In L.A., everyone from A-list stars to D-girls exercise their options by burning through different workouts every day. Here’s how to get in on the cross-training act and get fit fast.
Working out in Los Angeles is like dining out in New York City: You have a million different options. Gym class schedules read like exotic menus, offering workouts for every taste, from Kundalini yoga to Muy Thai kickboxing. And talk about ambience: You can summit Mount Whitney, sweat at sea level or do both in one day.
You have a million different options
“The daily grind of three sets of 10 reps is over in L.A.,” says Jim Barcena, owner and fitness director of the Ultimate Performance Personal Cross-Training Center in West Hollywood. “Now it’s all about mixing things up to get in shape.” L.A.’s new approach to cross-training is so effective because it alternates high-impact activities with low-intensity ones, which keeps muscles fresh. (It’s also a fun perk for visiting WS&F editors, New Yorkers who prefer power yoga over power lunch any day.) Small wonder a huge percentage of the population is celluloid-friendly and cellulite-free.
According to Richard Cotton, an exercise physiologist and the spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, cross-training can increase strength and aerobic capacity faster than just doing the same activity each day. Varying your workouts is also a surefire strategy for losing weight quickly, he adds: “You’ll work more muscles from different angles and exercise them more effectively.” Plus, you’ll avoid getting injured.
Experts believe that muscles begin to adapt to repetitive movements in two to four weeks. Then they stop getting stronger, and you burn fewer calories. To change your body, Barcena says, keep changing what you do with it. How? Follow Barcena’s cross-training plan, which keeps you buzzing through high-intensity activities (Spinning, running) and low-level ones (yoga, dance), giving your body time to refuel. Even if you don’t live in L.A., you can keep your muscles and your mind entertained.
Start off your week with an energizing cardio workout: a 30- to 45-minute run. Feeling supercharged? Run for the hills. According to Gabe Mirkin, M.D., who specializes in sports medicine in Silver Springs, Maryland, a 1 percent increase in incline requires 4 percent more energy. As you go up a gradual hill (like this one on Porto Marina Way in Pacific Palisades, California), shorten your stride and keep feet low to the ground. Flick your ankles as you push off. And don’t barrel downhill: Overstriding stresses the hamstrings and quads.