I have a theory why this is the fitness capitol of the world…because everyone drives and the streets are so enormous that the city has not really been designed to walk or take public transport. So whilst Londoners have the daily battle of a commute, fighting their way down to the tube and pacing the streets of London, the last thing you feel like including in your day is a rigorous gym routine.
Whilst in LA, you are car bound most of the time getting a flat butt, so working out and the gym are a big part of LA culture. Not to mention that this is also Hollywood and the epicentre of plastic surgery and the perfect body.
So, here is a little synopsis of what I’ve experienced on the work out front:
Spinning – there are several dedicated Spin companies in LA – Beatbike, Flywheel and Soul Cycle to name a few. At Soul Cycle the instructors bike is surrounded by candles and they preach up lifting encouragement and connect you with your soul while sweating your tits off in a darkly lit room. Beautifully branded business with a beautiful crowd. Oprah and the Kardashians are big fans.
Last year I attended a spin class at the YMCA Hollywood. As expected, the equipment is more basic equipment and this certainly won’t set you back price wise like the fancy Spin brands. The crowd was eclectic and fascinating. There was a guy in front of me wearing aviator sunglasses (despite being inside). I felt like I was in an episode of Police Academy circa 1985. A lot of energy, a great instructor and a good spectrum of peeps keeping it ‘real.’
Tracy Anderson – Jeez Louise! One of my Chic&Seek clients kindly intro’d me to the pint sized TA work out in Brentwood. For those of you who have no idea who this woman is, she is work- out maven to the stars – Gweneth Paltrow, Madonna, Victoria Beckham and JLo to name a few. You walk in and there is a definite ‘type’ of woman who attends these classes. It’s pretty serious and there’s no hand holding in this place. This is not for the faint hearted or for those on a budget. However, it is highly addictive because the music is loud (thank god, because no one can hear me grunting) you sweat tonnes because the room is heated to 80 degrees and you leave feeling like you’ve lost a dress size in sweat and wanting to return!
For a totally different experience to TA, head to Sherman Oakes in the ‘Valley’ for FuelRXFitness and HIIT training in a friendly and supportive environment. Like Tracy Anderson, this gym is mostly all women. Unlike TA, they come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities and they chit chat and laugh together. There is plenty of encouragement from the instructors, help with form and it’s a down to earth environment with fun instructors. Sadly, the traffic is a nightmare for me to continue going there.
Maria DelleGrazie founder of Relentless Fitness LA trains her folks outside in the park at Sherman Oakes or in the studio attached to her home. Maria is a true inspiration as she has transformed herself after many years of feeling challenged by her weight, she met her trainer who taught her that being in shape was not only a physical challenge, but a mental challenge as well. Maria’s passion, sense of humour and New York twang is contagious and will leave you smiling despite the Relentless workout! It feels so good to be outside rather that cooped up in a gym.
Crunch is a chain of gyms that originated in New York and has a ‘no judgement policy’ as part of their branding DNA. This gym is full of cute gay guys because it’s in West Hollywood! During my first spin class, I sat next to a girl wearing full make up taking selfies the whole way through the class!! Unsurprisingly, she didn’t break a sweat to ruin her perfect make up and left the class before it ended, WTF? Whoops, I forgot the no judgement policy, but really?! I recently did a HIIT ‘Diesel’ work out. The teacher barked at us like we were army cadets and it actually cast my mind back to being in Pony Club and being shouted at by the terrifying instructors.
Friends from England curiously ask me how it is to work out in LA. Is it mega intimidating? Is everyone super skinny and perfect? Yes, as a general rule of thumb most people are in good shape and look great. Is that a reason to avoid participating? No! SO for friends who are paranoid about what other people think, I often say one of 2 things: (a) you are judging yourself harshly, probably because you judge others harshly and (b) most people are too self-absorbed to worry about how you look, so you will only be a fleeting thought that rustles through their mind.
So I say, get out of your own way, and get involved!