On The Clock
The Vision: Long-distance partnerships are tough to maintain, but for Pure Barre owners Kelsey Rood and Robin Cornacchio, living in different states is a secret of their success. Rood owns and operates a PB studio in California but has family in the Twin Cities. Convinced Minnesotans would fall in love with barre, she encouraged longtime friend Cornacchio to open a studio with her. Now Rood uses her experiences from California to implement techniques in Minneapolis, while Cornacchio runs the day-to-day operations.
Workout: This ballet-inspired workout (no dance experience required) uses isometric movements to work each muscle group to fatigue. Expect your muscles to shake as they transform during the fast-paced class, but the long and lean results are well worth the burn.
Vibe: With its easy-to-access location off Highway 100 and plentiful parking, this primarily female class is perfect for a quick 55-minute stop on the way to or from work. Students range from 20-something dance lovers to 30-something moms with a baby on board to middle-aged women seeking an easy-on-the-joints workout.
Our take: After three weeks, our arms were noticeably more defined and our skinny jeans were visibly looser. The 6 am class was a great way to start the day without interfering with our after-work routine.
Gear: Socks and pants or capris are required.
Cost: $22 for a single class; $150 for an unlimited month.
5620A W. 36th St., St. Louis Park, 952-378-1586, purebarre.com
The Vision: At Discover Strength, trainers don’t guilt you if they haven’t seen you lately. In fact, they don’t allow you to come in more than twice a week, and they recommend new students keep it to once. The goal of the workout developed by founder and CEO Luke Carlson is to minimize time spent in the gym by doling out hyper-efficient strength-training sessions. Carlson has a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Minnesota, and he prides himself on a science-based approach to helping people get stronger safely so they are less likely to get injured while they’re out enjoying an active life. It’s catching on; Carlson opened his third location this fall.
Workout: The unique thing about this weight-machine program is that a trainer assists you (or your group of two or three) to ensure you lift and resist way more weight than you could on your own. The point is to completely exhaust every muscle group to boost metabolism and get stronger.
Vibe: The shirt-and-tie-wearing staff members look like they mean business, and they do. This is a pleasant but no-frills weight-machine room where the goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible.
Our take: Each exercise quickly became excruciating, but trainer Greg Viland dished out humor, support, and info to get us through the 30 minutes of pain. Then—bam—we were done.
Gear: Everything you need is available onsite.
Cost: Starting at $29 for a group session.
120 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-399-9076; 18882 Lake Dr. E., Chanhassen, 952-934-1204; 10160 6th Ave. N., Ste. A Plymouth, 763-546-1628, discoverstrength.com
The Vision: If Apple were in the fitness business, this would be its concept. Sized like an iPad mini and conveniently located in carefully mapped retail locations across the country, Koko FitClubs offer a fully automated 30-minute workout that’s intuitive like an app, smart like Siri, and customized like iTunes Genius. Here in the Twin Cities, franchisee Curt Strait recently opened three locations in Savage, Chanhassen, and Tonka Bay. “At 30 minutes a workout, Koko FitClub is fitness for the rest of us, including gym refugees who are finding that big-box gyms are just too time-consuming,” says Strait.
Workout: After meeting with a coach to assess current fitness levels and goals, members receive a personalized Koko Key flash drive. The Koko Key is plugged into the Koko Smartrainer, a multifaceted workout machine with a touchscreen video interface, which guides the member through a series of weight-training exercises to build strength, flexibility, and muscle mass. Koko FitCoaches are on hand to assist with workouts, and cardio and nutrition programs are also included in the monthly cost.
Vibe: The Asian-fusion-style décor and absence of noisy weight machines creates a zen-like atmosphere that’s more wellness center than fitness club.
Our take: Simple enough for fitness beginners yet challenging enough for dedicated athletes, this smart, streamlined workout program makes you smile and say, “They thought of everything.” Gear: Everything you need is available onsite.
Cost: $89 per month.
7709 Egan Dr., Savage, 952-679-7400; 820 West 78th St., Chanhassen, 952-679-7401; 5633 Manitou Rd., Tonka Bay, 952-955-9766, kokofitclub.com