FREE WORKOUT SPOTS in LA
by NEVIN MILLAN
Bored with the same, monotonous gym workouts? Struggling artist with minimal budget? Yearning to soak in some vitamin D while burning calories? In Los Angeles, the home of the “Good Looking Olympics,” where yoga pants and running shoes are always in Vogue, and staying fit is paramount to climbing whatever prospective career ladder you choose, the solution to your workout woes may be right in the middle of your neighborhood. Check out these open air arenas of self‐actualizing physical activity that are sure to boost heart rates and burn muscle fibers while keeping your cash in your wallet.
Santa Monica Stairs – 4th St & Adelaide Dr, Santa Monica, CA 90402
If you’re practicing for your descent down the Empire State Building fire escape or you want to sculpt your arse and thighs as if Michelangelo himself carved them from stone, then mosey on over to the hidden “Santa Monica Stairs.” There are two sets of stairs ‐ one is further to the right on Adelaide Dr., a straight shoot down with wood plank steps that look like they were repurposed from a pirate ship. The other, narrower, concrete set of stairs turns and bends a few times and spills you out right where 4th hits Adelaide Dr. What I like to do is jog east on Adelaide to the wood steps, swoop down, then walk/jog west on Entrada Dr. to the bottom entrance of the concret steps and trudge upwards and onwards. That’s 1 set. Pace yourself, especially if you’re a newbie. Do 5‐10 sets and your lower appendages will magically be transformed into jelly. CAUTION: Do not eat within an hour of doing this workout, or your meal will be making an encore appearance all over your shoes!
Santa Monica Pier / Beach – Rings, Bars, Ropes, and more!
Adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier is a cornucopia of gymnastic equipment that will give you one of the best cross-fit workouts ever. My favorite station is the “Rings” where you can practice for your PLANET OF THE APES 2 audition, whilst giving your arms and latissimus dorsi a fantastic workout. In addition, they have parellel bars, ropes that you can climb, and several other stations. What I like to do is figure out a flow that goes from station to station in whatever order you prefer and do that “set” a few times. For an additional burn, try doing some bear crawls, crab walks, and suicide runs in the sand, you’ll be taken home on a stretcher after this one!
NOTE: From 12-2pm daily, a gymnastics coach named Constantin from Romania arrives and offers free pointers and tips on how to perform each exercise…also, he’s usually tripping on shrooms, his name is Steve, and he’s really from Recita.
Runyon Canyon – Hiking / Yoga
Runyon Canyon Park is the special haven where Hollywood dwellers can escape to nature, take in the smell of fresh canine urine, and sweat out the toxins from last night’s nocturnal adventures. Don’t let your olfactory nerves deter you from this easily accessible gem just north of Hollywood Blvd. Runyon is great if you actually take advantage of its many trails and hiking areas. Rather than follow the main beaten path, push yourself and venture past the core trail by taking one of the many side trails or simply explore and you’ll find that each trip will be more exciting than the last. If you’re joined by a canine companion, then its better to continue on the main path to avoid coyotes known to be lurking about, waiting to snack on your domesticated pooch. In addition to the main entrances on Fuller and Vista, there’s also another Northern entrance off Mulholland that offers a different perspective, more trails, incredible views, and less people.
YOGA – There’s also FREE daily yoga classes in a fenced-in area near the Fuller entrance. I’ve taken them and they’re amazing… yoga in the open air, birds chirping, breeze, sun, and the occasional helicopter buzzing overhead… ahhh, nature! Check out the official website for the class schedule.
NOTE: Parking is often a pain near the Fuller entrance of Runyon, so try and park closer to Sunset and give yourself a nice warm-up hike up to one of the entrances.
Pan Pacific Park – Workout Stations ‐ 7600 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Pan Pacific Park has an interesting collection of resistance training stations that work you out from head to toe. If you can manage to get the vagrant to move his shoes from his “bed,” then try a circuit training routine. There’s also a bike/walk path with various sporadic stations such as monkey bars, which are quite pleasant for a park in the middle of LA.
Connected to the Pan Pacific Park is a baseball field, soccer field, and a basketball court (both indoor and outdoor). Grab a group of people, reserve your field or court and let the games begin!
Griffith Park ‐ Trails
Griffith Park offers a myriad of hiking trails, 53 miles worth to be exact, some more strenuous than others. If you want a serious workout, try the really tough, almost vertical ones, but don’t forget your Bat Man grappling hook in case you get stuck! Griffith Park also touts some of the best views in LA, so reward yourself with an ambitious hike to the top of Mt. Hollywood and feast your eyes on the ants marching in the distant cityscape below.
Trail hiking not enough? There’s Horseback Riding, swimming, tennis, and more! NOTE: There are several entrances to this magnificent, scenic oasis in the center of our metropolitan madhouse, so do some research before you go, choose a trail, plan your workout accordingly and you’ll have a blast.