - take note greenies.

The deets:

Sweat Garage

801 N. Fairfax Ave

Los Angeles - 90046


The takeaways:  Free parking!  Bring water and a towel.  Don’t throw up.

*The towel was absolutely necessary (and in the policies listed in the pricing page on the website).  You win this one, Sweat Garage.

**If we’re being real, I hate it at the time but love it when it’s done.