Let’s Get Physical: The Haute 5 Fitness Clubs in Los Angeles

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Resolutions, like rules, are meant to be broken.  You’re setting yourself up to fail if you really thought you’d give up chocolate and it’s much too much pressure to think you’ll learn Spanish in the next six months.  One resolution that Angelenos seem to keep year after year, though, is keeping fit.  With all of the private trainers and model bodies around, it almost seems that we don’t need New Year’s to convince us to stay in shape.  As a result, our gyms are enviable havens for fitness, health, shopping, spa treatments, and even cuisine, making our favorite pastime–rock hard abs–that much more appealing.  Here’s a list of LA’s most haute places to lift iron, get into downward dog, and order a shot of wheat grass at the end of it all.

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Los Angeles’ first private fitness club, built in 1880, the LA Athletic Club in Downtown recently underwent a major renovation and has reopened as one of the chicest places to not only break a sweat, but stay overnight.  Now with a hotel attached, you can play squash, basketball, swim in one of two pools, shoot pool, take Pilates, kickboxing, and all the rest.  Members are privy to hosted parties and reciprocal memberships at some of the chicest clubs around the country, including New York’s Princeton Club.  Membership fees may be higher than they were in 1880, when the initiation fee was $5 and monthly dues were $1, but you can believe it’s worth it.

The LA Athletic Club is located at 431 West 7th Street in Downtown LA (213) 625-2211.

Burn 60

If an athletic club sounds a little too cushy for you, Burn 60 could be just the right spot.  Spend five, 10, or 15 minutes on each interval with this kind of training, moving from the treadmill to weight training and strength and resistance equipment and back again.  For 60 minutes, you’ll work every muscle in your body at this fast-paced, sweaty, and variety-based workout.  Also available, from the same concept and company are Turn 60 and Core 60. Turn 60 employs the same idea, but replaces the treadmill with a spinning bike, while you can enjoy Pilates via Core 60.  Either way, you’ll be sweating at some point between 0–60.

Burn 60 is located at 159 S. Barrington Place in Brentwood (310) 476-5656.

Maha Yoga

If you’d rather listen to Bob Marley and work on your breathing and flexibility than have someone yelling at you that it’s not a real workout until you feel your muscles burn, head to Maha Yoga.  Brentwood’s now landmark yoga studio, mixes rock’n’roll with sun salutations and a veritable see-and-be-scene with your namaste. You’ll leave an hour and a half-long class covered in sweat and with a smile spanning from ear to ear–that’s what keeps bringing so many new and regular yogis back to Maha.  Yogi purists may find the hip hop soundtrack a little distracting, and the ab work less than traditional, but anyone looking for a relaxing, but tough workout has come to the right place.

Maha Yoga is located at 13050 San Vicente Blvd, 2nd floor in Brentwood (310) 899-0047.

The Sports Club/LA

Los Angeles’ quintessential fitness complex, the Sports Club/LA can really spoil its members.  Uncompromising service mixed with every possible piece of equipment you can think of makes it a stellar gym in and of itself.  In addition, there are two locations in Los Angeles, each with their own fine dining establishment, squash courts, Pilates studios, spas, private trainers, spinning studios, and group classes.  The Sepulveda Blvd location, the larger of the two, also offers a Junior Olympic sized pool, a basketball court, a hair salon, and childcare options. From Definitions and Get Up & Groove, there are not only many ways to get in shape, there are also many opportunities to catch a glimpse of the club’s long roster of celebrity clients preparing for a film or losing that baby weight. Talk about motivation.

The Sports Club/LA has two locations: 1835 Sepulveda Blvd. in West LA (310) 473-1447 and 9601 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills (310) 888-8100.


With nine clubs in Southern California alone, there’s no way of getting around the fact that Equinox is a chain.  All of the derogatory connotations with being a “chain,” though, are absent at Equinox, while all of the benefits (being able to work out in nine different areas of Los Angeles) are in tact.  Skincare fanatics take note, they’ve partnered with Kiehl’s to offer the best of the best in their locker rooms, which should give you a good indication of their style.  With indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas, and executive lounges, it may be hard to leave the locker room.  But once you’ve booted up,  head out to the floor to meet up with your personal trainer, try out a Shreadmill or Hip Hop class, or maybe brave a Boot Camp class.  The equipment and instructors are all top notch, which makes the modern décor and notably hip members that much easier on the eyes.

Equinox has a number of locations in Southern California.  In Century City, they are located at 10220 Constellation Blvd. (310) 552-0420.

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