If you've never heard of Elliptifit that's no surprise; there's only one studio so far, in West Los Angeles. Last week I had the chance to take a class with the creator of Elliptifit, Annette Comerchero, who has spent over 20 years as a trainer and instructor.
I have to confess right here that I've never been someone who worked out on an elliptical trainer. There's no particular reason—I've tried it a few times over the years and found it fine, but uninspiring, frankly. And if I'm being really honest I always sort of associated it with seeing people at the gym whose real priority seemed to be getting through the latest issue of People, not getting in a decent workout. I'm no fitness nut, but when I'm at the gym, in a class, or working with a trainer, I do want to get my time and money's worth. In other words, I sort of associated the elliptical with phoning in your workout.
But there was no phoning in anything last week in Annette's class. Like other popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, Elliptifit is designed to give you a serious, sweaty, total-body session in 45 minutes. That's great for time, obviously, since it's hard enough to fit in regular exercise, so we all love efficiency. But of course that means that for the time you are working, you will really be working.
The class does include "active recovery" phases (where you're still moving, but at a less intense pace), but if you're new to exercise you may find the pace of a class aggressive. That said, I saw all body types in the class I took, and there's always the option to change the ramp or resistance so you're challenged, but not overwhelmed. Annette offered us ranges—encouraging us to get into the "double digits" in some parts of her class, but left it up to us to decide what that meant.
The elliptical machines used in this class are pretty high-tech, and also make it easy to measure your heart rate (which you'll do a couple of times during class). Annette is a charismatic teacher, with a very clear, motivating style of instruction—one of those long-time pros that knows how to encourage and challenge you at the same time. The mood of the room is a lot like a Spinning or SoulCycle class, with loud (but not deafening) music and darker, club-like lighting (mostly in beautiful shades of blue).
The class is designed to hit not just your legs and butt, but also your arms, shoulders, and back (by changing up the resistance in the machine's arm handles and your hand/arm position), and you get a core workout simply by staying upright throughout the class.
The class got a lot harder when Annette asked us to "take the bounce out of" our movement. If you've ever been on an elliptical machine, you know that sort of side-to-side motion your body naturally makes as you're moving. When you try to minimize that, by drawing in your core and making your movements tighter and more efficient—wow. It's a whole different experience.
Annette also changes up foot placement on the steps, targeting those hard-to-tone inner and outer legs. I would think that even for experienced elliptical lovers, this class is definitely more challenging, targeted, and interesting than climbing aboard the machine to work out on your own.
I wish Elliptifit were available beyond Los Angeles; I hope it will come to other parts of the US soon. As much as I enjoyed it (and worked up a very good sweat), this might not be my only workout, but it'd be a great addition to other things I do and a way to keep my body challenged and seeing new results, something nearly all of us struggle with. I do know that my booty was definitely feeling this 45-minute workout two days later. For me, that's reason enough to come back.
Elliptifit classes are $25 for a single class, with a $45 two-week introductory offer for new students. Class packages are also available. Elliptifit gave me a complimentary first class.
Elliptifit, 11870 Santa Monica Boulevard, #207, Los Angeles, CA 90025; www.elliptifit.com; 323.400.5348.
Do you use the elliptical trainer? Would you be interested in trying Elliptifit?