As you may be able to tell from my restaurant reviews and other posts, I am definitely NOT a health nut or calorie counter. I LOVE food and like to eat what I like - my philosophy is there is no point in doing all sorts of things to extend your life span if you are not actually going to LIVE during the time you have.
That said, I also don't believe in making yourself sick or slowing down your pace from over-indulging. Staying active and healthy lets me enjoy my food and continually make room for more amazing meals!
So, to that end, wanted to share some tips for fellow foodies on a budget - below are ways to get workouts in without spending hundreds on gym memberships or exercise equipment!
YOGA (personal fav)
There are an incredible number of yoga studios in Santa Monica that offer classes by donation only - opened by wonderful people that ask only for what you can afford to pay!!! Parking is free for two hours in most of the numerous public parking structures around SM - and if you go on a Sunday, street parking is free all day! Here are just a few of the awesome studios with 'by donation' classes available...
Bryan Kest's Power Yoga
*SMPY West Studio - 1410 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
*SMPY East Studio - 522 Santa Monica Blvd. (Upstairs), Santa Monica, CA 90401
See website for class schedules: poweryoga.com/
Bhakti Yoga Shala
*207 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, Ca 90401 (in the courtyard at Arizona and 2nd St.)
See website for class schedules: bhaktiyogashala.com/
*1221 2nd Street, Santa Monica, California 90401
See website for class schedules: yogisanonymous.com
***In March 2011 only, there is also free yoga at The Americana at Brand Sundays 9-10am
Body Theory class on The Green with Michael Blanks from Lululemon Athletica every Sunday in March.
BIKE ON THE BEACH (second personal fav) ... or Rollerblade / skate
If you live within driving distance of LA's awesome beaches, don't get stuck in a boring old gym staring out into space while going through repetitive motions on a machine! The bike paths stretch along the coast from Pacific Palisades to Hermosa Beach (at least that's as far as we've gone) - this is an amazing way to get your workout while enjoying fresh air and gorgeous ocean views! (And hugely entertaining people watching - one of my fav stops is in Santa Monica, between the pier and Shutters on the Beach - there is an outdoor 'gym' where you can catch aspiring gymnasts doing incredible things on the rings - here's one example captured on video - excuse the poor audio). Again, if Santa Monica is your starting point, parking is free for two hours in most of the numerous public parking structures - and if you go on a Sunday, street parking is free all day.
Those who have a bike/blades/skates already, awesome - this means riding will cost you nothing. Those who don't have a bike/blades/skates, there are plenty of rental places along the beach that rent by the hour or for the day - running from just $7 per hour and $15 per day upwards. Here are a couple of places to check out:
Sea Mist Rentals (conveniently located right at the start of the Santa Monica pier)
*1619 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Ph: 310.395.7076
Perry's Cafe and Rentals
*2600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (south of pier at end of Ocean Park Blvd) Ph: 310.584.9306
Seven other locations in Santa Monica and Venice Beach - see website for details: perryscafe.com/ A convenient one is at the beach end of North Venice Blvd. - because you have a choice of two lots: (1) N. Venice x Pacific $3 flat rate all day in and out allowed (drops to $2 around sunset) (2) lot at beach end of N. Venice Blvd. $4 per entry. This one's not a 'cafe' location though, just a bike/skate rental stand marked "Schwinn" at far end of beach parking lot.
Tip: Free Coffee Tuesdays at Cafe locations - Enjoy a free cup of "Illy" coffee and a 20% discount on bike and skate rentals at beachside locations, Tuesdays only.
And of course, jogging / walking / playing sports at the beach or at your local public park is also free!