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Why you should use a fitness planner

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A fitness planner is where you keep track of your workouts, meals, goals, and reflections. 

Planning your workouts for the week ahead will help you stay on track! Think of them as important meetings or appointments that you need to attend. It's even more beneficial if you track your workouts in detail. For example, if you are resistance training, keep track of the amount of weight you're using. Or if its running, how fast and how long. This way you can track you progress, and know when its time to kick it up a notch. 


Keeping track of your meals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. You will know if you are not making progress to adjust your diet and see if anything changes. You can learn a lot about your body by tracking your meals for a few weeks. 

We all know that goal setting is key! Set every goal from how many days a week you want to workout to how long you want to run for. Or even goals like "I want to do x amounts of push ups by a certain date." 

And of course keep track of your progress. How much weight or inches you may have lost each month. Track how much strength you have gained or weight you're able to lift. We would also recommend tracking how you feel at the end of each week. Whether it be tired, energized, strong, weak, happy etc. 

For our planner junkies, here is a list of other things you could track in your new fitness planner!

-Steps- If you've got a fancy step counter then this is perfect!

-Water- Track that water intake! How many cups a day? Set a water goal and crush it!

-Challenges- If you jump on a 7 day or even better a 30 day challenge this will help you immensely!

-Vitamins and supplements- Make sure you're taking that one a day! Track it!

-Calories- We love the idea of tracking your calories. Calories add up and often the little snacks here and there make a big difference. Tracking your calories leaves no room for error.

-Classes- Track the classes you try and how you felt about them! This will be super fun to reflect on at the end of the month!

Only good things can come from planning and journaling your fitness journey. Commit to trying it for a month! 

6 Exercises that will make you stronger!

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to carry 5 pounds of the grocery bag in one hand while the other one is holding a phone?

How does being able to push your car when the engine died in the middle of nowhere sound?

Strength is one of the most common superpowers that we wish to have. Being stronger allows you to do a lot of things.
You don’t need to have Thor’s hammer or Samson’s hair to be stronger though.
Exercise can give you not just a smaller waistline and  6-pack abs but it can also give you strength and energy.

1.    Effects of Exercise on Bones and Muscles
If you want to have stronger bones and muscles, religiously stick to your exercise routine.

As we know, our physical strength declines as we age. Having a regular exercise though makes your bones stronger. It also helps lower the risk of joint and muscle pains. Exercise also increases our muscle mass.

2.    Best Exercises that Will Make You Stronger

Undeniable, exercise can help you reach your ideal body type. Aside from achieving your weight goal, exercise can also make you stronger.

These are the best exercises that provide the benefit of added strength and agility.

·         Sled push to plank

This type of exercise works on your shows muscles or the muscles in front of the body. You get to develop your core and quads by driving your legs and staying in a low stance.

1.       Load a sled with enough amount of weight.
2.       Stay low with chest up, core engaged and back flat, push the sled as quick as you can for 30 seconds
3.       Drop down to the ground and do a front plank for 45 seconds
4.       Repeat the sequence for up to 5 rounds

·         Sled push to sprint

This exercise targets your sprint form and show muscles. Pushing the sled tells your muscles and brain to drive your feet into the ground in a powerful and straightforward manner. Going right into Sprint tricks your brain that you are still pushing the sled.

To do this exercise, grab the loaded sled and backpedal for 30 seconds. Your back should be flat the entire time.

·         One-arm rope cable row

This strength exercise targets your middle back as well as lats, biceps, and traps.


1.       Standing up, attach one hand to a low rope or cable pulley. You can adjust the stack to the weight that you desire.
2.       Grasp the handle with your right hand. Bend your knees slightly to take the weight off the stack. For increased stability, position your left hand on your left thigh.
3.       Pull your arm in towards your side and form a neutral grip by twisting at the wrist.
4.       Squeeze through your shoulder blades and pull your arm in as far as you can.
5.       Lower the weight back down slowly and twist the wrist back to the overhand position.
6.       Repeat the same process on the opposite arm.

·         Dumbbell clean and press

This weight exercise only requires one equipment - dumbbells. It targets the quads primarily and also the calves, abs, forearms, groin, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, outer thighs, lower back and shoulders.


1.       Stand in your feet and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2.       Bend down on your knees and lower down the dumbbells to the ground.
3.       Stand back up explosively.
4.       When the dumbbells are at your waist level, thrust your hips out and push the dumbbells up to your shoulder height.
5.       Slightly squat down and up and push the dumbbells up over your head.
6.       Bring down the dumbbells to your shoulder then to the floor. Do several repetitions.

·         Modified bird dog

The bird dog exercise has been used for over a decade as a spinal stabilization and core exercise. There are several modified versions of bird dog exercise, but each of them works on your core muscles. Having a strong core does not only give you strength but also helps you in maintaining correct posture.
·         Supine Bridge Leg Lift

This exercise strengthens your butt muscles and your hip flexors or the muscles at the front of your thigh.
Ready for a stronger and leaner body? Get your Workout gear on! Do any or all of these exercises and be amazed at how strong you have become.

Source: Guest Blogger Cindy Rollins /wearaction action/


Mind and Body Connection


You are more than just your body.

 While most people think of working out as a purely physical action, both research and experience show the important connection between the mind and body when it comes to fitness.  Holistic fitness recognizes the inter-connectedness of a person and that in order to achieve maximum health, it’s essential to be aware of not only what’s going on in the physical body, but also how the mind and emotions are connected to it.

 We’ve long known that endorphins are released during exercise, offering a sense of euphoria that is often called the “runner’s high.” However new research is showing that exercise can actually help the brain to form new connections between brain cells or even stimulate the growth of new cells. There are also serious indications that exercise leads to higher mental function.

 With those kinds of benefits, it’s no wonder there’s been a sweeping movement in recent years to turn up the mind-body connection during workouts.

 How to improve your mind-body connection during workouts

 How can you improve the mind-body connection during your workouts? Here are five tips that will help you drop in and get all of the benefits that will take your workouts to the next level.

 1.  Embrace workouts for yourself

 A workout offers a great chance for you to have “me” time. Getting fit isn’t about your spouse or your children or your parents or your friends or your instructor – it’s about YOU. Embrace this time for yourself, as the perfect time to get to know you a little better than you did before.

2.  Check your internal dialogue
What are you thinking about when you’re working out? Are you making grocery lists? Are you contemplating work commitments? Are you counting down the minutes until it’s over?

Getting your internal dialogue aligned with your goals is an important part of this process. Your mind cannot be connected to your body if it’s wandering off places that have little to do with the task at hand. Work to redirect that internal dialogue so that it’s right there with you while you’re working out.

 When you find your mind wandering, gently pull it back to the feedback that you’re getting from your body. The more you’re able experience your body while you’re working out, the more you’ll be able to create a strong and fruitful connection between your body and your mind. 

3.  Listen to music

Calming music that brings you into the moment can be an incredible aid in improving the mind-body connection. Something that doesn’t have words or has words in a language that you don’t understand is best. That’s because when you activate the language centers of your brain, you’re drawing your attention away from connecting to your physical body. Whether it’s classical music or something with a more modern flair, listening music while you workout is something that you can incorporate into your workouts immediately.

4.  Practice sensory connections

One of the best ways to improve your mind-body connection during a workout is to begin your regimen with what’s known as a “body scan.” Incredibly simple and wonderfully effective, a quick body scan will help you to check in with yourself, aligning your body and your mind.

The process is easy. Sit, stand or lie down, it absolutely doesn’t matter what position you’re in so just make it convenient. Now begin to experience your body in stages, starting with your toes. No judgement, no worry, just a check in to see how each part is doing. Look out for potential injuries or areas of increased stress and consciously tighten the muscles, then release them. Once you’ve gone over each part of your body, relax and try to experience your body as a whole. Notice any patterns that have emerged. With a bit of practice, the whole process should take less than three minutes and should ideally be done before every workout.

5.  Focus on breathing

Breath is the essence of life. It connects us to the world in which we live, calms our mind and helps us to focus.

If you’re just huffing and puffing through your workouts without thinking specifically about how your breath is being formed and how it’s shaping your physical exertion, then you’re missing out on some powerful opportunities to connect your body and mind. Simply adding in controlled breathing to a workout routine will offer you some stunning results.

6.  Take care of your body
Eat well. Sleep well. Hydrate well. These three elegantly simple activities support the mind-body connection in a wide variety of ways. If you’re not eating well, then your body doesn’t have the fuel to keep going and your mind begins to slow down. If you aren’t sleeping well, then you’ll quickly find that it’s more difficult to get your muscles to obey the signals that are coming from your brain. Quality sleep that’s at least eight hours per night is essential. Finally, don’t forget about hydration. The brain and the body are both composed mostly of water, and when they are deprived of it they both function at a far lower capacity than they’re able to.

That second day soreness


You know how you worked out hard. Went to bed. Woke up totally fine, and then the next day you're super sore!?

That's called DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness. It used to be thought that delayed onset muscle soreness was caused by the build-up of lactic acid in muscle tissue. However, new research has disproved this hypothesis, and it is now clear that whereas regular muscle soreness is predominantly due to microtrauma structural damage to muscle fibers, DOMS is primarily caused by the bodies inflammatory response to exercise and several other variables. 

Today, scientists know that DOMS is influenced by:

  • Athletic conditioning, age, and the skeletal muscular system
  • Structural damage to muscle tissue and tendons
  • The inflammatory response system
Whether you are conditioned or not, young or old, DOMS does not discriminate. 

There are few treatments that are supported by shreds of evidence. For instance, everyone will be pleased to know that one study (predictably European) showed some benefits to hot tubbing, specifically “warm underwater jet massage." However, it was a small and flawed piece of research — and most people know from personal experience that a soak in a hot tub may “take the edge off it,” but this hardly constitutes a miracle cure for DOMS.

“Vitamin I” may also be partially useful. Ibuprofen (and other anti-inflammatory drugs, the NSAIDS) have been shown to reduce the pain of DOMS, although — disappointingly — they are not actually aiding recovery in any meaningful sense. For instance, they do not reduce the muscle weakness that goes with it. If you had severe DOMS in your quadriceps, taking ibuprofen would probably reduce your pain, but you would still not be able to jump as high as usual. In short, they are masking the pain, not treating the problem. For instance, if you had severe DOMS in your quadriceps, taking ibuprofen would probably reduce your pain, but you would still not be able to jump as high as usual. Note that topical NSAIDs (like Voltaren) may be almost completely ineffective, probably because the drug can’t be absorbed into deep enough tissue.

We wish we could give you all the answers on how to cure your DOMS. However, there is little evidence to suggest that you can speed up the recovery. Take it easy, you should feel normal again within a few days.

What not to wear to class....

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Makeup.... that's what not to wear to class or the gym.

But why?

Well....when you elevate your heartrate a few things, your pores become slightly enlarged and two your body produces sweat. When you sweat your pores need to breath. Wearing a full face of makeup can block your pores and glands, hindering your skin’s ability to breathe, which in turn can result in breakouts, blackheads and skin irritation. 

We understand a lot of women might be coming to class after work. Therefore you may already have your face on for the day. It's recommended that you wash your face right before your workout. If you can’t resist wearing makeup, its suggested by most dermatologist that you for an oil-free, lightweight foundation or BB cream, a lip balm or Chapstick and waterproof, silicone-based mascara.

There is a popular brand called Tarte that offers a foundation which is oil-free SPF 20 tinted moisturizer. Natural sheer-to-light coverage and non-chemical sunscreen ingredients. They actually have a whole athleisure makeup kit. 


In addition, if you’ve chosen to wear makeup while working out, then it’s crucial to cleanse tone and exfoliate your skin immediately after.

Sources: -

Finished my what? Guest blogger alert!

Hey Circuit Works blog lovers! We are excited to announce we have a new guest blogger joining the team! This new spot is Called HealthFx with Erica! If you workout at Circuit Works you most likely already know Erica Plastino! Erica is one of our awesome group fitness instructors with a background in sports and sports nutrition. She will be sharing her knowledge with you here on the blog once a month! We know you'll love it!

Eat, workout, and be happy. A blog to guide you through health, fitness, and emotional badassness.

Her first blog is a common question and topic we all NEED to know about! Post Workout Nutrition....keep reading to learn more.

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Post Workout Nutrition: The Perfect Storm!

We are constantly telling our clients that there is a discreet period of time after a workout that you need to use to replenish the calories burned during your workout and boost recovery. If you miss this window you are missing an amazing opportunity to improve fitness and ensure you build lean muscle mass and increase your metabolism.

The best time to give nutrition to your bodies after a workout is :30 – 2 hours following a workout. This is because the body is extra responsive nutrition at this point in time.

Exercise creates the following “perfect nutrition storm” for your body:

It loads muscles and liver with stored energy (glycogen) It triggers activation of the enzyme that stimulates the production of glycogen, the stored form of glucose that is used during intense exercise.
Nutrients flow into muscle membranes more readily because they are more permeable.
Body cells become more sensitive to insulin, the key that unlocks the door to allow glucose to enter.
There are two main reasons why recovery nutrition is important. First, it replaces energy and nutrients needed to maintain performance levels during subsequent workouts. Second, it provides nutritional building blocks required to repair and build body tissue after your most recent workout.

Who Should Care about Post Workout Nutrition?

It’s vitally important for athletes who train at a vigorous level, including endurance athletes to make sure to eat following a workout. Others who can benefit include those who exercise hard for at least an hour or more, those looking to improve their body composition through challenging resistance training and anyone having a difficult time keeping their weight up while exercising. Also, as we age we lose the ability to maintain lean muscle – research has shown that post working nutrition will help to offset this issue!

So, What Can I Eat After a Workout?

Combining carbohydrates and protein is has been proven to be the best way to maximize the benefits of nutrition. Carbohydrates help replace energy and accelerate protein synthesis in the muscle, while protein provides amino acids to repair and rebuild tissue throughout the body.

You can consume carbohydrates and protein together in a variety of ways. Whole foods are always a great choice, but supplements are convenient. If you use supplements regularly, mix in whole foods as often as possible to offer your body a wide array of nutrients.

Here are some suggestions:

1 cup low-fat chocolate milk
1 cup Greek yogurt with a serving of fruit
Nutrition bar containing both carbs and protein (sugar free/raw ideal)
Smoothie with fruit and source of protein (plant based is ideal)
1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1 cup fruit
3 ounces lox (smoked salmon) on 1 piece sprouted grain bread
As a general rule, try 3 - 5 g carbohydrates per lb of body weight, starting with 15–25 g of protein.

Good luck out there! We are here to help in any way to make sure you are successful!


Does exercise really get you high?

The rumors are true. Working out can get you high....but don't worry, you wont fail a drug test from this kind of high.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Clever right?

Endorphins also trigger positive feelings in the body, strangely similar to morphine. Have you heard of the term "Runners High"? It's derived from feelings that often follow a run or a workout. Some people describe it as a euphoric feeling, and can be accompanied by a more positive and energized outlook on life. 

According to endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Raphael class

So when you tell people Circuit Works is your drug...its kinda true. And we fully support your indulgence. Exercise is the best kind of drug. Its recommended by most health professionals and in addition to improving your overall mood and quality of life, exercise also helps to strengthen your heart, reduce stress, improve sleep, and reduce body fat.

Pretty great right?!


Benefits of music during workouts!


We obviously believe music and workouts go hand and hand. After doing a little digging we found out how!

Music is a good distraction. In fact, some studies show that working out with music made participants less aware of their exertion... This type of distraction can benefit athletic performance by up to 15 percent!

A 2010 study found that cyclists actually worked harder when listening to faster music as compared to music at a slower tempo. But too fast is no good, either. Songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm) have the maximum effect on moderate exercisers.

Everyone has that "Go to song" The song that just gets you in the zone! Apparently there is a bit of since behind this. We associate certain songs with memories and emotions. Think about the Rocky theme song or Run the world by Beyonce.... These might trigger feelings or memories that motivate you! Studies have shown this to improve physical performance.


An August 2013 analysis found that people often listen to music as a way to change their mood and find self-awareness. Study participants said that listening to music allowed them to think about themselves, who they wanted to be and give them an escape from the present. No matter what happened an hour ago, you can use your tunes to help you escape negativity and power you through your workout — and you know you’ll feel great when it’s over.

Music literally makes you want to move. Researchers found that when music possesses “high-groove” qualities, the brain gets excited and induces movement in the listener. Sometimes you may not reel like getting it in, but you turn on that song and you just cant help yourself.

You get the picture. You know when you're in class, and your jam comes on, and suddenly you are motivated to run a little faster, or lift a little heavier?! Now you know why!
This is also why we have a variety of trainers with a variety of musical tastes. Music inspires us to move. In our opinion, its a key ingredient to a successful fitness journey! 





Green Power Smoothie Recipe!

After some experimentation...we found a super green smoothie recipe that doesn't taste like grass!

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Here's what you need

Don't let cucumbers fool you! In a smoothie you can barely taste them, but they are packed with vitamins, flush out toxins, improve skin, hydrate, and reduce the risk of cancer. Chop them up and add them to the blender

Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants and dietary fiber. These red treats also help keep cholesterol in check.

This healthy green is full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium. Guess that's why they call it a super food!

-1/2 Banana
This ingredient is great for the texture of your smoothie and the added sweetness! Not to mention the potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. On top of that they help with digestion!.

Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet.
It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain. Ginger is known to work as an anti-inflammatory, helps improve brain function, fights infection, and for you can reduce menstrual pain ;)  

-Protein powder 
This is definitely beneficial but optional. Vanilla flavor is the best for this mix!

Add some ice and water (or almond milk) blend and drink up the benefits. 

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Feel free to share your favorite smoothie recipe in the comments or on our facebook blog post!



Sticking to your fitness resolutions!

NY goals

"I'm going to open a gym called Resolutions. Its a gym for the first 3 weeks and then it turns into a bar for the rest of the year."

Don't fall into the norm. You CAN stick to your fitness goals year round! We have a few tips that will help!

Tip #1

Write your goals down! Be specific. "I want to loose 10lbs over the next 6 weeks." or "I want to cook for myself 5 days a week"

Tip #2

Make realistic and attainable goals. This is key. If you haven't ran in years, setting a goal to run 5 miles a day 5 days a week would not be advisable. Set an attainable goal and then you can set a new goal once you've achieved it. For example, set a goal to run 2 or 3 miles 3 days a week. After several weeks of this, set a new goal to run 3-4 miles a day 4 days a week. So on and so forth. You get the pictures.

Tip #3

Reward yourself for hitting goals. Preferably not with food...but with a spa day, a weekend trip, or a shopping spree for new Nikes. For example, If I loose 10 lbs in 6 weeks I will treat myself to a mani-pedi. 

Tip #4

Find yourself a workout buddy. They will also be your accountability partner. If you and "Sam" have a gym date or you signed up for the same class you will be much less likely to bail. You could also create a pot where you and your friend are required to donate X amount of money ever time you cancel. At the end of every month you can donate your cancellation money to a charity.

Tip #5

Schedule your workout into your day and treat it like an important work meeting. Having a pre-planned chunk of time carved out of your day for fitness will have a much better success rate than just winging it.

Tip #6

Make it fun! If your ultimate goal is to burn calories then it doesn't need to be a formal workout. You can take classes, go dancing, hike, swim, the options are endless. If you absolutely hate running then don't! You will be more likely to reach your fitness goals if you actually enjoy the process!

The last thing to keep in mind is to take it easy on yourself. Slip ups happen. We all stumble. This never means throw in the towel! Always pick yourself up, brush off the dust, and get back at it! Even if you digress at times, its easier to catch up then to start over!