Los Angeles is the arts and entertainment capital of the world. The city is situated between the Pacific coastline and mountains and has incredible weather all year round. Consequentially it’s only natural that its’ inhabitants place a great focus on health and fitness. If you are an aspiring fitness talent looking to get your big break and be surrounded by industry folk, the ‘City of Dreams’ is where the magic can happen.
Southern California’s glitz and glamour is exuded by the ‘fit and famous’ and followed by the curious eyes of millions around the world. Some of the most famous fitness celebrities have built their careers there. For example, ‘National Fitness Hall of Fame inductees’, Jack LaLanne, the ‘Godfather of Fitness’ and the legend Arnold Schwarzenegger, 7-time Mr. Olympia, action hero, Governor of California aka the ‘governator’.
They and numerous others have left their mark and spirit on what defines the ‘California lifestyle’. With a greater metropolitan population of 17 million, Los Angeles not only has a spectacular fitness scene, but has a fantastically diverse array of food options. You can find ‘clean’ diet options in every restaurant (whether on the menu or for custom order).RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Los Angelinos eat twice the amount of seafood as the rest of the country and restaurants avidly support those on organic, raw, vegetarian and vegan diets. I was blown away by the general knowledge of people on how to maintain a good diet and interest to maintain an active lifestyle.
In this city, you can always find a workout or activity partner to go rollerblading with along the Venice boardwalk, hike through Runyan Canyon, snowboard in Mammoth Mountain, practice yoga or Pilates with at the many expert centers, or just enjoy a good ‘lifting’ experience at Gold’s Gym Venice Beach.
However, if LA is the fitness capital of the world, America is perhaps the fattest land in the world. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third obese. Yet Americans are fascinated by sensational stories of extreme weight loss and love shows, such as, ‘The Biggest Loser’. They also avidly follow the tabloids documenting every pound that their favorite celebrities gain or drop.
This is good news for fitness professionals and those who represent healthy living ideals. Fitness is a thriving billion dollar industry here – one that unlike most areas in the world, is supported by a multitude of magazines, new equipment and gadgets, workout supplements, apparel, TV shows, DVDs and other lucrative opportunities.
“Just a few blocks shy of Venice Beach is the famed Muscle Beach – where people workout outside”
You can make it here…
My friend at Gold’s Gym, Janet Campbell is a perfect example of someone who has taken advantage of Los Angeles’ fitness opportunities. Hers is a great story. Janet is originally from New Zealand and came to LA as a professional K1 Kickboxer. She was soon immersed into Hollywood as a celebrity stunt trainer, stuntwoman, and personal trainer to the stars.
Janet is a supernatural creature with the face of an exotic model, the body of an action hero and the ambition and drive to go out there and take advantage of what this city has to offer. Her celeb clients include Will Smith, Ray Liotta and Alicia Keys. She has had the opportunity to travel the world with her clientele.
Recently she begin a production company called ‘Aysen Films’ and through it developed a reality TV show called, ‘The Next Action Hero’, where 40 girls battle to be the next Angelina Jolie.
My LA Story
I’m new to LA. Back at the end of 2009, I was on work assignment living in Brussels. I was in the midst of balancing a heavy schedule of working full-time in finance and attempting to fit my competitive fitness and traveling aspirations as well as my modeling and photography in as well.
It was an exciting life in Europe, jetting off to various countries and meeting diverse and open people, sharpening my foreign language skills and ‘making’ memories, but then the banking world imploded and all of the expatriates in my company were pulled back to the States.
Away from work I was riding high after winning the 2009 MuscleMania Europe Ms. Bikini and Model titles in October. So with the banking world in crisis I made the decision to chase some dreams and sunshine and repatriate back to the States, this time in Los Angeles.
I had 45 days to make the move and flew out to the city to find an apartment and understand the city better. In January 2010, all of my belongings arrived in the port and I finally settled in picture perfect California, with its endless sunny days and west coast beach lifestyle.
Golds Gym and Venice Beach
“At Gold’s, the regulars spotted that I was serious about fitness and that I was a new member”
I remember my first week. I spent time with my family living in the city and signed up for a membership at Gold’s Gym Venice Beach. At Gold’s, the regulars spotted that I was serious about fitness and that I was a new member. A few came by and made introductions. I got the chance to learn about their very diverse backgrounds – the sharing of knowledge was incredible.
Previously, I was one of maybe two to three people at my European gym who did competitive fitness of some sort. Consequentially, I’d often use social network sites like Facebook and forums for advice and guidance.
However, at Gold’s, the real world ‘forum’ came alive with people helping each other out, discussing nutrition, watching your form, and motivating you on every gym visit. The trainers are often competitors as well and so the atmosphere is always buzzing with energy. This environment provided me with a feeling of being at ‘home’.
The LA fitness scene
“Los Angeles was quickly living up to its’ reputation as the Fitness Epicenter of the World”
If you are into bodybuilding, you will have undoubtedly read stories and seen numerous images of the Olympia Bodybuilding and Fitness Elite shot in Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach.
It’s the Mecca of bodybuilding, everyday you’ll find an eclectic mix of celebrities ranging from fitness cover models, stunt people, actors/actresses, professional bodybuilders and power-lifters, photographers, magazine writers and editors and the folks you might have just seen dancing on Venice Beach for income as well as the mega wealthy.
Just a few blocks shy of Venice Beach is the famed Muscle Beach – where people workout outside. You’ll see all forms of exercise each and every day. Photo-shoots take place here and in Gold’s Gym for all major fitness titles and a lot of scouting goes on.
Come in, in tiptop shape with a good attitude and it’s very easy to network with the industry mover and shakers. The opportunities are plentiful and a combination of networking and being in the right place at the right time and time are key to opening doors.
On a few occasions a friendly gym user would approach me, ask a few questions and turn out to be a photographer who liked my look and wanted to work with me. This could also be the other way round as I am also a photographer.
I would regularly spot unbelievable talent at Gold’s. As time passed I built up my contacts and I remember smiling one day as I looked at my phone contacts and realised that it was starting to read like a ‘Fitness Hollywood Rolodex’. There are numerous and regular fitness expos and shows going on in LA – these provided additional avenues to meet likeminded people.
I attended the LA Fit Expo. Most supplement companies were present and many fitness models were either working or networking at this event. I ran into many people that I had competed with in the past and quickly caught up with what they were doing. Los Angeles was quickly living up to its’ reputation as the Fitness Epicenter of the World.
LA is a big city and like any other city, it is what you make of it. There are many opportunities for those who are driven enough to ‘make it happen’. Come to the city, enjoy it as a tourist and feel the energy it pulses day and night. If you are lucky enough to get an opportunity then stay longer, you will be in good company and you never know what opportunities might be lurking around the fitness scene corner.