Upper Market Exercise Studio 'Lifted' Blends Workouts, Meditation

If you’ve ever felt like your exercise studio has you feeling more stressed when you leave than when you walked in, you might be interested in Lifted, one of the Castro’s newest fitness options. A 90-minute fusion of strength training and meditation, it aims to lift both weights and spirits. 

People typically come into fitness classes already at a high level of stress, and the class puts them into an even higher level of stress before they go back out into their day, said personal trainer Ryan Allen, who launched Lifted in January.  “One of my tenets is that my classes are well-rounded, and that clients have the chance to really warm up and actually decompress at the end."

Allen, who has over eight years of one-on-one fitness training experience, decided to open his own studio because he was ready to embrace the challenge of offering group classes. He chose a small space at 600 14th St., where Mission, Duboce, and Castro streets intermingle at Whole Foods. “I love one-on-one,” he said, “but I also really love having music going and having that camaraderie.”

For Allen, form is everything; Lifted classes are capped at seven people, so he's able to keep an eye on how each student is performing. “I can choose exercises that are simple enough that people can get them pretty quickly, but are still not so simple that it’s boring," he said. 

Lifted's owner and trainer, Ryan Allen. | Photo: Maria Del Rio

The first session for a new Lifted student is $30. After that, individual classes run $58, but package deals are available. One package (for $225) offers five sessions that expire in 10 days.

“It’s a challenge that people are really into,” said Allen. “People have been getting their friends together and doing it. At the end of the 10 days, they realize that they’re stronger than they thought they were.”

Classes at Lifted are open to everyone, regardless of fitness level. “Because it’s such a small class,” said Allen, “I can give options for how to make something more or less challenging.” Each class begins with breathing exercises, followed by an active warm-up, "intense" circuit training using kettlebell, dumbbell, and body-weight exercises, and stretching. Allen spends the last portion of each class leading a guided meditation.

“The uniqueness of my classes is adding meditation into strength training," Allen said. "A lot of people come in a little nervous, thinking that they can’t meditate, but it’s just like exercise: you’re not going to know exactly what to do until you starting doing it. I am such a big believer in meditation and its benefits.”

Allen also posts exercise videos and inspirations online, to give potential clients an idea of what they can expect when they walk into his classes. In addition to meditation and an increased heart rate, exercisers can also expect to be provided with large yoga mats, weights, towels, and water.

“That feeling of being herded into a space and then herded out so the next class can come in? That’s not the vibe that I want in this space,” said Allen. “I want people to feel welcomed, and to get to know the people that they’re working out with. I want people to get the most attention that they could in a group environment.”

Lifted offers 90-minute classes Monday through Friday at 6:30am and 6:30pm, and a 10:30am class on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. Given its small class sizes, students must sign up in advance for a day and time. For weekly special offers, sign up for Lifted's newsletter.

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