When people think of Los Angeles, they might think of kale and permanently athleisure-clad fitness types ready for a hike at a moment's notice. And they wouldn't be wrong, per se. The fitness scene is just that: It's a scene! It's also vibrant, creative, fun — and some of the best workouts in town are completely free. (Others will set you back the equivalent of a Prius payment.) Here's how the locals do it.
1. Go hiking.
Angelenos have a wide range of hiking trails at their disposal — some of which are easily accessible from the heart of the city for a quick mid-day work break. Of course, Hollywood's Runyon Canyon is the most well-known loop for its efficient workout and people-watching scene. Nearer to the beach, the Temescal Canyon loop affords spectacular ocean views — as well as stunning mansion views. An only-in-L.A. winner? The Hollywood Sign hiking trail, which stretches up around the back of the sign and over it, for a super unusual — and awesome — view.
2. Climb stairs.
Another free workout with a great scene? The outdoor stairs around town, which also afford excellent views while kicking those glutes into very high gear. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, for instance, has nearly 300 stairs. At the top, you'll be rewarded with views from the ocean to Hollywood, to the downtown L.A. skyscrapers, and beyond. (At the bottom, you might get a wellness shot or tonic from the juice truck often parked there — because of course.)
3. Hit the beach.
Does this one require an explanation? Los Angeles and its environs are blessed with world-class beaches, with swaths of sand deep enough to provide a workout even just from schlepping sun umbrellas and bottled water from the car. Of course, more ambitious athletes will take to the sea for surfing, or to the paths for biking or running.
4. Go spinning.
Over-the-top posh spinning studios are not unique to Los Angeles, but the city certainly has an abundance of options — and devotees. Yes, there's Soul Cycle. But did Soul Cycle get its own TV show like Cycle House, which spawned the E! show Hollywood Cycle? Instructor Nichelle from the show is the one who will hurl explitives at you in the best way as you tap it back. And the West Hollywood location is as L.A. as it gets.
5. Take a gimmicky (and awesome) class.
Beyond spinning, the options for butt-kicking workout classes can be dizzying — literally, in many cases. Some of the most challenging and fun — not to mention totally L.A. — classes around? Well try Surfset, which mimics the intense core and cardio challenge of surfing. (And also makes you feel like you're barefoot on the beach — yes, please!) Through 2016, the classes were offered at the Sandbox Fitness West Hollywood location. Now that it's closed, head for the Sherman Oaks version of the hotspot.
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