Shape Up in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of katrinahx, Flickr

Los Angeles is known for its natural beauty: lush landscapes, sunny beaches and soaring mountain views; but some of it requires hard work and dedication! Angelenos work hard to look great by living healthy active lifestyles. Delicious cuisine, invigorating natural scenery, stress relieving spa retreats, they’re all here; and Los Angeles pioneers unique fitness trends that quickly grow to worldwide popularity. If your New Year’s resolution is to get into shape, start here. Dive into a healthy new you with these popular L.A.-based fitness programs. Each program offers single classes and some are free to participate, making it easy to sample more than one.

Topanga Creek Bicycles, Topanga Canyon

Take your spinning class routine to the next level in the great outdoors. L.A. offers plenty of bike paths that will give you a good workout and amazing views of the city. Find the right bike at Topanga Creek Bicycles. Whether you’re a novice, a veteran or somewhere in between, owners Chris and Scott build custom bikes to accommodate every rider’s needs.  If you’re up for it, tag along during their weekly rides through Topanga State Park; or to discover L.A. on your own, rent a bike for a day or for a week. www.topangacreekbicycles.com

Winsor Pilates, West Hollywood

Fitness expert Mari Winsor is known for popularizing Pilates and making Pilates workouts fun and accessible for all levels of fitness. The Pilates method is a series of mat exercises designed to balance the body, improve motion, and strengthen and tone all major muscle groups while promoting mental and physical harmony. The exercises require intense concentration to develop a strong core, deep stretching, and focused breathing. Pilates is an effective full-body workout, and Mari Winsor’s studio in West Hollywood offers training for all fitness levels. www.winsorfit.com/hollywood.php

Barry’s Bootcamp, Sherman Oaks

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian swear by fitness trainer, Barry Jay’s revolutionary exercise program combining drill sergeant tactics and a party atmosphere. Barry’s Bootcamp, often called the best workout in the world, is an intense jump start to a stronger, healthier you. Challenge yourself with one hour classes combining fun, high-energy cardio with strength training to push you to your limit. Workouts are set to chart topping dance hits to keep you motivated and moving. www.barrysbootcamp.com 

Free Yoga at Runyon Canyon, Hollywood

Runyon Canyon is one of L.A.’s most popular areas for outdoor fitness. Several trails are available for hiking and biking through beautiful canyon scenery; and yoga classes are offered daily to stretch, tone and center practitioners. Free yoga classes take place on the children’s play lawn near the Fuller Avenue park entrance. Warm up for a hike or cool down after a canyon workout with rejuvenating yoga classes. Check facebook.com/pages/Runyon-Canyon-YOGA for updated schedules and more information.

CrossFit, Santa Monica

Experience the challenge of the principal training program used by police academies, military special ops, and numerous elite and professional athletes worldwide at CrossFit, the fastest growing movement in fitness.  CrossFit entered the mainstream in 2007 with the release of the blockbuster movie 300. Gerard Butler and the rest of the cast used CrossFit to obtain their incredible physiques, earning it the nickname "the Spartan Workout." Workouts last only 20 minutes but by combining functional exercises done at a high intensity, CrossFit gets people in the best shape of their lives. The workout is scalable for every fitness level and class camaraderie will help you stay focused and see results. www.crossfitla.com

Yoga Booty Ballet at Swerve Studio, Los Angeles

Yoga Booty Ballet is a fun, sexy and spirited workout that gets your Swerve on! Work your body, engage your mind and lighten your spirit as you practice this East meets West mix of meditation, cardiovascular dance, ballet and yoga. The results are immediate and long term. Meditate to focus your busy mind, dance to improve endurance and promote weight loss, use ballet techniques to increase strength and agility and finish with yoga for flexibility and balance.  Classes are easy to follow and Yoga Booty Ballet is a complete workout for all ages, sizes, fitness levels and personalities. Try a class at Swerve Studio and see why popularity is soaring. www.swervestudio.com

Muscle Beach, Venice

Muscle Beach Venice is an open playground with a gated area that encloses weight lifting equipment, and a second area with equipment for gymnastics, acrobatics and rope climbing. Muscle Beach, the most famous outdoor gym in the world, is free to the public for fitness training or just observing. Events and pageants make Muscle Beach Venice one of the largest amusement attractions in the Los Angeles area. The original Muscle Beach was established in 1934 in Santa Monica. In 1951, Muscle Beach relocated to its current home in Venice and now sports a huge concrete barbell on the roof and bleachers for spectators. Fitness enthusiasts can come to train beach side or just enjoy the spectacle and history of Muscle Beach. www.musclebeachvenice.com

Pole Dancing for Fitness at Crunch, West Hollywood

No longer reserved for the privacy of a gentlemen's club, pole dancing is turning up in unexpected places. Crunch gyms are known nationwide for pioneering fun fitness trends. TV Shows like Dancing with the Stars peaked interest in dance focused fitness and Crunch offers several dance-based group classes. Don’t be shy! Pole Dancing isn’t just for professionals anymore; Crunch classes offer skill building, toning and strength training for all levels of fitness. This challenging and sexy class combines intense upper body and core strength, coordination, balance, aerobatics and exhibitionism to turn even the shyest performers into toned and sultry vixens. www.crunch.com

Tennis at Ketchum YMCA, Downtown

Tennis instruction is offered by Ketchum YMCA on the roof of the World Trade Center. Take group or private tennis lessons or just rent courts for practice, rates are affordable and the courts overlook the stunning architecture and scenery of Downtown Los Angeles. Ketchum YMCA offers a wide variety of programs for fitness and well being including gym facilities, sports and group recreation. Try a new sport or just refine your tennis skills at Ketchum YMCA. http://ymcala.org/ketchum/

Core Secrets with Gunnar Peterson, Beverly Hills

Celebrity trainer, Gunnar Peterson, established his fitness presence internationally with his dedication to results based on core training. Developing a strong core, the major muscle groups in the torso, is essential to healthy posture and effective workouts. At his 5,000 square-foot facility in Benedict Canyon, Peterson works with clients to achieve long-term results through constantly varied workouts. He focuses on strength and agility in all areas of the body, shaping up some of Hollywood’s most famous figures including Jennifer Lopez and Angelina Jolie. Peterson develops exciting workouts for every level of fitness. Visit www.gunnarpeterson.com to set up an appointment and get moving!