We're all busy, so there's an appeal to a class that's only 30 minutes long. But be prepared for a seriously tough 30 minutes at Rise Nation.
The vertical climber machine took a little adjusting to; I wasn't sure how to move my hands and feet. But then it gets really hard — actually doing the workout — even with the resistance knob turned to the easiest setting.
"Welcome to Rise Nation," the teacher, Adam Goldstein, yelled out to me and the other newbies, following that with an exaggerated and charming demonic laugh. He's a great motivator and overflowing with energy.
Rise Nation, 613 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, www.rise-nation.com
Class begins in the second-floor studio when the teacher closes the black curtains to all sunlight. The lights in the ceiling art installation change throughout class, and I rather liked the semi-darkness that enveloped the room. The music here is not just background noise; Goldstein has the workout planned to the beat, and occasionally down to the lyric too. My only complaint is the clock on the machine: no way to fool myself into thinking I was almost done when I wasn't.
It's hard to imagine this one machine that looks like a stick bug can get so much out of a person. But there's no easy way to work out on the VersaClimber once you've put your feet into the pedal straps. You're nearly upright, and as Rise Nation says, the machine is "momentum neutral," a fancy way to say it's you putting out all the effort. Throughout the class, Goldstein changes the pace and the resistance to wring the most out of us. Rise Nation says the average woman climbs 2,000 to 3,000 feet in a class. Higher than two Eiffel Towers. The average male climbs as many as 4,000 feet. A positive is that it's low impact on joints and bones.
While classes are not more expensive than other studios, it's a very upscale spot. After class, there's a lovely outdoor patio for sitting, chatting and recovering. The decor is more spa than gym.
First class is free. Single classes are $26, with packages available. Bring a water bottle; the studio provides ice-cold filtered water.
If you'd like to suggest a class, contact me by email or on Twitter, @mmacvean