Travel is the only thing that makes you richer….and I’m a firm believer that your health shouldn’t have to take a backseat when you crave a little adventure. Staying fit and healthy while traveling is easier than you think.
My latest adventure took me down the coast to one of the few places I call home, SoCal. I went down for a couple of reasons; my birthday (welcome to the quarter century club), my godson’s baptism, as well as a photo shoot with the best photographer in the biz, my sister (stay tuned). Sandy beaches, my beautiful family, good seafood and some of the best fitness studios around made me one happy, happy girl.
My days were spent running along Big Corona or taking up my favorite spin class, snagging a smoothie bowl, hitting up the local coffee shop for some cold brew on tap, then waiting around with my equally as fitness-obsessed sister until our evening yoga class came about. That, my loves, is the definition of pure bliss.
Time spent in California is always different than time spent elsewhere. The weather is gorgeous, there’s diversity at your fingertips, the people are chill, yet motivated, and health is at the top of everyone’s priority list…heck, even the smell gets me going. In a place where black Nike’s paired with a leather jacket reigns, I thrive like a bee to a wildflower.
Cali just gets me.
In-between family visits in Newport, Laguna & L.A., I definitely got my health and fitness fix. I checked out new workouts, revisited my old-time fav’s, drank my way through juice bars, and got as much Vitamin D as I possibly could.
Here’s a (little) look into my top 10 fitness studios, the beach runs with the best view, a few healthy places to eat & drink, and all the cheeky spots for those wellness rookies looking for a little adventure.
1. GRIT Cycle
What: Indoor Cycling Studio, Costa Mesa
Instructor to Take: Lisa or Matt
Out of all the spin classes I’ve taken in the past few years, not one compares to GRIT. Everything from the design of the studio to the front desk staff is amazing. This high-energy, spin class combines low-impact cardio with 45-minutes of sweat-inducing endurance. People of all ages come together in a dark room lit only by blue neon lights. They come for one hell of a workout, but stay for the good time. It’s literally a “party on a bike.” As the instructor leads you through the moves, your hands, your hips and your booty move to the beat of the music. The last few minutes are spent performing exercises with small hand weights that are attached to the back of the bike. I highly suggest sticking to the lighter weights if you’re new to the spin game, as even the 2 pounders completely demolish my arms by the end. The best instructors are Lisa and Matt. Lisa is bit more technical with her moves, but her timing is so on point and she plays the best music. The energy in Matt’s class is unrivaled. He is rarely on the bike as he prefers walking around, encouraging you and dancing alongside you to the music from artists like Jay-Z. He has developed quite the loyal following so sign-up early if you want to get into his class as he ALWAYS has a waitlist.
What: Hot Yoga Studio, Newport Beach
Instructor to Take: Community Class (instructor in Training)
The first time I stepped into Radiant Yoga, I thought to myself “Shit. It’s hot”….I have yet to recant that initial thought. Radiant is one of the warmest hot yoga studios I have been to, but that’s essentially what you want. You want to detox your body, get a good sweat going and feel limber and loose enough in the poses to go deeper next time. Before going to Radiant, the only hot yoga I had taken was a Bikram-style class in Montana. Right from the get-go Radiant was different. It starts out with sultry, soft music during the breath work and warm-up. As you move to the increasing music, your practice starts to slowly build as well. About 15 minutes into the session, something happens. Like a light switch, upbeat tunes from artists like SIA and Maroon 5 hit you like a wave of energy as you begin your “flow.” People start to whoop and cheer as the instructor leads you through several energizing flows. I recommend starting out with the 60-minute class and, if you can, take the community class. These are taught by teachers that are still in training so they only accept donations instead of a class fee. I’ve never had a bad experience with an instructor at a class so a cheaper price is worth the occasional mess up or two.
What: High Intensity Bootcamp, Costa Mesa
Instructor to Take: Matt
I love bootcamp style workouts. I first learned about The 12 a couple of years ago when they had just opened up their Costa Mesa studio, but sadly, I never had the chance to give it a go. My sister had started going to The 12 a few months ago and instantly fell in love, so trying out a class this time around was a must. We decided to head in there on a Friday afternoon during the 45-minute lunch hour class. Upon stepping into the door, the instructor Matt gave me a giant bear hug. I was caught off-guard, but instantly felt welcomed. After he broke down the exercises in each station, the Drake song that was playing got turned up, everyone gave each other high five’s and we got right down to business. Each workout at The 12 is different, meaning you will never do the same workout twice. Also, each day the instructor focuses on different body parts; for example, Monday they could be doing shoulders, chest and abs while Tuesday they could do butt, quads and hamstrings. The Friday class is always a full-body focused workout so naturally we went for the extra ass kicking. One really cool perk at The 12 is they give you not one, but three FREE classes to start out with. How cool is that? Can’t wait to go back.
What: Heated Yoga Studio, West Hollywood
Instructor to Take: Rob
I don’t think I had ever been more excited to try out a new studio than I was with Y7. I originally knew about their New York City studios through Instagram and thought I wouldn’t be able to give them a try until the next time I was in The City. To my surprise, I saw one of their Instagram posts while I was in Cali that said they had JUST opened up their West Hollywood location. I almost cried tears of joy. Y7 is a sweat dripping, beat bumping, candlelit yoga studio that flows to hip-hop and rap music….basically me in one sentence. Their catchy sayings like “a tribe called sweat” and “99 problems but a bridge ain’t one” initially draw you in, while their kick-ass workout and easy going instructors are what make you stay. This class was so much fun that I even caught myself rapping to Yo Gotti during my Downward Dog. It was well worth the more expensive price tag of $30 (including mat and towel rental). Can’t wait to try out their NYC locations.
What: Beach + Stair Run, Corona Del Mar
Of course SoCal has some of the best beaches in the world, but few have enough variety to please every fitness fanatic 10X over. Big Corona in Corona Del Mar has it all; stairs, sandy beaches, steep hills, benches, and a paved sidewalk overlooking everything. I recommend parking on the North end of the beach up top by the road. You can start running South along the sidewalk and hit every staircase along the way (there’s about 6 or 7). Then, hit every bench along the way for 10 dips and 10 push-ups. Once you reach the end, there is a small hill where you can bust out a set of 5 hill sprints. Backtrack on the sidewalk a little ways and you will come to a paved path that leads you down to the actual beach. From here, you can run in the deep or shallow sand back to where you were parked. Total mileage for this is about 3 miles and you get some killer interval work in the mix.
What to Order: Vanilla Freeze w/ a little Himalayan Pink Salt
Pressed Juicery came out with the health guru’s dream when they created their Freeze products. They have 5 flavors that are similar to frozen yogurt, but a whole lot healthier. Only made with real ingredients and ones you can pronounce, every flavor has minimal sugar and low calories. My favorite is the Vanilla flavor which only ingredients are almonds, dates, vanilla and sea salt. That’s it.
What to Order: Any Juice…really, Venic
Kreation is one of the few juice places that I’ve found to be 100% organic. Most juiceries that you walk into aren’t and that’s so important when choosing a juice with the most nutrients and vitamins. The Kreation Kafe in Venice is located on one of the hippest streets in the world, Abbot Kinney. Steps from trendy shops, amazing coffee, and yoga studios galore, Kreation fits right in. If you’re in the mood for actual food, you can’t go wrong with their wraps or quinoa dishes.
What to get: Breakfast Toast, West Hollywood
Organic, clean, outdoor seating and walking distance from yoga class is a perfect combination for a light lunch. One thing to note, don’t go here if you’re in a rush. There’s always a line and the order doesn’t necessarily come in a jiff, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Urth Café prides itself on organic ingredients meant to taste good. Their portion sizes are just right and you leave feeling clean, satisfied and energized. They also have a killer selection of teas and coffee to choose from. The Spanish Latte is uhhh-mazing!
What to Get: Any Donut of the Day or the Maple Bacon, Costa Mesa
What to Get: Cold Brew on Tap, West Hollywood
I love staying fit and healthy while traveling, and it’s a lot easier than you think. Next time you’re in Southern California, give some of these places a try!
ALSO, be on the lookout for my upcoming addition to TWR blog with “The Travel Well Series” where I give you the healthiest spots and recommendations for the girl on-the-go. Never sacrifice your health for a little adventure….