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JUST IN: the 20-minute workout from LA Fitness

Any workout that promises results and is over in 20 minutes sounds painless right? Think again. Emma Reynolds tried the new LA 20 Bootcamp from LA Fitness

As a marathon runner, a seasoned yogi, and an all-around fitness junkie, I thought, a 20-minute bootcamp cardio class? No problem… Sign me up. Not only have I done high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts before but as a student studying abroad, I could use  a calorie torching workout to burn off (multiple) meals of fish and chips. Little did I know, I was in for quite a shock.

The LA 20 Bootcamp is a brand new class, just launched this month and set to take no more than around 15-20 people. The L.A. Fitness on Highgate gym where I tried it was clean and trendy and the class happened in the stretching room – a dimly lit room right off the main workout area lined with individual mats and floor-length mirrors, the perfect location if you don’t want the entire gym watching you huffing and puffing. There were four others in my class – seasoned boot campers that looked at me with a ‘you’re so brave for doing this’  look  – which made me  nervous.


Ryan, our instructor for the class, told us that we’ll be performing high-intensity plyometric  (jumping moves) exercises utilizing our own body weight. He says each exercise will last 40 seconds with a 30 second rest in between – classic HIIT training – and we’ll go through two sets of each exercise. OK, 40 seconds? This is my kind of workout.

The first exercise was burpees. One burpee in I realized this workout wouldn’t be so easy after all. After that we moved into star jumping jacks, where you crouch down and touch your toes, then do a jumping jack and repeat. Other exercises included: mountain climbers, jump lunges, bicycles, side-to-side skier jumps, push-ups and squatting ‘bunny’ jumps. So many jumps! We did two sets of each workout, adding up to 20 minutes total.

During the workout, Ryan walked around the room tweaking our bodies during each exercise to ensure we were doing them perfectly. I figured that if I’m huffing and puffing, at least I’ll be doing the exercise correctly. What I loved in particular about this class was how motivating the instructor was. Throughout the class, Ryan would shout, ‘get moving,’ or ‘if you don’t go quicker we’ll do it again.’ Trust me, nothing makes you jump, reach, or hop quicker than the threat of having to repeat each workout. He would keep us focused and mentally strong, despite how much each of us (or just me) wanted to quit.

Although, I finished the entire workout without pausing and felt incredibly accomplished, I was physically drained and have never been happier in my life to see the back of a workout. This workout didn’t quite have me cussing under my breath, but another 10 minutes may have done the trick. I never realized that in just 20 minutes I would feel the same pang of both accomplishment and exhaustion, comparable to what I would after a 5km run. This class not only tested my cardio ability but worked muscles I didn’t even know existed.

Another upside to this workout is that no matter what level of fitness you are, everyone around you is huffing and puffing just as much as you are. This class is proof that you can push your body that extra mile in a short amount of time.  Even two days after I did this workout, I was itching to go back to challenge myself even more. I swear, you’ll never want to go back to hour-long runs or spinning classes again… and that’s coming from someone who runs 10 miles for fun.

So, how exactly does only TWENTY minutes promote such great fat burn? Your muscles work twice as hard in a shorter amount of time when you perform seriously intense workouts. Plus, your body releases a chemical called catecholamine, which triggers fat-burning in your body. This increases the speed of your metabolism up to 48 hours after the workout. With that being said, 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio is just as, if not more, effective than one hour of low-intensity cardio.

This workout is great for those who aren’t looking to build bulk. HIIT workouts burn fat and increase muscle mass. Instructors at L.A. Fitness said that most people don’t realize that only 20 minutes is enough exercise per day… as long as you’re working hard enough.

The only regret I have is not eating anything before this class. This class is not for the weak, both mentally and physically. Make sure you have some type of food in your system so you have enough energy to get through the class.

I was immediately sore after this workout and that lasted about two full days. I even had to take a cool shower because I was still sweating when I got home. I was still sore two days after I finished this 20-minute workout and really had no idea that this class would kick my butt this hard. It’s efficient, makes you sweat A LOT, and you work muscles that you don’t normally work with low to moderate intensity cardio.

LA 20 Bootcamp is available nationwide for LA Fitness members but you can apply for a guest pass and try the class out for free – just ask your local club for details.

Healthista rating: 4.5/5

Look up LA Fitness classes here to sign-up.

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