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My 1st Days @ Athletic Society Westlake Village, Geri’s Mat Pilates & Yoga Classes & Exploring a Terrific Facility in Transition
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E.B. GO Vision Media E.B. GO Vision Media
Marina Del Rey , CA
Sunday, November 25, 2018


My 1st Days Athletic Society Westlake Village, Geri’s Mat Pilates & Yoga Classes and Exploring a Terrific Facility in Transition
 

During my Thanksgiving weekend in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County and in anticipation of moving into the area, I decided to scout fitness centers and thankfully stumbled into Athletic Society Westlake Village. Located just off the 101 Freeway at the Hampshire exit, it is a stand alone building tucked against the rolling foothills on a dead end road. Having been on a two-year fitness journey to alleviate some serious health issues, I needed to find a gym that had a number of options for my fitness requirements. A good swimming pool, lots of group fitness classes, a wide-variety of cardio and weight machines along with free weights are the bottom line and anything beyond that is a bonus, and Athletic Society has a number of those "bonus options." One of those is longer hours than other clubs, which suits my ever-changing work schedule.  

I was greeted by the friendly staff and given a tour by General Manager Richard Weiss, a 25-year veteran of the fitness industry who has been on overseeing the nearly completed nine-month renovation of the facility. Athletic Society took over from Spectrum Club and has worked over and improved just about every aspect of the building; from three new group fitness rooms, one extremely large and two smaller ones for Yoga and Mat Pilates, to a new heating and filter system for the huge four-lane swimming pool; from an expanded area with all new cardio and weight machines with a bank of large TVs in front of the cardio machines to updated flooring everywhere; from new rejuvenation centers with HyrdoMassage, Wellness Pods, Tanning Beds, Massage Rooms and a Fit3D Body Scan to measure fitness progress to an updated lobby cafe with new tables and a six-outlet computer work station/counter with high speed Wi-Fi; from a new Kids Club daycare center to an updated cycling class area. It also has two side-by-side hardwood basketball courts which can also be used for volleyball.

What struck me was the roominess and, despite still bearing signs of construction, it was clear in a short amount of time this is going to be a terrific place to workout. I liked the spacious locker rooms with self-serve combo locks, wet and dry saunas and all the locker room amenities ones come to expect from a first rate club. It was readily apparent from Richard Weiss' enthusiasm that he and Athletic Society are committed to creating an atmosphere that reflects their commitment to bring forth "a new fitness experience." Professional trainers and group fitness teachers, nutritional advice and everything mentioned above are combining to create "a transformational athletic facility."

After the tour, I immediately joined up and then strolled about to get familiar in anticipation of a 5:30 pm Mat Pilates group fitness class with Geri. Shooting hoops, some cardio bike work, testing the weight machines and a swim gave me a sense of the rhythm of Athletic Society Westlake Village. After some computer work in the cafe, where I found the high-speed Wi-Fi coverage more than adequate and three massive TVs a nice touch, I went to the soon to be converted group fitness room for Geri's Mat Pilates class.

Since it was the night before Thanksgiving, there were only a few people in the class and that was fine since it had been almost a year since my last Mat Pilates class. For the last six-months I had been on an intense running and swimming regimen, the latter involving three months of swimming two hours a day nearly six-days a week.   

Geri, who also teaches Yoga, is an engaging Pilates instructor whose easy going manner puts one at ease while trying to do complex maneuvers. She quickly realized I was having difficulty because all the limberness had escaped my body from swimming, which operates the muscles in a contrary manner and tightens up the muscles. Quickly my hamstrings reflected this as my body and mind strained to remember the exact nature of movements, what the various commands meant and how they felt. Geri's concern and sing-song voice put me at ease and halfway through things started to loosen up and come back into place. During the final "side-series" of Pilates exercises her 'Ta-Das,' which coincided with various leg kicks, served to lighten the mood and bring me back into the swing of Mat Pilates. Afterwards she informed the class about a 7:30 am Yoga class the next day and I assured her I would attend.

While leaving I helped another instructor, Sally, move ropes into the exercise room for a cardio class. Later on I chatted with her about various classes and the major changes taking place at Athletic Society. She was extremely pleased with how everything was shaping up and during our conversation Sally told me how one of her cardio classes, populated by an older group, had really started to take-off in terms of strength and stamina. A long-time fitness instructor, it made her so happy to see their demeanor brighten up as positive physical changes unfolded.  

Day 2, Thanksgiving Day: I arrived at 5:00 am and took an early morning wet sauna, serving to warm-up the muscles, before enjoying an intense one-hour swim. Wide lanes and a temperature that is not too warm or cold made for an enjoyable session. The long lanes forced me to pusher hard to complete each lap and served to awaken my body to the delight of swimming in this environment. The high-ceiling, rectangular skylight and ambient wall lighting creates a nice setting without dampening one's enthusiasm for hard work.

Another wet sauna and warm shower served to loosen my muscles for Geri's Yoga class, which I knew would test my tightened muscles yet again. It was a struggle to get my body to comply and Geri continually emphasized to never push too hard, to find the place where the joints and muscles are comfortable enough to move the ball forward without creating damage. Her verbal affirmations to "harness gravity to get the most benefit" and "breathe through the chaos" were welcome additions to exacting pose instructions. At the close she came around with rose oil from Egypt for everyone to rub in their hands, smell and then place the hands over the heart while clearing the mind of clutter.

Indeed a very enjoyable Thanksgiving Day Yoga experience and I look forward to more classes from Geri and all the group fitness instructors at my new gym. One last swim the next morning and I had to leave till returning in a few weeks for a permanent presence in the area and at Athletic Society Westlake Village.

There is no doubt I am going to derive tremendous physical, psychological and emotional benefits from being part of this fitness club.  

For more information go to www.AthleticSociety.com or call 805-778-0888.

 
Michael Joseph Butler
E.B. GO Vision Media
CA