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I used to watch celebrities work out. It’s actually less creepy than it sounds. I previously worked for a well-known studio in Santa Monica called Circuit Works – the key word being “studio,” and not “gym,” as Circuit Works only has classes and personal training sessions available. This ain’t your come-and-go, dirty elliptical, grandma’s gym; this is a sleek facility tailored to your specific needs, and I have seen the results not only in Circuit Works’ clientele (famous and non), but also in my own body.

Photography by Jesse DeYoung

Raphael Verela, owner of Circuit Works

I spoke with Raphael Verela, the owner and founder of Circuit Works, on what it is about his system that keeps workout fanatics coming back for more, and how us non-celebrities can make sure our New Year’s resolutions stick around longer than January:

Lumoid: What is Circuit Works and circuit training?

Raphael Verela: The signature Circuit Works Interval Training concept is Group Personal Training re-invented. Our full-body workout classes incorporate the latest and greatest in circuit training styles and equipment: TRX cables, Kettlebells, weight machines, resistance bands, free weights and Plyometrics.

Circuit Works is a highly effective circuit training studio that combines Aerobic (cardiovascular) and Anaerobic (resistance) exercises. By rotating through a series of “stations,” you can burn more calories per minute here than in any other fitness training and weight loss center in Los Angeles today. Circuit Training, or HIIT Workouts, are a training technique in which you give all-out, 100% effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short (sometimes active) recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time!

Photography by Jesse DeYoung

Photography by Jesse DeYoung

How did you come up with the idea for the workout?  

RV: I originally had a boot camp on the beach. Although the outdoor camps were successful, year after year, during the winter months, a drop of rain would fall out of the sky and every client would run for cover. I guess that’s the cost of living in Los Angeles [laughs]. So for months at a time, my profit fell into the ground (and into the ocean!) along with the rain. So, I decided to start training clients out of my garage. After just a short time, I realized there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to train everyone, so I decided to train groups of up to 4 – 6 at a time. I was able to accomplish that by having photos of the exercises on the wall of my garage, so everyone knew what to do. This was the birth of Circuit Works. After some time, I ended up with a year-long waiting list of clients that wanted to do this group personal training workout with me. Because of the huge demand, I decided to open up my first commercial location located on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, CA.

Why is Circuit Works the best workout in LA?

RV: Circuit Works was conceived with the understanding that fitness evolves even faster than our physical bodies do. Variety is one of the core concepts in constructing a successful fitness plan, not to mention something we mentally crave. Open group personal training gyms in Los Angeles are not motivating, and specialized gyms do not offer enough variety. This dilemma steers once-dedicated exercisers to a life of plateau and unattained goals. Our group circuit training model has evolved through the constant challenges of our current practices in the hopes of improving and perfecting them. These ideas are tested, critiqued, debated and re-tested until the final product is perfected upon implementation. Circuit Works provides a service no other fitness training outlet has come close to offering in Los Angeles and surrounding areas: constantly evolving personalization in a group setting.

Why do you think people often break their New Year’s Resolution to get in shape? Does it happen early on in the year, or later?  

RV: Most people start out too hard and fast and burn out early. Hard and fast is just not sustainable, and for this reason, people tend to break their New Year’s resolution early on in the year. At Circuit Works, we believe in everyone’s right to go at their own pace. Pacing yourself for the long haul beats training too hard and too fast. Hard and fast doesn’t mean you’re going to reach your goals any sooner. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.

What can people do to keep their fitness goals for the new year?  

RV: Go at your own pace and pace yourself for the long haul. Look at fitness as a lifestyle adjustment, and not a quick and easy fix for a specific goal. Goals and results happen as a by-product of healthy consistency.

How do Circuit Works trainers encourage their clients?  

RV: With transformational coaching, [awesome] music and inspirational affirmations.


Photography by Jesse DeYoung

Do you have any fitness wearable recommendations (i.e., heart rate monitors, fitness bands, etc.)?  

RV: Here at CW, we zone-train by the use of heart rate monitors. Each participant gets real-time readings to see their own effort. Trainers coach to ramp up or bring down the intensity as needed to stay within the target zones where a client will realize the greatest gains in areas, such as calorie burn or endurance. Heart rate monitors allow you to work out more efficiently. Heart rate monitors allow our trainers to coach clients more effectively. Plus, for competitive types, it’s actually a lot of fun to try and improve the numbers throughout class. The heart rate monitors are an integral component of the workout, and they will absolutely improve the quality of every clients’ experience.

Visit Circuit Works online at

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