When it comes to fitness, certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist Brian Stevenson thinks outside the box—literally. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brian developed a taste for the great outdoors at a young age. That's why he's ditched cumbersome machines for mobile workout equipment that he can use anywhere, be it on the beach, in the park, or in the front yard of that girl you want to impress. Brian's one-on-one workout programs avoid repetition by drawing on everything from CrossFit to TRX suspension training, making the program ideal for sports condition, strength training, weight loss, and muscle rehab.
Montebello Barnyard Zoo's animals are like rock stars, touring local homes and meeting places for one-on-one encounters and shows. Pony rides headline this traveling attraction, which also incorporates a petting zoo with various farm animals: goats, sheep, chickens, and even a llama.
The animals still spend the most time at their home venue, however. Here, fenced off areas contain larger animals such as cows and zebras, who always show up to work wearing the same black-and-white outfits. Bales of hay, wooden barrels, and a large, red barn create a rustic setting for picnics and birthday parties. Nearby, a merry-go-round spins endlessly and a truck?decorated to resemble a locomotive?pulls train cars on a tour of the grounds.
Jay Kerwin knows a thing or two about making it through a tough regimen. A certified skydiver, scuba diver, pilot, and EMT, he was also one of only seven to graduate from the Air Force’s Pararescue Special Operations Indoctrination program––a course that begins with about 500 candidates. Now known as “the Major,” he helps build confidence and stronger bodies at Boot Camp LA, instilling his students with the same kind of motivation and work ethic that led him to win several national bodybuilding competitions and open pickle jars with ease.
Atop the plush grass and unforgiving concrete surrounding the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum park, new and experienced recruits tone muscles as sneakered feet beat the ground during military-style drills that include running, strength workouts, and circuit training. Classes are lead by Jay and his wife Marcella, an athlete since age 10 and fondly referred to as “the Lieutenant.” Together, they work with men and women of all ages and fitness levels, developing workouts and offering nutrition advice. Recruits can train before the sun rises with classes ending before 10 a.m., or shake off sweat and workplace stress as the sun sets during an evening class. Aside from helping students lose weight, the Major and Lieutenant help them start or end each day with positive reinforcement, staying away from the yelling, belittling, and mama insulting often associated with traditional military-style boot camps.
The founders of Liberation Yoga were probably flattered when their studio was named one of LA Weekly's best yoga studios in 2013. But it wasn't the highest honor they'd ever received?in 2007, Travel+Leisure crowned Liberation Yoga one of the best studios in the entire world.
Those are just two of the numerous awards the studio has accumulated since it opened in the early 2000s, right when the '90s fitness craze of teasing hair until your arms gave out began to decline. Perhaps the praise is due to the fact that the majority of its yoga instructors boast more than a decade of experience. Or maybe it's because they focus solely on yoga while still offering a wide variety of classes types. That class range includes from gentle styles of yoga, which relieve stress, to flow classes, which challenge the body with rigorous, Vinyasa-style movements, to classes specifically designed for families and toddlers.
Or maybe it's the classroom itself?a bright, mystical place where mismatched dark and light hardwood slats cover the floors, natural light pours through the windows, and a sky-blue ceiling slants toward the outer wall. Touches such as tree-like wooden poles, greenery and flowers, and brown vines complete the fairytale look, making the studio a magic place in which to move and obtain inner peace.
Melanie Archer-Dieveney took to Pilates instantly. As a new mother, she turned to the core-strengthening art to reshape her body, and in the process, she began to reshape her life. She was amazed not only by the transformation in how her body looked, but how it felt?she noticed an increase in her energy and focus levels, a very welcome change to the single mom of a 2-year-old. After getting her certification, she decided to create a studio where like-minded exercisers could bring their children to class. Archer Pilates & Wellness originally opened as a small labor of love in her garage. But today, alongside a team of licensed and certified instructors, she leads her classes in a serene studio with gleaming wood floors and numerous props, including Pilates reformer machines, medicine balls, and four brass poles for pole-dancing classes. She has developed a hands-on, customized roster of Pilates classes, ensuring that each guest performs workouts specifically tailored to their goals, whether they want to lose inches or build core muscles strong enough to deflect a sprinting child less than 60 pounds. As adults lengthen and strengthen their muscles, the instructors also lead kids through Pilates and yoga classes, taking a more active and engaging approach to traditional childcare.
Leigh Ann grew up as an actor who was also an athlete: when she was offstage, the SoCal native dove off springboards, jumped hurdles, and fought on the kickboxing mat. Her knack for blending art with athleticism led her to found BeSpun at the age of 25. Leigh Ann competes and receives top honors at national and regional pole-dance competitions, and she has produced and starred in a series of instructional DVDs.
At BeSpun, Leigh Ann and her fellow instructors—also pole-dance champions—teach an extensive array of classes that include single-session and multiweek workshops. Classes’ subject matter ranges from beginners' lessons to master workshops led by special guests. There’s also open-studio time, as well as classes that focus on specialties such as spinning, stretching, and whittling your own pole from a chrome tree trunk. Instructors focus on leading thorough sessions that use time efficiently, and they’re committed to blending fitness with dance training. A lighthearted FAQ page answers potential questions while giving a taste of the studio’s fun-loving atmosphere.