West Hollywood–gym heaven

There must be more gyms per capita around where I live in West Hollywood than anywhere else on earth with the possible exception of Manhattan.

Right up on Santa Monica, a 10-minute walk, is 24 Hour Fitness, a capable if boring chain. That’s the main place me and Sakiko work out.

But the training we do once or twice a week with Mike is in training gyms. We started off at Todd Tramp’s at La Cienega and Melrose, also a 10-minute walk away, a testosterone-oriented place with the eponymous Todd sitting at the front desk looking oh so muscular. Later, we spent six months working out at the trendy Angel City Gym on Melrose, just an eight-minute walk from our house, right past the Epicurean School of Culinary Arts where Sakiko and I have taken a number of cooking classes. This is the gym where they have $5,000 pieces of original artwork on the wall for you to gaze at while doing your gluteal extensions. Or perhaps you’d like to go out onto the second-floor balcony, complete with gazebo, to do your end-of-workout crunches.

Later we moved to Workout Warehouse, on LaPeer between Melrose and Santa Monica, a twelve-minute walk, the grunge gym par excellence, where they make a point of not decorating. Lots of celebs here, though; we’ve seen Tim Allen, Raquel Welch, Keanu Reeves, Brendon Fraser, Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina), Jennifer Tilly (the divorcee Jim Carrey represented in Liar Liar), and of course the stunning Rachel Weisz.

Most recently we switched to Exclusive, at La Cienega and Holloway, a block north of Santa Monica; this one might be a fifteen-minute walk. Too soon to judge this place, but it seems very laid-back.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The other day we peeked into a building across the street from the iconic Urth Caffe and found it was a gym, Libby Healthworks. Above the Starbucks on Santa Monica is Body Works. I’d guess in a fifteen-minute walking radius of our house there’s probably a total of fifteen gyms.

Bush is in initiative mode now. And obesity is the topic of the moment. Why not announce an anti-obesity “vision” for America? He could start off with tax credits for gym membership, workout equipment, personal training fees, and nutritional consultation. Or maybe this is something the Democrats should pick up on.

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