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Live like a California Girl: Wellness trends from the West Coast

posted on Wednesday, 5th August 2015 | find under Tamara
From the boardwalks of Venice Beach to the hills of Runyon Canyon, wellness and California are synonymous. While designing the AW15 Tomboy collection, Tamara and the Sweaty Betty design team were constantly inspired by the free-spirited Californian girl, becoming fascinated with how and where she spends her time. With juice bars on every corner, new dynamic workouts and some of the biggest fitness personalities in the world, it’s true that a number of wellness trends were born in Los Angeles. As yoga, veganism and juicing have made it into the mainstream, Sweaty Betty digs deeper into the workout and nutrition trends for which we have the West Coast to thank.  

Sweaty Betty California Girl

Agi wears Indaba 7/8 Yoga Leggings and Yama Padded Yoga Bra

West Coast workouts

As much a priority as a business meeting, a California girl is certain to schedule her workout and make it a non-negotiable commitment. Studio classes book up days in advance and top trainers never have a quiet day’s work. Celebrities and fitness enthusiasts look to world-renowned trainers including Sweaty Betty’s LA favourites Tracey Anderson and Simone De La Rue (face of our own upcoming Get Fit 4 Free campaign, more details coming soon!).

A number of popular classes also originated on the West Coast. Coined ‘the world’s hardest workout’, Barry’s Bootcamp was the brainchild of LA-based fitness trainer Barry Jay, who devised the programme to ‘shock the body into burning up to 1,000 calories’. Now a favourite in London and across the US, these sell-out classes attract a devoted global following.

If you’re on your way to a barre-fusion class or aerial yoga, you also have the West Coast to thank. The locals’ favourite places to hang upside down include Crunch Gym on Sunset Boulevard and Believe Fitness in El Sugundo. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Physique 57 combines ballet and cardio and exhale spa's Core Fusion Barre adds yoga in the mix – similarly to the new barreASANA classes at the UK’s prestigious barrecore studios. Wondering what’s coming next? Keep an eye out for dedicated booty-shaping classes that follow suit from LA studios BUTI and Pop Physique. And put hula-hooping on your radar too – Hoopnotica is a huge hit in LA and regulars love its programmes designed to strengthen and sculpt your midsection.

The world is your playground

Year-round sunshine in Los Angeles inspires its residents to spend vast amounts of time outside. With the ocean so close by, it’s no surprise that a typical California girl incorporates water sports, sand sports and beachside running and cycling into her daily routine. It’s also common for friends to swap weekly cocktails for a hike in the Hollywood Hills, taking in the beautiful scenery as they work up a sweat. While London and New York may not enjoy LA’s enviable weather forecast, women around the world are following suit by rejecting indulgent dinners in favour of (indoor) spin or yoga classes. A healthier social life is even beginning to emerge after hours in a number of major cities, with nights out now blending fitness with strobe lights, whistles and DJ’s. Look out for mass workouts in LA concert venues, booze-free London raves and yoga on Manhattan rooftops.

Chow down California style

If you added kale to your smoothie this morning or picked up a cold-pressed juice, chances are you paid subconscious tribute to California. With organic farmers markets, juice bars and Whole Foods ten-a-penny, there is a conscious effort on the West Coast to practice mindful eating. As well as staying healthy at home, LA girls look to dining hot spots like Urth Cafe, Crossroads, Cafe Gratitude and Malibu Farm Cafe for healthy eating inspiration and an array of fresh salads, juices and locally-sourced food.

Growing frustrated by the lack of healthy eating spots in London compared to wellness destinations like LA, Shirin Kooros and Yasmine Larizadeh were inspired to open the capital’s first cold-pressed juice café. Since its opening in 2013, their café The Good Life Eatery is now among one of many London pit stops for those who prefer an almond milk latte or green juice to a more indulgent hot chocolate or milkshake.

“The cult of Sweaty Betty”

With yoga pants having outsold jeans for the first time in the US this year, it is safe to say that the American woman has fully embraced fitness fashion. Matching its laid-back culture, the California look typically includes technical capris, a feminine yoga bra and layers upon layers of relaxed workout vests. And this trademark look is every bit as common at the local coffee bar as it is the nearest fitness studio. In the wake of London’s collective health kick, a range of lithe limbs are now spilling out of their Saturday morning barre class in stylish fitness gear and heading straight to brunch – a movement recently described by Vogue as the ‘cult of Sweaty Betty.’

Get away the active way

For the LA local, it’s not enough to be healthy during the working week. The rise of fitness breaks, detox holidays and yoga retreats comes straight from the shores of California, where favourite vacation activities include surfing in Esalen at Big Sur and restorative yoga weekends in Malibu’s The Ashram. Inspired? Get your own holiday workout fix with the UK’s Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, where the spa destination has teamed up with personal trainer Matt Roberts for short, intensive retreats. For New Yorkers, look to nearby Hudson Valley – home of the famous Escape to Shape detox programme combining juicing, hiking and massages for an LA-style getaway. 

Channel the free spirit and laid back style of the California girl and shop the new LA-inspired Tomboy collection today. From the Latin American influence of the Yoga Statement range to the cool granite greys of the off-duty layers of the Sports Luxe range, there are infinite ways to infuse West Coast character into your workout wardrobe – wherever you are in the world.

Words: Harriet Tisdall
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