She’s trained Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Now, she’s got an Aarmy

Aarmy co-founders, from left, Angela Davis, Trey Laird and Akin Akiman
Angela Davis, left, Trey Laird and Akin Akman are the founders of Aarmy, a boot camp-style studio that is opening a West Hollywood yearlong pop-up.

It’s not too late to get those New Year’s wellness resolutions in motion. Here are some options:

About to open its doors is Aarmy in West Hollywood, a boot camp-style fitness studio designed to let clients feel “as if they are students in an elite athletic academy,” said Trey Laird, co-founder of the 8,000-square-foot facility scheduled to open Friday.

The pop-up — it will go till at least the end of the year while a permanent space is found — will be run by former SoulCycle instructor Angela Davis, who led classes attended by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and former tennis pro Akin Akman.

“Angela and Akin have a truly athletic life, and our thinking was, ‘Why aren’t the powerful principles and opportunities that are reserved for elite academies or pro teams available to everyone?’” Laird said. “Everyone should be able to tap into their inner athlete.”

The boot camp classes are rooted in the origins of conditioning training, said Laird: quick drill movements and sprints as well as mat-based work for the lower body and indoor cycling for cardio. Laird said the classes were designed to meet various goals, whether weight loss, recovering from injury or training for a marathon.


Info: 8599 Santa Monica Blvd., $38 per class. Packages available.


A room full of exercise bikes at RydeFYR.
Heated indoor cycling comes to Manhattan Beach through the recently opened RydeFYR.

New to the South Bay is RydeFYR, a heated indoor cycling studio where temperatures can stretch past 95 degrees.

“Working out in a heated room helps you to perform better,” said owner Chevy Laurent, a former SoulCycle instructor. “It burns more calories, torches more fat, improves skin and you learn to deal with mental challenges better.”

The 45-minute classes at the 38-bicycle studio, steps away from the beach, start with “Ignite,” which is done at comfortable room temperature — around 75 degrees. “Inferno” is a “30-minute quick burn in 95 degrees, where you just come in and get it done.” There are also combo spin and sculpt yoga classes.

“Every class should feel like a total body workout,” said Laurent, adding that working out in heat tends to burn 50 to 200 calories more than exercising in an air-conditioned room. “There’s an emotional component to it as well, beyond just feeling like you’re in a dance club.”

Info: 3308 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach. First class $20; thereafter $30. Specials and packages available.


A kirtan — a performance of devotional music — draws a crowd during a recent Self-Realization Fellowship's World Convocation in Los Angeles.
A kirtan — a performance of devotional music — draws a crowd during a recent Self-Realization Fellowship’s World Convocation in Los Angeles.
(Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. of Indian spiritual leader Paramahansa Yogananda and the founding of his Self-Realization Fellowship. In commemoration, the nondenominational organization is holding guided meditations and screenings at four Southern Californian locations in mid-January.

“It’s interesting that the City of Angels was where he felt led to initiate and inaugurate his work,” said Sister Usha, a spiritual counselor with the fellowship founded by Yogananda, whose “Autobiography of a Yogi” was published in 1946. (He died in Los Angeles in 1952.)

“He spent his first few years in America back East and touring across the country. But when he came to Mount Washington, he felt something telling him that this was where he should create his international headquarters. We’ve been going strong ever since.” The meditations are designed for people of all beliefs.

“That’s what is so comfortable about his teachings,” said Sister Usha. “They are not dogmatic. What you are given are techniques of meditation that are scientific.”

Info: Various start times, depending upon events and locations, on Jan. 19. Lunch served. For details: Hollywood (, Glendale (, Pacific Palisades ( and Fullerton ( Free.


 Canyon Ranch Woodside
The newly opened Canyon Ranch Woodside is a year-round retreat destination set in nature.
(Canyon Ranch Woodside)

If the start of the year is already proving too taxing: The newly opened Canyon Ranch Woodside is holding a weekend retreat with a spiritual wellness expert that will include morning walks in the woods, fireside chats at night and homemade kombucha all day.

The “Biology of Brilliance” weekend is being led by Jonathan H. Ellerby, an author and wellness expert and will encompass bird-watching, hiking, circuit training and talks with titles like “Meet, Greet, and Delete: Letting Go of Limits and Preparing for a New View of Wellbeing.”

The Bay Area hotel, which officially opened in mid-November, is set up to act as a yearlong retreat; on-site facilities include VO2 Max testing (to test how much oxygen the body is using) as well as a Bod Pod, which determines body composition.

“People can come here for tangible wellness results by determining their baseline,” said Molly Anderson, vice president for experience development at Canyon Ranch Woodside. “We get them to ask themselves, ‘What is the intention of your retreat?’”

The nightly room rate includes three meals in the communal-style restaurant, which serves locally sourced foods and homemade granola, as well as all activities, classes, and yoga and meditation sessions.

Info: Prices start at $989 per person per night.