Workout Alternatives to Fight New Year Gym Crowds

— by Caroline on Crack

Flickr photo by Naama

It never fails. After New Year’s, gyms everywhere suffer an overflow of determined New Year’s resolutionists. “This is the year when I’m going to lose 10 pounds.” “This is the year when I’m going to finally get a hard body.” And not that I’m knocking people for having those goals. More power to you. It just makes the idea of going to the gym a yucky proposition. With no available treadmills and a long line for the ab benches, you want to give up before you even start.

So here are some alternatives to get your fitness elsewhere. Being in the great outdoors is always much nicer anyway. And if you want to track how far you’ve ran or walked, map it out with this Gmap pedometer.

Sunrise run along the beach. This is a great way to start the day as the beach is so beautiful in the warm tones of the morning. My favorite spot is from the Santa Monica Pier down south and then back. You could run all the way to the marina…if you wanted to. It’s uninterupted expanses of sand and you get to see morning surfers and scuba divers and, if you’re lucky, the occasional dolphin along the shore.

Biking south of Playa to Hermosa and beyond. Populated by fellow cyclists and the occasional rollerbladers, this bike path follows stretches of beach. Also it has many hills for that extra workout or you can cheat and take the path in the Dockweiler beach parking lot for an easy start.

Fast-walk Runyon Canyon. Now, I’ve never done this myself since it’s not near my hood, but my friends in that area love it. Apparently they have beautiful trails overlooking the L.A. basin but people are always walking their dogs there so watch where you step.

Hiking in Griffith Park or Santa Monica Mountains. This is best done when it’s dry so you don’t have to contend with mud. But these areas are great for hikes since you get the breathtaking views of the city and, in Santa Monica Mountains’ case, the ocean to motivate you. For Santa Monica, hiking Temescal Canyon and Will Rogers State Park are good bets.

From CitySearch regarding Griffith Park:

To access either the Upper or Lower Trail, take the path to the left of the observatory. The path winds through dense brush and over waterways when nearing Ferndell Park. Head back from Ferndell Park and expect to be at it for more than an hour. Experienced hikers should consider the more challenging Mount Hollywood Trail to the north of the observatory.

Santa Monica stairs off West Channel Road. You have your pick of the hard-core concrete steps which I’ve seen firemen train on (oh, yes), or the less-intimidating wooden stairs east of that. But give these babies just three go-rounds and you got yourself some good cardio as well as a satisfying workout for your spaghetti legs. I’ve seen some hard-core people run up the concrete steps and then down the wooden ones, back and forth. So maybe you can build up to that. Otherwise I usually like to get an extra workout by starting off running along the beach path down from California Avenue and going up West Channel Road, finishing up at the stairs.

Got any other workout alternatives? I’d love to hear ’em.