Ask longtime personal trainer Jason Walsh what he thinks of group fitness classes, and normally he’d tell you he’s against them.

That was before—after watching people get hurt at group fitness class after group fitness class—he set out to design a class that was both safe and incredibly effective. Thus, Rise Nation was born.

At the West Hollywood location, eager gym-goers can be seen clutching onto versa climbers, a machine that boasts a full-body workout during a 30-minute class, and Walsh can be seen teaching classes five times a week.

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On September 16, Walsh will celebrate the opening of the second Rise Nation location, in Cleveland, OH. We couldn’t be the only ones thinking: Why Cleveland?

“My thought was, you know, we know in Los Angeles we’ve got a great thing here, we’re in the hottest market in the world, arguably,” Walsh said over the phone. “But, let’s really test the concept, and take it to the real people.”

Walsh is from the Midwest himself, and admits to feeling a special tie to the people. He also has special ties to a particular sports organization in Cleveland.


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“So Derek Millender, who is the head strength coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he came to Los Angeles and came to do Rise Nation,” Walsh said. “He confronted me very quickly, and said he wants to help me bring this to the Midwest, to Cleveland. The guys, obviously LeBron and the teammates, they all absolutely love this workout. It’s one of the most demanding, taxing, but also highly beneficial and safe. Safe is the big one to a pro athlete.”

It’s the safest workout for those who might be looking to do their first group fitness class, albeit a hard class to start with. Walsh says the biggest mistake people make when trying to get in shape is forgetting to master the essentials.

“People think cardio equals skinny,” Walsh said. “They go in, and they’re weak as hell, they don’t move well, and they do group-class training. And these are the people that typically end up getting injured and then not working out.”

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Eager to try out the 30-minute versa climber workout? Rise Nation could be coming to your city soon. Walsh is planning on opening at least eight more locations by the end of the year, including in Miami and New York.

Just so you know, this guy is no joke in the gym when he’s training either.