Many people pledging to get fitter in 2019 and two gyms offering intense workouts just opened in Santa Monica. If getting in shape is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, one of them could help you achieve your goals.


If you stuck with your 2015 New Year’s resolution to start doing pilates and feel ready for a new challenge, a studio that opened earlier this month in Ocean Park might be the place for you.

Seasoned pilates instructor Jessica Francis created Pilatesmith to appeal to experienced enthusiasts looking for advanced classes and a more demanding workout. The studio opened at 2110 Main Street in Ocean Park earlier this month and is offering memberships for 10 percent off through Dec. 30 for those looking for a new fitness routine in 2019.

Francis felt there was a need for a pilates studio in Ocean Park and thinks Pilatesmith will fit into Main Street’s walking culture.

“I see Pilatesmith fitting into people’s lifestyle,” she said. “I see them waking up, going to a morning workout and then getting coffee at Dogtown, or coming to workout and then strolling over to Stella Barra to get a pizza.”

Francis developed the idea for Pilatesmith out of a New Year’s resolution she herself made years ago to become a pilates trainer. She received her certification at Pilates Place in Santa Monica and started teaching at night while still working in advertising.

While teaching, she saw that clients were having a hard time finding advanced classes during the times they could workout. She also found that even advanced classes sometimes didn’t present the physical challenge they wanted.

She enjoyed introduced people to pilates, but opening a studio where she could teach advanced practitioners moves they had never tried before appealed to her. The idea for Pilatesmith came from her desire to help clients surpass the plateau they may have reached at other studios.

“I liked the idea of a smith, the idea of someone working to become an expert in their craft,” Francis said.

Pilatesmith is intended for men and women of all ages with some experience in pilates who are willing to work hard when they come to the studio. She noticed that more people are seeking demanding workouts like Orangetheory and believes Pilatesmith can capitalize on that trend.

“My hypothesis is that people don’t have a lot of time, and when they workout, they want to get a lot out of it,” she said.

The studio offers group, two-person and on-request three-person workouts that Francis said are better-suited for people with more pilates experience. Beginners should book a private workout to become familiar with the equipment before starting group classes, she said.

The studio is built on a membership model and Francis is hoping to build a community of people who want to come to Pilatesmith several times a month. Membership incentivizes people to come back and work toward whatever fitness outcome they are trying to achieve, whether it’s getting active, losing weight or building muscle.

“It’s about you being able to develop a relationship with the studio so you feel comfortable here,” Francis said.

AMP Association

Those looking to dive into a high-impact fitness routine in the new year might benefit from a trip to AMP Association, a gym that opened last month in Pico.

Co-founders Ahnna McDevitt and Alex Hope relocated from London to open a gym aimed at people who want to workout every day with a different focus each time they come in. McDevitt, Hope and their team will tailor goals and targets to each gym-goer, with the help of an app that will log their results and progress. AMP is offering a two-week free pass in early 2019.

Trainers will lead exercises that use dumbbells, kettlebells, slam balls, barbells, rigs and gymnastic strength, along with challenging cardio machines and running. Some of the gym’s program is informed by crossfit.

“We both did crossfit. We come from that background and love the community aspect and attention to detail in how people develop themselves,” Hope said. “We have a competitive element, working together and pushing each other.”

Although AMP specializes in strenuous workouts, trainers encourage members to rest and recover between sessions to prevent injury. Hope and McDevitt are trying to create a supportive, friendly environment in which people can push themselves.

Hope said AMP is targeting a smaller membership base of 200 to 300 people to commit to training consistently.

“We are creating a place where everyone knows each other,” McDevitt said. “When you workout with friends; you’re accountable to them. You push hard and push them on too.”

The gym itself will also be inviting, Hope said.

“We took over an old spin studio that was well-kept, so we’ve got a cool place to hang out,” he said. “We’re combining high-end facilities with legitimate training.”

McDevitt, who is American but was raised in London, grew up visiting family in Santa Monica and Hope has joined her for the past seven years. They married in April and it became possible for the two to move here as they had always wanted to.

The duo said they are excited to start building a community in Santa Monica.

“We … genuinely believe that we offer everything you need,” McDevitt said. “If you dedicate your time coming to our classes, you won’t feel the need to hop from one studio to another.”


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