I have been wanting to check out Balanced Yoga Studios in Clintonville ever since they went through a renovation earlier this year. All their photos made it look like such a serene and calming place. Balanced Yoga is owned by Leah Westwater and Nicole Klasa. Balanced has been around for awhile, but Leah and Nicole took over just a few years ago.
As soon as you walk in the studio, you can feel a peace. Not only is it gorgeous, but it's really clean. No shoes are allowed past the front door, making the floors extra clean and free of salt and wetness. There is an area in the back full of cubbies and hooks so you can put all your stuff away in one space without having to lug it through the studio or search for a spot to leave it.
There are two main studios at Balanced Yoga. The downstairs studio is the heated room, while the upstairs has a large room that can be split into two by gorgeous sliding wood doors. Apparently, there used to be two separate entrances for the upstairs and downstairs, making it feel less like a cohesive space and more like two separate studios. During their renovation, the built a beautiful staircase that connects the two floors--leaving one main entrance for everyone to use.
I was signed up for Hot Power Vinyasa (BPV). I have done plenty of hot yoga classes, but every style is different and I've never done a Baptiste style yoga class so I wasn't sure what the expect. The description on Balanced's website says: "The aim of Baptiste Yoga is to create freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to live more powerfully and authentically right now. The physically challenging practice is a training ground for facing emotional and philosophical challenges that arise in your life. Classes taught through the Baptiste methodology are designed to awaken you to your fullest expression physically and mentally."
Freedom. That was a word that our instructor Nicole repeated throughout class. I take yoga 1-2 times per week, but most of the time, I find myself anticipating the next pose or move, and thinking about what's happening next rather than what my body is doing now. I rarely feel like I'm able to move my body in a way the feels good without the instructor telling me to. But Nicole kept saying, "feel freedom in this pose," and that permission allowed me to move my body in a way that felt good while still remaining somewhat in the pose. I no longer was anticipating the next move. Instead, I was focusing on how I felt in the present, and that was freeing.
There were moments where music wasn't playing, and at first, I thought that was strange. We are so used to using music to move, not having it makes me feel like I shouldn't be moving. But, after about 10 minutes of music on, music off (not in a distracting way) it ended up making sense and ended up being really nice to have some silence--and the silence was full of deep breaths and movement from the people in the class.
The 75 minute class absolutely flew by, and while I was sweaty, I wasn't dripping and slipping all over my mat. The room had a nice heat that made me warm and made it easier to move into certain poses. I felt relaxed, stretched, and so happy that I had that 75 minutes to myself.
Balanced Yoga offers a ton of different classes of all different yoga styles. They also offer many workshops and events in and outside of their studio. Be sure to check out their beautiful space in the heart of Clintonville right on High Street.
Here are some photos of the space from their Instagram.
I will admit, now that I added CrossFit to my weekly routine, I walk around feeling pretty badass. So when T&J No Limit Fitness invited me to their NL-Burn class, I thought it would be a breeze.
Spoiler alert - I was wrong.
I remember meeting Theo (the T of T&J) at the Sweat Local Columbus expo in July. His intensity was infectious and he got everyone moving and sweating in no time during his class. It was not an act just for the event---he carries that same personality in his classes in the gym.
Before class started, Jerry (the J of T&J) gave me a quick tour of the facility, which is a totally open room that is surprisingly clean. I say surprisingly because there is a ton of equipment and stuff in the building, but it doesn't feel cluttered. The area is split up into 3 main areas-- a TRX/boxing bag area, group fitness floor, and weight/machines area. Jerry explained that while group fitness is the core of their membership, all their members have access to the gym during open hours to use the other equipment that is in there. That's an awesome perk of membership!
I was instructed to grab all the items I'd need for class, which were listed out on the wall by the weights, making it a lot easier to figure out what you needed. For this class, I needed a mat, step, barbell with medium weight, and about 3 sets of hand weights. The class started off with a "warm-up," which is hilarious because by the end of the warmup I was sweating. The class began and was split up into 3 different 12-minute time blocks. Each block had 3-4 exercises in each and you would do them for a minute and then switch. We mixed it up with lunges, squats, bent over rows, overhead press, TRX low rows, situps, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. This class is advertised as a full-body burn, and Theo definitely delivered.
One thing I like about group classes is that because you are in a group setting, you can sometimes slack a little if you feel like you're about to fall down because your legs are so wobbly--but in this class, it's like Theo has eyes in the back of his head. If you start to slack, he notices, and comes over to make sure you are encouraged and still working hard. I mean, I get it. You're only there for 60 minutes, might as well make the most of it (I tell my spinning classes this all the time while I'm teaching, but it's different when you're not leading the class!).
By the end of class I was exhausted, but felt the rush of endorphins which is always appreciated. The next day my legs were definitely reminding me of all the squats and lunges.
T&J hasn't been open very long, but they have already been very successful. It's evident that their energy and their workouts are what keep people coming back. The class I went to was at 9:30am on a weekday and the class was pretty full--which is impressive because that time is usually a downtime for gyms.
If you live in Powell or nearby, be sure to check out T&J. They are currently offering a Groupon at an awesome price, and you can always try your first class for free!
Just because Columbus turns gray this time of year doesn’t mean you need to give up on your fitness goals. While it’s a little harder to motivate ourselves to get up for that early run (hey, the sidewalk might be icy!), we should use this time of year to try out some new studios we were putting off all fall.
Columbus has a fantastic community of niche gyms and studios that would be a great way to change up your routine and discover a new way to sweat. Check out some options below for our top picks this month. With most studio’s offering multiple classes most days, there is no excuse to slack this month!
And did we mention they’re all free (for first-timers)?
We love OTF for their high-energy trainers and the way they keep us moving for 60 minutes. They’re also stand apart by their method of tracking heart rate zones and pushing their members to get the most out of their workouts. They have five Columbus locations, including Hilliard, Grandview, and their newest studio in Westerville. Go to their website where you can sign up for your first class free.
System of Strength
System of Strength is another HIIT-style studio that will push you to your limits. They offer multiple themed classes like Asphalt Kickin’ and High and Tight that are all tailored to achieve specific targeted goals. No matter what class you sign up for, however, you can bet you’ll get a great workout in a great space. Their Dublin location gives new members a free two-week pass that you can use for unlimited classes.
Spin classes are a great source of cardio and will fill the void of those ourdoor runs. DK Fitness is offering a free spin class to anyone who hasn’t been to their Lewis Center studio. If spinning isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for more ways to burn up the colder months, DK Fitness also offers TRX, Body Pump, and CXWORX classes at convenient times for anyone that works traditional hours Visit their website to check out their studio, classes, and to sign up for your first free spin class.
CorePower Yoga is a favorite of ours and did an amazing job at our latest Sweat Sesh! With locations at Easton and the Short North, they are easily accessible and are currently offering a free week class to anyone who hasn’t checked them out. They honestly have some of the best instructors in the city, and their classes are a great mix of meditation and strength. Check them out if you want to break up your yoga routine and see what sets them apart.
If you want to try something a little different, Chalkdust Crossfit in Powell offers a free community class Saturday mornings. Beginners shouldn’t be intimidated, as complex movements are left to the weekday crowd, but you’ll still get a great intro to Crossfit and a fantastic strength-oriented workout. Their community WOD (workout of the day) begins at 8:30 every Saturday. Make sure to get their a little early to fill out the necessary paperwork and to get a little more information about the studio.
Other places that offer free classes to first-timers - Metafit at Training Grounds, Cyclebar, Crossfit928,
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus