I love working out in fun, different, unique places. Whether it’s the same road that Charlie Chaplin walked 80 years ago or a pool that was built for the Olympics, finding new, interesting venues keeps things fresh for me. So when I read about a class that was held inside the Rose Bowl, I jumped at the chance.
That’s me after class was over. The Rose Bowl looked a little different when class started, because the sun was just starting to rise. It was a 6am class, so the dark of the night was still lingering when I pulled up.
Arriving for a 6am class meant waking up even earlier. I set multiple alarms!
It was worth it, though. I’ve been looking forward to this class for a month, ever since I first signed up for it in June, and then had to cancel thanks to my hip injury. It’s one of the choices when you sign up with ClassPass, the awesome program that gets you access to independent fitness studios and facilities all over town with one simple membership. I previously wrote about ClassPass after taking a spin class, kickboxing class, and boot camp class. Read “My Adventures in Exercise with ClassPass, Part 1″ by clicking here.
The class at the Rose Bowl was run by Stadium Fitness, which specializes in classes at the Rose Bowl. I didn’t know much about the class before I took it, except for that it would be boot-camp-like and incorporate a lot of stairs, since it’s held in a stadium. The key words in that sentence? “In a stadium.” Sold! Talk about a fun, unique venue! And stadiums don’t get much more famous than the Rose Bowl!
The Rose Bowl is an iconic football stadium in Pasadena. It opened 92 years ago, and in addition to being home to UCLA football and the college bowl game that shares its name, the Rose Bowl has also hosted tons of cool stuff: Events for both the ’32 and ’84 Olympics, the ’94 World Cup final match, five Super Bowls, auditions for “American Idol”, and a monthly flea market that’s said to be the biggest on the west coast. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Eminem and Rihanna will all walk the grounds in the next 2 weeks when their tours play the Rose Bowl, following in the footsteps of musical icons like U2, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode and Justin Timberlake.
The Stadium Fitness class met at a specific gate, and from there, we headed through a tunnel and into the stadium. It’s a cool, eerie feeling walking to an empty stadium, just because it’s so rare that you’re ever alone in one.
There were around 18 of us there for the class, and for a little while, we were literally the only ones in a venue built to hold over 90,000. (Eventually we were joined by a couple groundskeepers mowing the grass, as well as a few dozen crows.)
The instructor for the class was an energetic guy named AB (the initials, not the stomach muscle), who created a friendly, supportive environment from the get-go. He started us off with a warm-up of laps where one lap included running a quarter of the way around the stadium, then up the stairs to the top row, then over a section, and back. Some aisles had steep, high steps (77 of them in total), while others had more steps, which made them shallower and easier.
Here I am racing up an aisle…
…and making it to the top:
We ended up doing variants on this set, with slight changes each time to keep it fresh, three more times. Probably close to 40 minutes total of running and climbing (the entire class was an hour). In between, we grabbed a single free weight, and AB led us through a variety of squats, military presses, shoulder raises, and vertical jumps. Apart from a couple minute-long breaks to grab some water, it was nonstop.
I loved it. It was a comprehensive, full-body workout that incorporated cardio, strength, and endurance, and I’m sure it got my heart rate nice and high (although I forgot my monitor, so I can’t verify how high). AB and the other staffer, Peter, kept checking in with the new people, including me, and I kept flashing a thumbs up and saying I was great.
It dawned on me while I was hauling myself up some stairs that this class is the perfect way to train for Hike the Halo, a stair race that’s held at Angel Stadium in Orange County. The race entails exactly what we did during this class – running aisle to aisle, and up and down the stairs. I’m signed up for this year’s Hike the Halo (read my recap for last year’s Hike the Halo race here), so hopefully I can come back to the Rose Bowl and take a couple more classes through ClassPass.
Plus, it felt great to be home and in the shower at 7:30am, knowing that my workout for the day was done. I haven’t done an early morning workout in ages… but I’m due for another one in a couple days, at a different ClassPass studio that will require me to wake up even earlier. I’ll be sure to share that in an upcoming post. Until then…
Keep it up, David!