When I first met celebrity trainer Michael Olajide Jr., he was wearing a rad pair of winged sneakers gifted to him by his friend and client, Adriana Lima. Clearly, he was prepared to conquer the live video tutorial we were about to shoot, and I was, in turn, prepared to find out just how he whips the most elite models in the world (like Lima, Doutzen Kroes and Ebonee Davis) into shape. At first glance, the trainer and former champion boxer seems to be made of pure lean muscle, similar to his head-turning roster of clients (his robust rolodex also includes the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Demi Moore and Will Smith). So you can imagine my trepidation (read: searing fear) upon entering his New York studio to take my place in his morning Aero3 class, a workout now also offered in Aerospace’s newly opened West Hollywood location.
Aerospace first opened in 2004 as an all-around high performance space in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood. Co-founded by Olajide, Jr. and former professional ballet dancer Leila Fazel, the studio specializes in cardio, muscle-sculpting programs and sparring in the ring. You can easily spot a boxer shadowing his/her instructor, and you can also drop in for intense barre and sculpting classes. The original space in New York itself is modern and minimalist, and the second space in Los Angeles has followed suit. The newly opened 4,000-square-foot gym is equally bright and airy, and features a group fitness room, a custom boxing custom ring, as well as an ellipse-shaped AEROImpact room featuring speed bags, pull-up bars, heavy-bags and signature “Bodysnatcher” bags. Moving to the West Coast was, as Olajide, Jr. put it, the logical move: as a celebrity favorite, Hollywood is bound to be good for business.
One of the reasons Olajide, Jr. is making waves in the fitness industry right now is his focus on jump rope. During his hour-long class, we did everything from floor exercises to unyielding shadow boxing, all of which were topped off with bursts of jumping rope. “The benefits you get from the jump rope class are limitless,” he says. “Because of timing you have to move a specific way, at a certain speed at a definite time and that challenges the body and the brain.” And the feeling of jumping in unison with a class of about 15 other people is pretty satisfying; much like beat-based cycling, you jump with the music. It’s fun, unique and best of all: an ass kicker.
All in all, it was an hour that left me totally deplete of whatever energy I walked in with, and truly, it felt amazing. It also doesn’t hurt that I—for the time being, at least—could imagine getting one step closer to a Victoria’s Secret Angel physique.
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