“YOU BETTER WORK, B***H” is printed in bold letters on the tank top of our instructor for this morning’s fitness class “Femme Fatale.” Although I never hear her utter that phrase, she does say, “There’s no stopping!” and “This is your time! Think about why you’re here!” and “You can do anything for 30 seconds!” It is the most intense workout I have ever had, including strength, balance, endurance, and several self-defense moves that leave me breathless and sweating buckets after only a few minutes. This is the common fare for the boutique gym Hot Mamas, located at S. Logan and Exposition in West Wash Park. Women travel from as far as Boulder to be here.
“It’s about empowerment” explains the original Hot Mama, Teddi Bryant, “Empowerment to be strong… and to be as feminine as you want to be.” Although there are self-defense oriented classes, there are also those that focus on your lower half (“Skinny Jeans”), ballet barre (“Meet me at the Barre”), and cardio (her famous “Sweatin’ like a Mutha”). My favorite is “Fusion”, which includes 15 min intervals of intense cardio, and strength work on specific areas: arms, core, and legs. I’ve come to 12 classes and am impressed by the diversity of exercises; no class is ever the same. All are women-specific and are geared to help you be strong in your everyday life, both physically and mentally. Says Teddi, “It’s also about understanding that in order to be a good mother, a good partner, you need to take care of yourself.”
“You end up doing things in these classes you never thought you could do,” says Fran, a long-time client. And Teddi is much beloved for it, clear from the many hugs and warm smiles exchanged. Teddi makes a point of knowing who her clients are and having a second sense about what they need and can do. “Allyson, I can see you!” Teddi challenges a woman who stopped working in the back corner, who responds with groans and smiles. With me, Teddi nonchalantly plops a 3 lb. weight into the crook of my knee during doggie leg-lifts as she cruises the room. I’m modifying everything so I can keep up, but she knows I can handle it, and I do. I’ve been coming for only two months but already can see and feel a difference.
“Sexy has no age limit at Hot Mamas” is a slogan on the website. This is comforting to me, since at 45, I am one of the older women in the class. I’m no couch potato, however, having completed both an Olympic distance triathlon and a half-marathon in the last few years, and yet I feel muscles burning that I never knew existed. Age is also no excuse here, since often the oldest person in the room is Teddi herself, with children in high school. As it says on the website, “If you’re looking for easy, you’re at the wrong place.”
Teddi started Hot Mamas in 2003, and quickly became known for her intense stroller workouts in Washington Park. She has been in the fitness biz since the 80’s as an amateur body-builder and later as a personal trainer in NYC. She became certified in ACSM, NASM, ACE, AFFA, EFTI, Post-rehab, Pre-Natal, Post-Natal, Special populations, Boxing, Pilates, Bosu, Spinning, Body Pump, and more. Eventually Teddi founded her own gym, had several TV appearances, and trained several celebrities. These days, Hot Mamas has 10 instructors (all of the ones I’ve had have been excellent), numerous classes every day of the week, and has grown to fill both floors of the building. Certified nutritionists are available for consult. Teddi also offers special workout clinics at Red Rocks and retreats; next one is this Feb. in Mexico.
There are many appealing features of her recently-remodeled gym, not the least of which is the high-quality sound system that puts out get-your-butt-moving dance music; a theme represented well by the many mirrored balls hanging from the ceiling. A 7ft tall modern art piece graces one wall: printed glass, back-lit with red neon. It features a silhouette of Teddi making a side-kick in high heels. Some say the more popular classes can feel a bit tight, but I find there is always enough room, even for leg lifts and kicks. I always put myself near the door, as the room can get pretty hot; an intentional feature. Upstairs, there is child-care (an unusual and valuable feature for a neighborhood gym) and a lounge with a shower. The workout room has high ceilings, natural light and just enough mirrors to accommodate those who want to use them (and space for those who don’t), interspersed with ballet barres made from steel pipes bolted to the wood floor. The feel is urban-chic.
Teddi says “Through my own training and research while pregnant and eventually post-partum, I noticed that women’s bodies require a completely different type of training to yield the results that women want.” She was also frustrated that so many women-specific exercise classes weren’t challenging. This is a complaint that could never be made here; even the devoted cadre of regulars are groaning and sighing at the end of the workout. There is a specific approach here, including “secret formula exercises” that have you working hard but without “heavy lifting and ridiculous, unsafe exercises.”
These women come to class as many as 5 times a week or more and are a testament to the fact that her workouts are effective- these women of various ages are sculpted and toned, lithe and lean; in a word, HOT.
And, the hottest in the room? Teddi herself.