At a Glance:
Address: 13557 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91423
Length: 45 minutes
Price: 1 class/$18, 10 classes/$160, month unlimited/$149
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: medium
I’ve walked by this studio many times during coffee breaks at work. Located right next to Pure Barre, Sandbox Fitness opened up at the end of June and has been piquing my interest ever since. Looking in from the street, you can see a giant box of sand with surfboards on top and TRX bands hanging from above. Knowing how difficult any workout is when you add the element of unsteadiness, I had to try this out.
I walked to the studio after work, but there is plenty of metered street parking and some free neighborhood parking around the area, just be cautious of the signs. When I arrived, the owner and founder, Minna, greeted me. I signed a waiver while she inquired about whether or not I had any injuries. The studio is basic with cubbies for your things and a restroom in the back. They also sell water and rent towels and sand socks (or you can go barefoot). Because this class was at 5:00, I was the only one there. Minna said they are changing the class to 5:30 to allow people time to get there after work.
What do you get when you mix interval training, weight training, and TRX with sand and a surfboard? A ridiculous workout. Sandworks is a boot camp style workout that activates every muscle. You will be thankful that it is only 45 minutes.
The class started with intervals, doing two rounds of about 15 different exercises for 30 seconds each. Lying on the surfboard, I did pushups, planks, mountain climbers, and bicycle crunches. When we moved onto standing exercises, I was extremely frightened because of how wobbly the board is. After taking a couple deep breaths, I finally stepped on. Minna purposefully put my board under a TRX strap in case I needed to hold on to steady myself. Although it was really scary the first time, I definitely got more used to balancing by the end of class. While struggling to maintain stability, I did squats and step-ups where I could feel my core working overtime.
Next, Minna handed me some weights and, while standing in the sand, I did a variety of squats with arm presses, triceps kickbacks, and boxing punches. Being on sturdy ground made these feel simple (the weren’t). At this point, I was questioning whether or not I would make it to the end of class…and it was about to get worse.
Enter: the TRX portion of class. If you don’t know, TRX suspension training has you use your body weight to do a variety of exercises that work your entire body. The difficulty changes depending on where you are standing in relation to the straps. While holding on to the TRX handles, I did jump lunges, rows, and squats. Minna then put a mat down on the sand and, with my feet hanging in the straps, I did knee-ins and side planks. My legs and arms were shaking like crazy and I had to come down a couple times before the 30 seconds were over.
After these exercises were complete, we focused on cardio. I ran around the sandbox, hurdling my way over the surfboards. Let me tell you, this was nothing like Baywatch. Sweat dripped down my face and I was panting, trying to finish with some pride. With my hands holding the board, I also hopped from one side to the other. My heart was racing. Thankfully, we finished on the board with some calming yoga moves.
Finally, it was time to stretch. Minna, who is a certified personal trainer, said she always leaves at least 5 minutes at the end of class for stretching. I knew I would be sore the next day (I was), so this was definitely helpful.
Grab a juice at Totes or a caffeine fix at The Coffee Roaster. If you’re hungry for lunch or dinner, head to Garden Café for delicious sandwiches and even better fries—try the truffle, arugula, parmesan ones. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Buttercelli has the most amazing treats. I’ve tried almost everything—lemon squares, muffins, blondies, cookies, chia pudding, and more—and can honestly say that you can’t go wrong. Before you go, check their Instagram account because they sometimes run nightly deals!
Tricks of the Trade
- Sandbox Fitness offers five different classes. The adult classes vary in how much time you spend on the surfboard and focus on different techniques.
- If you do the workout barefoot, your feet will feel exfoliated by the end of class!
- Don’t be afraid to get sandy! Especially when you’re sweaty, the sand will find a way to stick to you.