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Image and Fitness

Athletes of every description hit tennis balls and shoot hoops. Old-world men sit in stoic contemplation of their next chess move. Birds and squirrels dart back and forth among blossoming trees, and the warm air is filled with the laughter of children as their parents push them on swings. The sun is shining and you’re dressed casually. No coats or gloves here, even though it may be December. You’re in the middle of L.A., in West Hollywood, in one of the city parks that you may not even realize is so close – and, a perfect place to invigorate your soul with fresh air, beautiful nature and inspiring activity.

The invigorating weather often makes you stare out the window and make a mental note to get to those serene mountains you see everyday or start running on that great beach you found last summer. Hopefully, you’re a person who makes an appointment with yourself and keeps it, but many of us seem to get caught up in the living of our lives and these plans fall by the wayside. Then, the living of your life starts to not quite seem like the “living” you have in mind as the daily grind leaves your edges frayed. The great news is, you don’t have to block out an entire afternoon and drive to a beach or hike a canyon to enjoy the many benefits that even a little outdoor time will provide.

In the heart of the city, West Hollywood, there are plenty of outdoor spaces to fill your lungs as well as your soul – without the long drive. There are five parks within the three-mile length of the city, and you can turn any of these parks into your home gym, without any equipment other than your own miraculous body (well, let’s not forget to wear clothes). Besides not having to pay membership dues or endure fluorescent lighting and bad music, being outside can:

• naturally decrease stress
• elevate your mood
• increase vitamin D
• lead to a more efficient and peaceful overall experience from the lack of crowds compared to an urban gym

If your interest is now piqued enough for action, here are some effective exercises that you can enjoy outdoors to tone muscles, trim fat and keep your heart healthy!

workout

Bench Squats(Start with 10 reps advance to 50)

• Stand 12 inches in front of park bench, with feet hip width apart

• Keep chest lifted and abs pulled in as you lower your butt back and towards bench

• Keep arms out in front of you for balance or behind your head for a harder version

• Stop 1 inch before your butt hits bench hold 10 seconds, and return to start position

squats

Bench Dips(start with 8 reps advance to 30)

• Set up position: Place hands next to hips, palms down, fingers facing forward, legs stretched out in front of you, feet together, resting on heels.

• Start Position: Slide body off bench so full body weight is resting directly in front of bench and your body weight is supported by your hands

•Keeping chest lifted, abs pulled in, bend elbows, lower body till elbows are at 90’.

•Pause. Push body back up to start position

•Simplified version: start with knees bent and progress them to straight

pushup

Bench Pushups(to maximum)

(Incline Variation)

• Place hands approximately shoulder width apart on bench

• Walk feet out away from bench until body is in diagonal line

• Bend elbows, keeping body in a straight line, lower chest down to 4 inches above bench

• Pause

• Push body back to start position

(Decline Variation)

• Place hands approximately shoulder width apart on ground

• Bend elbows, keeping body in a straight line, lower chest down to 4 inches above ground

• Pause

• Push body back to start position

stepup

Bench Step Ups(10-40 reps on each leg)

• Stand in front of bench with hands on hips

• Step your right foot up onto bench

• Keeping your posture straight, bring your left foot up to toe touch you right knee

• Pause

• Step your left foot down to the ground

• Repeat on the same leg

Mini Marathon Abdominal Series(25-50 of each)
Lie on your back with hands behind head for each exercise unless noted. Aim to continue from one exercise to the next without stopping; hence the name “marathon”.

1. Standard Curl

• Feet on ground knees bent

• Tighten abdominal muscles as you exhale and curl up

• Keep shoulders off ground throughout exercise

2. Double Curl

• Knees bent

• Tighten AB muscles as you exhale and bring knees in towards face

3. CrissCross (a.k.a. bicycle)

• Extend one leg out in front of you, while keeping the other leg pulled in

• Tighten abdominal muscles as you exhale and twist upper body towards your bent knee

• Inhale and switch sides

4. Hamstring Stretch Curls

• Both legs extended towards sky (legs straight)

• Tighten abdominal muscles as you exhale and curl up

• Keep shoulders off ground throughout exercise

5. Hamstring Stretch Curls with Twist

• Both legs extended towards sky (legs straight)

• Tighten abdominal muscles as you exhale and twist upper body towards one side then the other

• Keep shoulders off ground throughout exercise

Oh…IF YOU WANT TO HIT AN EXTRA SEVENTEEN TOTALLY ESSENTIAL MUSCLES WHILE YOU EXERCISE…SMILE!

By Juliet Kaska. Juliet has been spent her life involved in dance and fitness, she is a nationally certified personal trainer (NASM), a member of IDEA, Pilates Method Alliance, and IRHSA. Juliet is the owner of Emerson Hall Fitness, West Hollywood’s state of the art, boutique style private fitness gym. Juliet also sits on the Mayor Abbe Land’s Task Force for Wellness in West Hollywood.

Fitness Models:
Mattey Tibbets & Juliet Kaska

NOTE: Always consult your personal physician before beginning any workout regimen.

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