The Training Room’s owner and chief personal trainer can empathize with his out-of-shape clients, because just a few years ago, he tipped the scales at 300 pounds. It took two years of religious gym workouts to shed a paltry 40 of those, and he found the slow pace frustrating. But when he started high-intensity interval training, 40 more pounds fell off within three months. The form of exercise focuses on short spurts of energy, interspersed with rest, that’s specifically designed to burn maximum calories and boost metabolism in minimum time.
At CrossFit West Whittier, students complete pushups in midair. That's because they're gripping two Olympic rings, sacrificing the ground's stability for a more challenging body-weight exercise. After their circuit is complete, they might move on to medicine-ball throws or squats—the regimen is always unpredictable. Such is the credo of CrossFit, which combines weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio to address all aspects of physical fitness. Though its dumbbells and pull-up racks may seem intimidating, the coaches help direct students of all abilities through the varied routines, acquainting them with every piece of the stripped-down gym's equipment. Their emphasis on assistance and camaraderie guides free community workouts on Saturday mornings as well as open-gym sessions on Wednesdays—freeform meet-ups that allow students to practice their techniques without adhering to class constraints or crushing an apple to give to the teacher.
Each class at StudioFit is unique because each of the certified instructors choreographs an exercise routine set to a custom mix of heart-pumping music and lights. They welcome students of all fitness levels for spinning, cardio-kickboxing, and Zumba classes held within a spacious mirrored studio. In spinning classes, exercisers straddle stationary bikes as they pedal along to different resistances. In kickboxing, they make their ways through boxing techniques that fuel cardio workouts. In Zumba classes, dancers move to Latin-based rhythms and music, shaking their hips and performing cardiovascular dance moves more fun than the power-walking man.
At OC Fitness Boot Camp, exercise isn’t just about summoning an instant endorphin rush or fitting into a smaller pair of jeans a few weeks down the line. It’s about helping people live longer, healthier lives. Held at scenic parks and beaches, workouts help participants cultivate a love of fitness that endures when life throws them a curveball or a water balloon filled with chocolate pudding. Here, participants of all fitness levels cheer one another toward goals during strength-building exercises such as burpees, squats, push-ups, and sit-up variations. In addition to torching calories, running and jumping drills fill the group with energy, like a pep rally led by anthropomorphic lightning bolts. A seasoned instructor oversees each camper, doling out exercise demos, technique tips, and a hearty dose of motivation.
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.
In the unusual parlance of the Hunger Runs 5K, runners are “dedications,” teams are “organizations,” spectators are “assemblies,” and the race is known simply as “the hunt.” The race’s creators, the “huntmakers,” devise a series of obstacles specifically designed to encourage teamwork and camaraderie, and they set up “challenge centers” demanding expert bow-and-arrow skills, simian climbing abilities, and courage in the face of flaming objects. Organizations that finish fastest or with the most points in their designated wave earn bragging rights, awards, and cheek pinches from their proud grandmothers. Dedications are strongly encouraged to wear fun costumes and comfortable sneakers and to come bearing team spirit and the will to win.