After a pretty hectic final week of traveling and a week being back in England, I’m finally finding the time to attend to my blog! I hope you can forgive me and will enjoy the updates on my fitness related lifestyle whilst staying in LA.
Walk from Venice to Santa Monica – Muscle Beach
On one of my first days in LA I just HAD to go and see the infamous “muscle-beach” in Venice, where I see so many of my fitness idols doing photo shoots and it is supposedly the home of where bodybuilding really got big, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was really just an outdoor gym – I’ve seen a few of these around South America but it was cool nonetheless. It was absolutely boiling so I didn’t quite fancy working out there, and it was also Presidents’ Day so very busy! Instead my friends and I did a long walk along the boardwalk to Santa Monica (we didn’t quite make it all the way as my friend had a flight to catch) and I had a packed lunch on the beach. I had a sweet potato topped with cottage cheese as I was deprived of it for so long in South America, I was in a putting-cottage -cheese-on-everything kind of mode.
I also went into Sweaty Betty as they had just opened a new store and as it is my all-time favorite fitness brand I just had to take a look (totally not to hint for a job there so I could somehow stay in LA forever?!) I actually walked to the wrong one as the new one was much further away in Santa Monica, but it was still a great little shop to take my friends to, who had never heard of the brand. It had a small “zen den” chill out area in the back which was great to just have a little sit after walking around so much! There was also a cute little coffee shop next door – I had an iced brew with almond milk, stevia and cinnamon. My go-to coffee whilst living in LA heat! I love how picky you can be with your coffees whilst in America, but it did take me a while to figure out the difference between an Americano and a “brew”!
Planet fitness – LA Fitness – Lost Wallet Debacle – Gold’s Gym
I tried out several gyms whilst I was residing in LA. On one of my first days I signed up to the closest gym to me for just $10 for the whole month – Planet Fitness! I actually really liked working out here as it was really big and had lots of equipment – although no squat rack which I found kind of baffling.
After signing up to Planet Fitness, I was actually approached by LA Fitness for a free trial. I decided I would try it out and see if I liked it better, and it was also really near to my closest supplier of Walden Farms (incredible sugar-free calorie free syrups/sauces) which I desperately wanted, so one evening I paid the visit. I didn’t really enjoy my session there as it was absolutely rammed and had a lot of “gym bros” lurking close by. I was also desperately rushing so I could get home and watch the Batchelor (my most recent shit tv discovery – it’s amazing) but I had to be taken around the whole gym by a personal trainer before I could even work out there. Images of Ben stiller and Globogym certainly sprung to mind, and he didn’t seem to quite understand that not all girls are obsessed with cardio. He assumed I’d never stepped in a weights section without even asking me, and it was pretty awkward at the end of it all when I said I was a bikini competitor. To top it all off LA Fitness didn’t even have WIFI, so I wasn’t able to watch youtube videos during my cardio – and this makes it 10x more bearable in my opinion!
I went home pretty late and all seemed well until the next day when I couldn’t locate my wallet. I knew I had had it at LA fitness, but I couldn’t find it after that. After repeated calls to them and waiting around all day, they told me it wasn’t there. I even went back to look, but alas, the wallet was gone. This caused a multitude of problems whilst staying in LA but I won’t bore you with the details. On a positive note, it may have been a blessing in disguise and somewhat curbed my shopping addiction just a little bit (but not that much, as you will see later!)
I also paid a visit to Gold’s Gym in Venice, again a famous bodybuilding hang out and where Arnie actually trains! I peaked in at had a look around for some people I might recognize before I decided to throw on my new gear and get going with a workout. Whilst lingering around feeling kind of awkward I decided on the off chance to message one of my favourite youtubers Amanda Bucci, to see if she was there. She told me she would be, and about an hour later I spotted her by a squat rack. My level of excitement was equal to that of a small child meeting Cindarella in Disney land for the first time. I galloped over to her to see what she was like in real life and she was lovely, I even got a sneaky appearance on her snapchat story. Now to most people I realize that meeting a fitness youtuber may not have been that big of a deal and the excitement was perhaps a little bit disproportionate, but when you’ve spent literally HOURS ON HOURS at cardio machines watching every single one of their videos, it’s pretty obvious your somewhat crazy anyway.
After winning Miami Pro way back in October, I actually won a photoshoot with the fitness photographer Matt Marsh. This meant I not only needed to get my ass in gear and get myself in good shape whilst staying in LA, but I needed some outfits to wear at the shoot. It was also my birthday coming up, so a few splurges were had – don’t judge me!
First of all, I headed to Victoria Secret. I didn’t actually find anything I liked in their sportswear range, so I ended up getting a few bits from PINK instead. I got a burgundy/maroon themed outfit, a white padded sports bra, and 5 pairs of knickers (because who ever just buys 1 at a time)? The leggings fit beautifully as they are high waisted (although a little bit long for my stumpy legs) and are so comfy, I would definitely recommend getting some from here if you are looking for a slightly thicker pair of leggings. I also bought some vintage themed sports underwear from American Apparel, and a new crop and shorts from Nike Pro. I’m pretty lucky being as short as I am because I can fit into a lots of kids clothing – so this Nike outfit actually only ended up being around $10 per item – bargain! Kind of embarrassing when you are trying on something that a genuine 12 year old is also trying on with their mum next to you, but so worth it.
Towards the end of my trip I went into Lululemon, as I just HAD to see what all the fuss was about over their workout leggings. I instantly saw a pair I thought were beautiful, but I was not even vaguely considering getting them due the high price tag, despite the fact it was on sale. I tried them on for fun anyway, and oh my, what an error this was. They were so flattering I couldn’t believe it, and as I had picked up the smallest size, they literally sucked and smoothed all my fat around my bottom half to make me feel like I had the most perfectly rounded glutes and thighs. Again they were high waisted – so I could wear crop tops with it without feeling super exposed at the gym in England. I couldn’t stop looking at them for at least half an hour, trying figure out a way I could justify getting them when I knew I had a very limited supply of money left for my trip (due to wallet disaster aforementioned). Of course, as it was me, I put them on hold for the afternoon, dilly dallied at some other shops for a while, and went running back to get my beautiful new lulus. As an investment they are DEFINITELY worth it in my opinion, but my tip of the day is to NEVER try some on unless you have full intention of buying a pair – you won’t be able to resist!
Whilst staying in LA I did try some of the food it is most famous for. Whilst I never made it to a Cheesecake factory, I did have an In-and-out burger and a Chipotle. The In-and-out burger was a full blown cheat meal, with fries and a milkshake. The burger was great, although a bit more fast-foody than I was expecting. I was blown away by the milkshake however, which was pretty much soft serve chocolate ice cream in a massive 750ml container. For the Chipotle I actually macro tracked so I didn’t go full out with a burrito, but instead got a salad bowl with a smaller portion of rice and beans and guacomole on the side. It was so tasty I was actually inspired to make my own version at home the next day. Here is a pic of what I made – the full recipe is on my instagram!
Last but not least, the best thing I tried was ARCTIC ZERO. This ice cream has just 150 calories for the whole pint, and the satisfaction of being able to eat a whole tub of ice cream completely guilt free was next to none. With 12g protein and 28g carbs, I used this as my post workout several times throughout the trip. My favourite flavour was the purely chocolate, although I also tried the peanut butter cup and salted caramel. They aren’t quite as tasty as real ice cream, but they were definitely pretty close to it. Devastatingly, I’ve heard since then they are actually lying about their incredible macros and when tested they had up to 68% more calories in some of their flavours than what is actually written on the pot. I’m choosing to ignore this fact when I write about them because I didn’t gain any weight from eating them and they were delicious – but I’m somewhat glad I am away from them now though!
I hope you enjoyed reading a sneak peak into my time in LA. I absolutely loved the outdoors lifestyle here, I haven’t even mentioned all the amazing hikes/camping/skiing I did (and lots of non-fitness related activities!) I think a big part of me wants to be an LA gal, but for the moment I shall settle for little old Harpenden. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the products I mentioned and if you liked reading about this sort of thing!
Lots of love,