Behind the large garage door and inside a building that looks as if it formerly held an auto repair shop (which it likely did), the hardcore workout addicts of West Los Angeles’ Golden State CrossFit put themselves through a battery of exercises in pursuit of better health and fitness. The stripped-down gym space substitutes barbells for Nautilus machines and medicine balls for treadmills; any running you’ll be doing at Golden State takes place through the neighborhood. The focus here is on Olympic-style weightlifting and bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups, rather than complex movements and loads of equipment. Hour-long group workouts are designed to both build muscle and increase endurance, all while being motivated by fellow gym rats and trainers who both instruct and motivate.
When Darren Levine received his first Krav Maga black belt in 1984, he wasn't the first man to have worn that particular piece of fabric. The belt originally belonged to the man presenting it to him: Imi Lichtenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga. Darren had had the good fortune of learning the self-defense technique from Imi himself, and eventually became one of Imi's most trusted practitioners, developing training programs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and military personnel throughout the U.S.
In 1998, just one year after his beloved mentor passed away, Darren founded Krav Maga Worldwide to meet growing demand from curious civilians. The hand-to-hand technique is focused on reacting to realistic attacks, and teachers use scenarios inspired by everything from military combat, to late-night walks alone, to heated matches of Whac-A-Mole. Darren and his team lead various programs tailored for law enforcement and military members, women, fitness buffs, and even children, and they also offer certification programs for those looking to become instructors.
Achieving fitness goals feels good, but finding a routine that fits your schedule and personality can be challenging. That's why CityFitLA, which runs sessions at area parks and beaches, offers a wealth of classes that range from boot camps to yoga to dance fitness?even four levels of personal training. Dedicated to whole-family wellness, CityFitLA encourages parents share in their physical activities, creating a space for kids or canines where they can expend energy in a fun, safe environment.
By combining CrossFit workouts and self-defense programs under the same roof, A4 Fitness hopes to provide a broad range of opportunities for clients seeking to bolster their overall wellbeing or master a new set of skills. Each CrossFit session combines elements of weight lifting, gymnastics, and high-intensity interval training. The ever-changing nature of the workouts challenges attendees to push their limits and improve their endurance, strength, and balance over time. Martial arts lessons, meanwhile, draw from an eclectic array of styles; visitors can learn to perform the knee and elbow strikes of muay thai, the nimble footwork of traditional boxing, or the practical self-defense techniques of anything from jiu jitsu to tae kwon do.
Above all else, the gym's staff members emphasize safety. To that end, they keep class sizes small?roughly one instructor for every six students?which ensures that they can continually monitor everyone's technique while providing corrections, suggestions, and celebratory bear hugs when needed.
The no-frills, brick warehouse exterior of Robot Fight and Fitness matches the both the interior and the ethos of this West Los Angeles dojo, which specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai instruction. Teachers at Robot include a BJJ black belt and a national Muay Thai champion, giving the instructors practical experience in nearly every aspect of the disciplines. For those not interested in the self-defense side of Robot Fight and Fitness, the gym has developed “RoboFit,” a catch-all exercise class that combines strength training with bodyweight exercises in different combinations. Don’t expect fancy equipment, though; it’s much more likely that the workout of the day will involve a sledgehammer than a StairMaster.