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Best of L.A.

10 Best Ways to Get in Shape in L.A.

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Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

click to enlarge INNIS CASEY
  • Innis Casey

See also:

*Our Best of L.A. issue and our Best of L.A. app

*Top 10 Gyms in L.A.

*Top 10 Bars With the Hottest Women in L.A.

You see the flab. You want the flab gone. You want it gone now.

There's no New Year's resolution. There's no wedding dress to fit into. It's just getting in shape time. Because you just can't stand it any more.

Here are the 10 best ways to get in shape in L.A., from our Best of L.A. issue. And you can also try picking up a copy of the issue and lifting it a few times -- it's big.

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10. Best Running Trail

This beautifully wild, seemingly remote pocket of nature, the Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail via Mulholland, runs in a 3.3-mile loop from the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook off Mulholland Drive in the Studio City/Laurel Canyon area. However, some people approach the narrow dirt track from TreePeople's site, via Iredell Street, a 7-mile-plus round trip. As you fly through the native chaparral, hummingbirds and bumblebees feast on flowering shrubs by your side. Be warned that the descent at the beginning of the hike is a long, burly ascent on the return. Linger at the "rainforest" at the bottom, or even end your walk there. If you're looking to tear up the trail and burn serious calories, though, continue to Iredell Street, then turn back and hustle up all the hills that seemed much less sloped on the way down. Enjoy the water fountain and the view of the San Fernando Valley at the end of a rewarding workout. 8401 Mulholland Drive. lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=15. —Jacky Surber

click to enlarge @LAFITNESS ON TWITTER
  • @LAFitness on Twitter
9. Best Cycle Instructor

The L.A. Fitness on La Cienega and 18th Street is a worn-down, overcrowded swampland, but every Saturday morning it's home to a stampede, as members of all ages and sizes clamor for one of the coveted spots in Ellie Wenzel-Wright's cycle class. A BMX champion with more than 30 years of aerobics teaching experience, who also practices kickboxing and step and body works, Wenzel-Wright, 47, is a traditionalist. Imagine Liz Lemon's "hipster nonsense" quote to approximate the look on her face at the mention of clubs like SoulCycle. Her cycle classes are 55 minutes of intense, gimmick-free cardio accompanied by whatever music she can think of to get her class going. And if that means hopping off her bike to do her best Tina Turner impression during "Proud Mary," then so be it. 1833 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City. (310) 202-6823; lafitness.com. —Whitney Friedlander

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8. Best Chin-Ups and Dirt Track Workout

"The secret to get good at chin-ups? Knock out 20, every hour, all day, every day," the teardrop-tattooed man instructs, lats flaring. "That takes a lot of time." "Oh, I had time ..." Talking training in public parks can teach you far more than what you learn in some patronizing, bougie health club. Some parks shine in this regard, and where the Bronx has Van Cortlandt, Silver Lake has Bellevue Recreation Center. Cradled in a saddle of acreage south of Sunset Boulevard, it boasts hoops, ball fields, an indoor rec center and a real draw for the frugal and fit: an undulating, easy-on-the-knees, dirt running track, much of it tree-shaded. Even better is Bellevue's array of steel workout sculptures, a garden of pull-up bars, dip bars and rings (tip: Chin-ups on these are safest for elbows) that hard types use to get pumped. Broke, with a penchant for eating? Get food stamps. Broke and want to stay fit? Hit up this Great Recession gym. Your membership is prepaid. 826 Lucile Ave., Silver Lake. (323) 664-2468, laparks.org/dos/reccenter/facility/bellevueRC.htm. —Howie Stier

7. Best Fitness Boot Camp

A workout boot camp is probably only as good as its drill sergeant ... er, trainer. Sure, West Coast Boot Camp's La Cañada location is pleasant and easily accessible from the 2 or 210 freeways, and the interior workout space feels clean and purposeful, with its neatly arranged weights and the craggy camo/netting landscape on the ceiling. But when owner/trainer Adrian Pietrariu bounds out from behind the counter, you can tell that, at this place, a can-do spirit irrepressibly spills down from the top. Having emigrated from revolution-torn Romania as a teen, the lean, well-muscled and amiable Pietrariu dove into personal physical development with the zeal of the newly arrived. He recently won four medals at the International Natural Bodybuilding Association competition and led two boot camp clients to win their categories as well. While his bulging 'ceps may intimidate the prospective client, Pietrariu prides himself on being a "tough but loving" coach who does whatever he can to keep regular folks sticking to the program. Now is the time to enlist! 1049 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge. (818) 850-1049, westcoastbootcamp.com. —Adam Gropman

Next: Best In-Town Outdoor Running Track

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