Personal trainer, author and The Healthy Cook Dan Churchill lives in Sydney, but has just been in LA where he spent plenty of time scoping out the fitness scene. “I now like to think of LA as my home away from home,” says Dan. “However, for it to be held in such regard it had to deliver on my daily routine. Which, let’s be honest, revolves around eating, training and cooking. With a bit of sleep thrown in! While LA definitely has a hedonistic side, it is also ahead of the pack (we’re talking Usain Bolt-style ahead!) in providing opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle.” Here, Dan shares his fave ways (and places) to get his sweat on in LA.
“I couldn’t believe how popular this hiking thing is in Los Angeles,” laughs Dan. “I didn’t realise that lots of people do them everyday. I don’t think I have ever gone for a hike back home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. But now, having experienced some of LA’s best hikes myself I can definitely understand why they’re so popular. You see, LA is quite ﬂat and is separated from the Valley by the Hollywood Hills. When you get to the top of these hills you have the most amazing view of the city. You see everything from Downtown to Santa Monica. It is truly awesome! What adds to the rush is the steep incline to get up there. I loved the famous Runyon trail and would definitely recommend it. However, there are many other forks to take. Walk (or run) all the way to the top and when you get there outstretch your arms and take in the biggest breath. Plus, it never rains in LA so you get to enjoy that amazing sunshine too!”
“If you are a gym devotee you really can’t beat Equinox for its equipment and classes,” says Dan. “However, it is pricey. If you prefer to train outside, the park in Larchmont has a great set up for bars. Girls, you like a bit of eye candy while you workout , you’ll probably spot some ripped shirtless dudes training there too on a Saturday!”
“If you’re up for the challenge hit up the Culver City hill stairs,” says Dan. “They seem to go on forever and you just have to keep on pumping your legs. However, be careful not to fall over as some of the steps are of different heights. Unlike the Runyon run, which consists of a variety of hills and terrain and weaves from left to right, these stairs are in a straight line. Running these stairs is deﬁnitely not for the faint-hearted, but you could always walk them.”
“It might surprise you but I’d definitely recommend you attend an Xtend Barre class,” says Dan. “If you’ve never tried it before take it from me, this class is hectic. Like ballet on steroids. I know lots of guys would be thinking ‘yeah right, I lift six days a week or do CrossFit’ but my response would to keep an open mind. Barre truly works your body in a way I’d never experienced before. Not only is it great for the core but you also have to hold isometric contractions for extended periods of time. This basically just means you have to keep your muscles contracted without moving them. The combination meant I was sweating like nothing else in this class!”
“Runyon would be a great place to take a ‘healthie’ aka a healthy selfie,” laughs Dan. “Even though I didn’t think to take one myself, I reckon standing on top of Runyon, with the amazing view in the background, has all the makings of a great selfie.”