Ice Chamber

Richmond, CA

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

    For more reviews of the Ice Chamber, see Personal Trainers

    May 2009

    I am a new mom with a 5 month old who is looking into the boot camp classes at Ice Chamber in Albany. I am looking to loose my pregnancy weight, to get in shape, and just to feel better about my body and energy level in general. I am looking for people with both negative and positive experiences regarding the Ice Chamber in order to made a decision to seek childcare and begin the starter pack. Thank you! seeking to drop the pounds

    I've been working out at Ice Chamber for almost 2 years. I only exercised sporadically and reluctantly before enrolling in the Boot Camp in my late 40's. It is really hard in the beginning. You will be sore, really sore, and have to drag yourself down there when everything else seems so much more important, and you will see other people doing push-ups that you can only dream of, but when you walk out that door covered in blessed sweat you will feel GREAT. Ice Chamber is not what it's name implies, it's a warm community of men and women of all abilities and body types who train together, support each other, and have a darn good time doing it. The program is not about sculpting your body, it's about being strong enough to carry your family out of a burning building! Of course in the process you might also develop some killer abs, and get into those old pre-baby bluejeans you miss. - Endorphins Getting me through Parenthood

    Boot camp is a fantastic way to get in shape, increase energy levels and feel good. I loved the Ice Chamber at first; the time was right (early morning before partner and baby were up), the people were fabulous and encouraging, and the workouts were challenging.

    My personal experience with IC went downhill after being there for 1 year+ when the classes got way, way too big (40+ people!) and I felt lost in the chaos and kept injuring myself, and the atmosphere got increasingly competitive. These things may be fine for some, but it started to negatively impact my performance and self esteem when everything became a competition. I particularly didn't like the increased emphasis on kettlebell sport, which was not my thing and just hurt my back and aggravated a shoulder injury.

    A couple of the IC trainers left and started Phoenix Gym (, which I LOVE; the classes are small (often 2:1 client to trainer ratio), the people are dedicated and encouraging and the trainers are smart and funny (and are all parents). And I mean really smart and REALLY funny. I get a challenging and varied workout, feel totally supported in my fitness journey and have a good time doing it. Just my 2 cents. Fit Mama

    I started at the Ice Chamber in January of this year and I love it. I am 44 years old and have two kids-my body looks pretty average for my age and for having had kids. I have never felt judged there about my fitness level or how I looked. It is a very supportive and comfortable environment. There are all levels of fitness there-all body types- lots of moms (and dads) too. I really like it. They have a wide variety of exercises and great music-I never get bored and I go 5 days a week. If you want more info please email me directly at Gretchen

    I am an Ice Chamber person. The Ice Chamber started to require the starter pack around the time when their classes started to have more than 20 people in them. I have been in classes with 30+ people and only two trainers to keep everyone safe from injury.

    The workouts are circuit-style. When classes were smaller, there was more variety in what we did. With larger classes, because of space issues, we tend to do the same types of things over and over. I have had some classes that left me high on endorphins and exhausted. I've also had many classes where I felt like I just got warmed up. There are some trainers who will encourage you and keep you going. I've also been to more than one class where the trainer spent a lot of time adjusting the music but not as much time on the floor assisting people with the workout. I've also had a trainer show up to class a few times in crocs and jeans instead of workout clothes.

    I preferred it when there were trainers there who were moms. The trainers who actually had babies understood the challenges my post-partum body faced. But except for the owner's wife, all of the trainer/moms have left to start their own gyms/classes. The current trainers are very fit and very young.

    If money is no object and you want a big class, go for it. You will lose your pregnancy weight and get in shape. If not, there are tons of bootcamp classes in the East Bay. anon

    I went to the IC for awhile but I don't go anymore. I feel a little weird publicly listing their flaws because it's a business and some people love it (some people really really love it!). It just stopped working for me. If you want pros and cons I would say:

      Pros Nice people in classes - some really great people continue to workout  there. Kettlebells - they are really good at kettlebell sport. Accessible workouts - they are very similar to (and trained by)  Crossfit but they have learned how to program longer workouts with  more variety that are more accessible to average people. Number of classes - they have morning and evening classes but their  boot camp program only allows you to attend one specific class. Blog - they have a blog which highlights (some) people and  activities.  Cons Inconsistency - sometimes the workouts were great and sometimes I  left disappointed. Kettlebells - They are REALLY into kettlebell sport, which I find a  little repetitive (especially in excess).  I have found other classes  since that offer much more variety. Short classes - 45 minutes often ended up being more like 30 minutes  of actual exercise with set-up and stretching - If you are looking to  burn calories you might want to add some longer cardio days to your  routine. Overcrowding - too many people limited the amount of instructor  attention to form. Cost - you have to take a 2 hour starter pack which costs $180 and  then it is an additional $200-$300/month for the boot camp itself.   They have other specialty classes (like kettlebell) but they all have  a pricey fee attached to them.   

    Hope that helps. icnomore

    April 2009

    Re: Getting fit - what was the name of that gym?
    I've been going to the Ice Chamber for two years now, and just wanted to add a plug for their program (which I originally discovered via Berkeley Parents Net). I haven't been to Phoenix, so don't know how it compares, but I really have great things to say about IC.

    I'm a mom of two, and someone who always liked the idea of being active a lot more than doing the work to actually be active. I was incredibly out of shape when I started. I decided to sign up just for one month of boot camp, and I was hooked. I recently worked out on vacation with my brother (an ex-college athelete) and my husband (who bikes to work every day) and frankly, they had trouble keeping up with the workout I led them through.

    The workouts are incredibly efficient because the exercises are designed to do multiple things - in about 50 minutes you get everything - warmup, cardio, strength, flexibility and stretch out. It would take me at least 2 hours in the gym to accomplish the same results. I also like the fact that you are usually working in a team or with a partner, which gives you a great feeling of camaraderie. (And yes, it is a big place for high fives). I feel like the trainers push me but also are very supportive. The workouts are scalable, and you are encouraged to adjust them as needed so you are giving YOUR max but able to finish. It's hard, and some days I can barely drag myself there, but I love seeing my progress - the things I couldn't do when I started that I can do now. Not to mention the workout itself is the biggest endorphin kick imaginable.

    In fact, the funny thing is I discovered for me the secret to staying with a workout was actually to make it tougher and more serious. Usually the advice is ''start slow, try walking every day, etc.'' But I needed to get more intense in order to get going.

    There are a lot of moms (and dads) in the 9 am and 10 am classes, and also a room off the main exercise area with a TV and books and crayons and stuff, so if you kids are reasonably self-sufficient for a 45 minute period you can bring them - and people do.

    I'm sure Phoenix is great too, but you might want to give them both a try. Ice Chamber fan

    The name of the gym is Phoenix Gym ( ).

    I belonged to the Ice Chamber and now I go to Phoenix and am extremely happy there. Whichever place you decide to join, you will get in good shape because the workouts are very effective.

    Both gyms offer classes or personal training only you don't go and run on the treadmill or lift weights whenever you want. You mentioned that early morning and evenings don't work for you. Both gyms offer mid-morning boot camp classes. The Ice Chamber offers a 45 minute class M - F at 9:00 and 10:00. Phoenix's mid-morning class is an hour, M,W and F at 9:30. Phoenix also has a Saturday 10:30 class for an additional fee. The Ice Chamber has a Saturday morning class as well but it is usually tied into their evening program. The Ice Chamber requires that you do Personal Training before you join boot camp. Phoenix does not but they will give you lots of one:one attention until you learn the correct form on the basic movements. Both gyms offer personal training, if the class times don't work for you.

    The Ice Chamber is really involved in kettle bell sport (endurance) and has on-going classes (for a fee) and a competitive team. Phoenix regularly uses kettle bells in their workouts but in what I consider more old school style (explosive movement). Phoenix is currently located in a converted barn so the inside space is pretty small (although there is a nice grassy yard). But they utilize the neighborhood as much as possible, including field trips to loading docks and the King track. The Ice Chamber is in an industrial section of Albany. It's more spacious and has some cardio equipment (treadmill, spin bikes). But overall the gyms have pretty much the same equipment.

    The classes at both gyms are generally circuit-style where you complete a certain number of exercises in a certain amount of time. The workouts incorporate weights, body weight, cardio, balance, core, etc. and are different each time. I've had great workouts at both places but have found that I really prefer classes that are an hour. I've never felt like I could do more at the end of an hour like I have felt at the end of 45 minutes. When I was there, the Ice Chamber's classes had 15 - 25+ people in them, taught by 1 - 2 trainers. Phoenix is small - there are 8 people who regularly attend at 9:30. There are always 2 trainers (3 on Saturday) so your form gets a lot of attention. This also means you can't hide so if you don't want to be pushed, Phoenix might not be the place for you. Two of the owners of Phoenix are moms who weren't always fit like they are now. So, I feel like they really get me. And all three owners are very passionate about what they do. I never get the s! ense they are phoning in the workout. And I love knowing they have already done the workout themselves so they know where the challenging moments are. I can't speak about the trainers at the Ice Chamber because I don't know who is training anymore.

    One of the major differences between the two places however is this: Phoenix is a gym; the Ice Chamber is a lifestyle. The Ice Chamber owners, Steve and Maya, are incredibly charismatic and so inspire this zealous devotion - it's a cult of personality, really (in fact, my husband used to call it my cult). So, if you are looking for a community, with parties and competitions, where high-5s after a workout are standard, then consider the Ice Chamber. Phoenix doesn't blog about their members, they aren't throwing any parties (although they would snuggle you if your brought them cupcakes), and I haven't high-5ed anyone in ages. I have laughed my ass off though - Kelly, Juliet and Dmitri, in addition to being really talented trainers, are also irreverently funny. Makes the brutality of their workouts a bit easier to bear. (Kelly writes her own blog - not about the gym - so you could check out her sense of humor at ).

    If you're still not sure, I suggest you drop into Phoenix sometime soon and try a class. When I was there, you couldn't drop-in to the Ice Chamber though. But at least you would get a taste of Phoenix without the commitment. Whichever place you choose, work hard and you'll get great results. Phoenix Fan

    Sept 2008

    I feel stuck in (and bored with) my current fitness routine and am considering going the personal trainer route and/or doing some more challenging fitness classes. I'm interested in the Ice Chamber or All in One Fitness and would appreciate feedback on either or (ideallly) comparisons between the two. AIO Fitness seems pretty expensive to do on an ongoing basis ($240/mo.), but the afternoon classes for the Ice Chamber (which it seems like you advance to after the 4-week morning boot camp) don't work with my schedule. AIO Fitness also offers an online program where you meet with a personal trainer who sets you up with a program that you then follow at your own gym. While I wouldn't mind paying a bit more upfront, on an ongoing basis, I'd like to keep it to $100-$150/month. Wants more fitness

    I love the ice chamber. I went a year after my first son was born and lost about 20 lbs in 3 months. Then I got pregnant again. Two years later (now) I started up again. I love it. You can take a morning bootcamp class at 6,7,9 or 10. All of these give you a personal training feel but at a really low price. All the ice chamber trainers get to know you and make sure to push you to your highest level. Every day is completely different so you never get bored. Anyway, you will tough as nails and you will definitely make friends too. I highly recommend it. I got two of my neighbors into it too and they love it as well. Feel free to ask me more questions if you wish. Nisha

    The Ice Chamber is a great, challenging workout-- and you don't have to ''graduate'' to the evening class; you can stay in the ''bootcamp'' as long as you want. Because the exercises are different each time, I don't get bored and I often still get sore (after going a few months). I highly recommend it if you like to be pushed through a hard workout with a great bunch of people. happily fit and sore

    I have been going to the Ice Chamber morning bootcamp for about a year and half now and love it. The camaraderie is great and everyone is so encouraging. You can never get bored with your workout since everyday is different.

    The class is designed so people with varying levels of fitness can be in the same class. Everyone is challenged and there is always help and guidance when needed. The core class at night is different than bootcamp in the morning. Core classes are more challenging. Donb

    t get the wrong idea here thoughb bootcamp is VERY challenging too. You can continue to do mornings forever. You pick the class thatb

    s fits your schedule.

    I can't give you a comparison to All in one Fitness, but I know you would not regret choosing Ice Chamber. You will get fit, have fun and meet some new friends. Itb

    s like a big happy family. Maya, Steve and Jess are great. They run a top notch program. jennifer

    May 2007

    My husband and I are thinking about joining The Ice Chamber in Albany. A bit of background: I am very out of shape and not very athletic, although I have some grace and am not clumsy. I get tired going up and down the stairs of my house, even though I do it 50-60 times/day. I am about 20 lbs overweight, which is actually better than it should be considering that months go by and I don't get any exercise. I've never found an exercise I like, if I am to be honest. I wish I could. I guess the weight is only as okay as it is because I eat really well and carefully. My husband is about 30 lbs overweight, but on a big frame. He is clumsy. The goals include losing the weight, setting a better example for our children, not becoming a burden as we get older, and having more energy. Our justification for spending the money is that it will probably save us healthcare money in the long-term. We cannot afford the personal training right now so it would have to be bootcamp for us. Everyone looks so fit in the pictures on the web site and I'm impressed by the results. We are willing to work hard but have the bad feeling that we don't really know what we're in for. Will we be humiliated when we cannot complete most of the workout? (I can currently complete 1 non-knees pushup and no pullups.) Is it like being new parents, where you know it's going to be difficult but you don't really know how bad until you're in it? Are we nuts? Embarrassed we let it get this far

    After 10 years of broken New Year's resolutions to get more exercise, my husband and I realized that wasn't the way to go. Mentally and physically, we were showing the effects of too much stress and not enough exercise, so we signed up for the boot camp - 3X at 6am for him and 3X at 7am for me. I am not a morning person but it was absolutely the only time not already taken up by other commitments. We thought we'd go for a month or two and use it as a jumping off point for our own programs. But we are now in month 5 and plan to keep going - we're debating signing up for a year despite the fact that it is a financial hit we're not in the best position to take right now.

    The first month is tough - and you'll be very sore initially. However, this program is set up for your (and our) situation - they don't expect you to come in fit. As long as you keep going and trying, you'll be fine. It got easier even in the second week. Basically it is a group of anywhere between 15-25 friendly folks just like your neighbors doing exactly what you are doing - starting down that path to getting fit. The moves are basic and they are extremely careful about alternate moves if folks have back, knee, etc. problems. There's no spandex and no attitude. Steve, the owner andMani, Kelly and Juliet, who run the classes, seem to know exactly how to get YOU to work harder than you would ever work yourself. And they are kind and encouraging - even when pushing you to your limit.

    I'd give Steve a call and talk about your situation - I know that he recommended that my husband and I take a preliminary 3 pack of personal training to learn all of the moves and get comfortable with the general framework. That worked well for us and got us through the worst of the soreness before the main bootcamp started.

    Not cheap - but it's paying off in ways I would never have guessed. I highly recommend it. -six pack slowly emerging ....

    I could rave about the IC for hours. I have never been athletic, hated exercising for most of my life, was really out of shape and overweight. Then I discovered the IC. I did PT and now boot camp and I LOVE it. I drive from Oakland, get up at 5:00am to make the 6:00 class, I have to negotiate the time with my husband (due to our young kids) - I BEG to be able to go, I am sad on the days we don't have class. The photos don't represent the class make up - I'd say the average age is between 40-50, many out of shape/heavy men and women who struggle, moan and groan. The owners and trainers are the most wonderful people - they are so welcoming and encouraging. You'll be amazed at how fast you are able to build strength - In two months (work out 3x a week) I went from barely 10 knee push-ups to 80 full on push ups. You will feel energized, more confident, stronger really fast, and feel part of a community of people trying to do the same. I am super sensitive to feeling comfortable with my body around other people and I feel totally comfortable every time. Just go in and meet Steve (his wife Maya just had a baby so she's home) - you will feel immediately welcomed, encouraged, and comfortable with him. I really can't encourage you enough - there's something so special about that place and the people who run it. When I know it's my turn to go the next morning, I am in a good mood the night before, just anticipating it...And I was someone who really hated exercising, found every excuse in the world not to go. Go. Try it. I'd wage tens of thousands of dollars on the fact that it would provide what you want and need! A raving-mad but fit and strong Ice Chamber fan

    They offer HARD workouts. I was frustrated because I still couldn't keep up by the end of a couple of weeks. I wasn't told what was reasonable to expect. I was more sore than I had ever been in my life! They did give me a way to get in better shape and feel stronger. Good for you for wanting to take care of your health! Just hang in there in the beginning. The transition can be tough. Talk to Steve and let him know your concerns. He is very helpful. anon

    Yes, there are lots of really fit people at the Ice Chamber but most of us didn't start out that way. You need only look at the Before and After page to see that:

    And there are lots of people at the Ice Chamber who are not hard bodies but they are committed to changing their bodies and their lives. The trainers are incredibly nice and will be able to help you modify the routine to meet your fitness level and physical abilities/limitations. That's one of the many things that is so great about the IC - everyone trains together and everyone is so supportive. Will it be hard? You betcha. But it works. And you may even find you make friends and have some fun.

    I do recommend you start out with their ''starter package'' to learn some of the basic exercises. But then jump right into bootcamp. I assure you that you will not be the only ones who feel out of shape. And you won't be the only ones without 6- pack abs. In fact, the 9:30 a.m. class is full of moms trying to get back in shape after 1, 2, 3, 4 babies.

    Go for it. It could change your life - it changed mine. Fit Mama

    Hi, I didn't see your orginal post, but a fellow IC member suggested I write. Just go! The Ice Chamber has changed my life in so many great ways. First, I'm not one of the people that has done a quick change into another body and eating habits. I've been going for 15 months. THe change has been slow, but well worth it because it's lasting and has got progessively better.

    Last year was my rehab year...couldn't do a squat, was very, very out of shape. After having 2 kids in my 40's-that's hard on a body! Steve,Maya and all the trainers are experts at modifying the exercises so that you can do them and still get all the benefits of a great workout. This year, my workouts have changed in that I can do most things. I've had 2 ACL knee surgeries, so some things are more challenging than others, but it doesn't stop me. Lots of us come to the IC out of shape. There's so many inspirational and friendly people who really want to support you, that just going and being in the positive space is wonderful.

    But, the environmnet is what makes the IC expectional. Positive people, encouraging, real role models, and just a warm, friendly vibe. I have never not felt included and/or like I couldn't achieve my goals. I'm on my way and will never go back. The change has been slow, but do able. I had my yearly physical last week and all my blood work is better than last year, weight down and blood pressure fantastic.

    Please don't fell intimidated, everyone starts somewhere. When you're first starting out, no one really wants their picture taken, but after a while you don't mind. Once when I saw my photo, in the background mind you, I didn't like what I saw, then 3 months later I was again in the background of another photo and I thought:OK, I'm moving in the right direction''. I was featured on the blog last week as I got my first pull up. If you go to it, you'll see I'm not some thin, young thing. I'm a mother of 2 trying to get in my best shape for me at late 40 something. It's under ''go Renee go''.

    I feel so positive about this that I'll even sign my real name !! Good luck, I hope to see you! Do it for you and your family. Oh my kids, love that I go to the IC and then we ''practice''at home! renee

    The ice chamber is like no where you have been before. It is an incredible environment of pushing yourself to achvieve your goals and having the support to get you there. I have been an IC devotee for over a year and am totally thrilled with the results. I had been someone who knew the basics of ''working out'' from when I was younger, ate whatever I wanted and never gained a pound. Then I hit 30, had 2 kids and a lifestyle of great (and excessive)food to eat and no way to work it off and became 25 lbs heavier since I got married 6 years before. When I entered the Ice Chamber, I couldn't do push ups, let alone half the excercises they were doing. But each day I got a little bit stronger and a little more encouraged by the way I felt. I had more energy in the afternoons, I was eating better, I just generally became very happy all around. Little by little the pounds began to shed, muscles began to form and the awesome trainers and great clients at the ice chamber became my friends. I was doing 20 push ups a set, rowing 500 meters in faster times, using 15 lb dumbells (rather than the 8 I was accustomed to) and finding myself encouraging newcomers to strive to do the best they could. Every has their own pace at the ice chamber, but you will pushed to limits you never new you had. For the first few weeks, advil/tylenol/asprin/ice packs/heating pads will become your best friend. But then, after giving bootcamp a trial for, say 3 months, one day, you will step on the scale or button those up jeans that you have been saving for ''when I lose weight'' and you will realize how far you have come. I know that is what happened to me.

    We have many couples who come to bootcamp, some juggle classes with childcare duties. It is great to see them push each other in the bootcamp classes and find harmony in their lives. You will never know what you are in for unless you try. I think it will be exactly what you are looking for.

    Read the blog, we are just folks trying to get a some lbs off and look and feel great about ourselves along with achieving personal goals we never thought we could. Kerri

    I just recently started attending boot camp at the Ice Chamber. I'm not in super great shape, but I have been regularly running and working with free weights at home. I have a couple of comments about my Ice Chamber experience. It's the most challenging 45 minutes of exercise I've ever done... The intensity is very high, and the structure lends itself to me pushing myself harder than I ever have. The community is incredibly supportive and accepting. Everyone there is focused on his/her own ''suffering'' (I say that with a smile), so even those who are super-fit never make me feel bad about myself. I am sore in new places after each workout, but I see results in a very short time. I feel stronger, have built endurance for aerobic activities and have lost weight. Steve is an amazing leader, and although he dishes out new torturous things each and every time I arrive, he does it with love. :)

    It sounds like you have a great attitude and a commitment to doing this, and most importantly it sounds like you are ready to work hard. Believe me, you will work hard!! But if you're anything like me, you won't be able to imagine life without it!! Boot Camper

    You should *absolutely* try the Ice Chamber. Steve and Maya (and trainers, I know Sara and Mani) are incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, inspiring, and motivating. They have a number of clients that have had no athletic background to world class athletes. Wherever you fit in that spectrum, they will modify the workout. I would refer both my (athletic) friends and my mom (if she lived here).

    And in a year of participating in classes, I don't think they ever repeated a workout routine. The training if functional, scalable, sustainable, and creative. The people are super friendly and encouraging. The facility is clean and well equipped for a variety of training methods. I was referred to them 3 years ago when they first opened, and sad to leave them when I moved to the city (although I did try to commute for a few months until I found another local comparable coach). Hope that helps. Good luck! Kristy

    Jan 2007

    Re: Losing the Last 10 Pounds
    I didn't see your original post so I don't know how long ago you gave birth. But, if you are physically ready to return to a vigorous workout, I know of no better way to get in shape than the Ice Chamber in Albany. I signed up for bootcamp in June with the goals of losing a few pounds and jump-starting my own workout. Instead, I quit the Y, stayed at the Ice Chamber, lost around 10 pounds so far, built loads of muscle, and feel amazing!

    The Ice Chamber is not your ordinary gym - and they don't get ordinary results. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial - you will not believe how effective their approach to fitness is. But don't take my word for it - check out these BEFORE and AFTER photos of Ice Chamber members (including me)

    They just added a 9:30 a.m. bootcamp class. Beginning March 5, you can work out, and still have time to get other things done before you have to high tail it back to your nanny, best bud, daycare, mother-in-law, or whoever else watches your kiddo while you take care of yourself. If that time doesn't work for you, there are daily morning classes and evening classes:

    Try it. After all, what have you got to lose (besides those last 10 pounds). 510-558-0807 Truly fit for the first time

    Jan 2007

    I'm new to the East Bay and I'm looking for a place to exercise, destress and reshape my post-partum body. I live in the Montclair/Glenview area of Oakland. I loved the testimonial about the Ice Chamber in Albany(BNP archives), but I think it may be too far for frequent workouts. I'd also be up for a personal trainer if anyone had a recent recommendation. Thanks for any BPN! Beyond the NY resolutions.....ready for fitness

    You say that you liked the archived info on the Ice Chamber, but that it seems too far. I live in Oakland near the lake, and I go to the Ice Chamber. Yes, getting there in rush hour is a pain, but I tell you, the IC is totally worth it. I haven't read the archived postings so I may be repeating them, but let me tell you that the Ice Chamber has great community, support, and really really effective work outs. I went to lose weight, and got so much more - strength, tone, friends, endorphins, muscles, laughs, and did I mention strength, tone, and muscle? It has been way more than I hoped for. Truly, the drive is worth it. fit now