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A Newbie and a Personal Trainer Get “Burned”

Burn60Today is an FBG first: We’re featuring our first post written by someone other than Erin or myself. (I’ll be the first to admit that we’re kinda control freaks when it comes to our content.) So dear readers, please give a warm welcome to Tish Merritt and Mark Arana, our LA correspondents. Both are FBG friends, fans and brave enough to try Burn 60, a cycling-focused high-intensity cardio and strength combo class in Brentwood, Calif.

Tish has recently been bitten by the workout bug, while Mark is a personal trainer who knows his stuff. Below are their accounts of the class, along with a couple of quick-fire Q&As that they had to answer with just one word for fun (except Mark totally cheated on this, as you’ll see). Erin and I were fascinated with the female vs. male and newbie vs. professional perspectives. We think you’ll enjoy it, too!

The Newbie Perspective
By Tish Merritt

Mission: Attend Burn 60 class and not kill thyself in the process.
I’m new to the world of working out, so you can imagine my fear strolling into the workout studio and hearing the sounds of trainers screaming “Move, move, move!!!” while loud, bumping music rattled the otherwise-quiet neighborhood.

The place is intimidating as heck when you first approach it, but as soon as Christina, the trainer for the 8:25 a.m. Burn 60 class, showed up all my fears melted away. She’s a super sweet and energetic “diesel.” (Mark uses this word to describe muscle-tight chicas). I could tell immediately that the women who take Christina’s class regularly love her to pieces. This, my friends, was a trap. Make no mistake about the sweet diesel: she kicked me arse in that class.

There are more people than bikes in the class on purpose. Burn 60 is genius. You do intervals of both cardio and strength training. The crazy-zany part was that Christina could keep up with everything everyone was flippin’ doing. She was championing the bikers while simultaneously keeping counts for those doing strength training on the floor. (For the record, you NEED someone with these types of multi-tasking skills when you’re in plow position shaking with muscle fatigue!)

Each studio at Burn 60 has a clock that each trainer can stop and start as he/she sees fit. If you’re a newbie like me, this is good and bad. Of course, you want to get the most out of your workout, but you also want that clock to speed the heck up when you’re trying to lift a sand-filled stability ball between your legs and crunch at the same time. Yeah, this class will have muscles burning you never thought you even had. You pay Burn 60 to find those muscles and make them scream for mercy.

This was my first spin class ever, and I liked it more than I expected. I don’t know if it was the music, the trainer, the happy, hard-working women or the Kashi cereal I scarfed down before class, but I went spin crazy. I was addicted. I wanted more. I actually smiled through the whole class. I couldn’t help myself.
In a cycling class, you really have control over your own effort level. If you can’t do push-ups (*clearing throat*) then she offers alternatives. And you never worry about reps and pace because you do what you can in the amount of time given. You also control the gears on your bike and the amount of weight that you lift.

You always hear horror stories about coming out of spin classes drenched and miserable. It’s true that you’re soaked, but it’s not an unpleasant drench, my friends. You feel far from miserable. I think the trick is to find a great place with great people who really believe in what they do and happily share it with the masses. I totally recommend Burn 60.

It’s a Los Angeles gem.

In Summation?

  • One word to describe the Burn 60 class? Rockin’.
  • One word to describe the instructor? Perfect.
  • One word to describe how you felt before the class? Scared.
  • One word to describe how you felt during the class? Awesome.
  • One word to describe how you felt after the class? Energized.
  • One word to describe your workout buddy during the class? Sweaty-beast.
  • One word to describe this writing assignment? Fun!

The Personal Trainer Perspective

By Mark Arana
Mission: Attend Burn 60 class and not let Tish die in process.

8:25 a.m. on a Saturday to work out is something I haven’t done in a long time. But as a favor for the Fit Bottomed Girls, I was more than happy to set the alarm at 7 a.m.
When arriving at the facility, the setup was different from what I expected. I thought it would be a traditional gym like Crunch. But as my exercise-partner-in-crime Tish and I walked up to the building, I saw that it was set up in three separate boutique-style studios. One boutique was Burn Pilates, the other was Burn Cardio, and the class we were about to embark on was Burn Cycling. As a personal trainer, I thought something like this made sense: three different types of workouts, all in 60 minutes. As we peeked in the studios, I got a sense of how Burn 60 worked. It combines a cardio session with weight training all in 60 minutes: some members run on the treadmill while others lift dumbbells on a step. Just by looking at the participants’ facial expressions, I could tell this experience might be a little brutal for an early morning class.

After waiting for the earlier class to finish, we finally met our instructor Christina Malizia who, by the way, was charming and sweet. Once the session started, she divided the class in half. Christina had six of us on spin bikes while four others were on the floor with dumbbells and a stability ball. The format went like this: 20 minutes on the bike, 20 minutes on the floor, then 10 minutes on the bike, then the last 10 minutes on the floor. Christina had us do some grueling exercises. She mixed it up with abs, push-ups on the ball, one-legged bicep curls on the ball, chest press and my favorite (not really) burpees. She did a great job multi-tasking the class. She had to keep up with the time, repetitions and, of course, the amazing tunes she played. It had me pumping and sweating for 60 minutes straight.

If you want to burn an amazing amount of calories with exercises that will help sculpt your body, try this class out. You’ll love it. I know I did. I’m still feeling it. I would love to go back and take more classes…especially being the only guy in the class. Hehe.

In Summation?

  • One word to describe the Burn 60 class? Brilliant!
  • One word to describe the instructor? Delightful and strong.
  • One word to describe how you felt before the class? Nonfunctional because it was 8 a.m. on a Saturday.
  • One word to describe how you felt during the class? Energized because the music was great!
  • One word to describe how you felt after the class? Relieved.
  • One word to describe your workout buddy during the class? Courageous because she never took a spinning class.
  • One word to describe this writing assignment? Eager, so I can spread the word.

A big thanks to our new Fit Bottomed Girl and Fit Bottomed Boy for checking this class out and cracking us up. To be honest, we’re kinda jealous that we didn’t get to try it, too! —Jenn

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  1. kjl says:

    Great review, Tishy (and Mark)! It makes me want a Burn 60 in Lawrence!

  2. Anonymous says:

    My how the tables have turned (or spinned). Isn't it usually the gal who can't stick to the one word minimum?!

    Mark…tsk tsk tsk

  3. Anonymous says:

    i'm a man with many words haha

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would freak out in this class, not because it's hard but because doing things like one-legged biceps curls on a ball requires a helmet and good insurance on the part of the club because if my sweaty body falls of the round, sweaty ball that rolls around, I'm getting a big, fat check. Really, that sort of thing is dangerous and not necessary.

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