California is known as the free-thinking, alternative well-being capital of the world. Health columnist CALGARY AVANSINO gives us the lowdown on how to look and feel good the West Coast way
The Californian obsession with the body beautiful goes deeper than appearance – it is a culture. This is unsurprising when you consider that LA was the birthplace of wheatgrass shots, the first place to implement a smoking ban in public in 1998 (the city conducts regular smog checks for clean air) and is home to the University of California, Berkeley, where the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight management were
discovered, prompting the now cult '5:2 diet', where dieters eat a regular diet for five days then fast for two, eating no more than 600 calories per day.
Personal nutrition and exercise aren't valued as 'me time' in LA – they are necessary and permanent fixtures on the 'to-do' list. To deflect monotony, California girls make the most of the weather – one day it's a mountain bike ride, the next it's a power yoga class. Diversity is the key, which is why West Coast fitness devotees can be relied upon to try out every new health venture.
Most exercise trends that have taken the world by storm emanated from the sunny state. Yoga may have originated in India, but it became a worldwide phenomenon because of the attention it garnered in California. The latest trends to emerge include the now-global Barry's Bootcamp, an extreme class based around interval training (barrysbootcamp.com).
Photograph: Catherine Servel / Trunk Archive