Barbells and Bikinis - Los Angeles Recap!
Hi guys! Longgg time no see! Since re-doing my website, I have sadly lost all of my old blog posts. Fortunately however, I am back and kicking off the new blog with a recap of my latest trip to sunny California. I frequent LA for business and vacation and am going to share with you my favorite spots to stay, workout, eat healthy, and shop!
This passed LA trip I stayed in a great Airbnb in West Hollywood, one of the most popular neighbourhoods. I'm a huge fan of Airbnb as it's safe, reliable, affordable, and super flexible. Aside from my Airbnb I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time at the stunning SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills *drools*. The hotel had a beautiful rooftop pool, cozy rooms, delicious food, and an amazing gym! (so. many. photo. ops)
I also checked out the W Hollywood for brunch, which I loved. Really good food and super cute vibe. Not as fancy as the SLS but still really nice and comfortable. It had a smaller pool area but more low key and quieter than the SLS pool which had a loud DJ and more of a party vibe. Both super fun but pretty different. SLS was more of a fun party vibe whereas The W was a calmer more relaxed vibe.
As for gyms: if you follow my Instagram you know how much I adore Barbell Brigade. The facility is the perfect size, has everything you need for powerlifting and olympic weightlifting, it's bright and has an open garage door, is always playing pump up rap music and last but not least has an awesome community of lifters and just great people in general (shoutout to my boy Nadeem @nadeemhamidy). I shot a workout video at Barbell Brigade with the beautiful Gabriela Bandy (@gabrielabandy if you don't follow her already, go follow trust me) that will be coming to YouTube very shortly so stay tuned!
I also visited the iconic Gold's Gym Venice beach, which was actually quite underwhelming. It is very old, the equipment is pretty run down, the change rooms are not nice and it has a strange layout.
The muscle beach gym was honestly more entertaining and just as cool as that Gold's location.
Let's be real I only went to Gold's Gym the mecca for the turquoise wall but shhhh. (Jk I obviously needed to workout at the mecca at least once in my lifetime, no regrets).
The last gym I went to was the Hollywood Gold's location, which was actually really great! They have all the classic bodybuilding equipment and it's new and clean. They even had a "functional fitness" CrossFit style area with turf, power racks, kettle bells, battle ropes etc. Not to mention they had a little cafe area in the front of the gym with smoothies and other food that had all the nutritional and macro information on it, Score!
My only gym disappointment of this trip is that I didn't get a chance to visit my friend Josh's (@joshyg27) gym, CrossFit Paradiso in Venice. I have seen and heard great things from that gym and will definitely be lifting there the next time I visit LA!
Enough gym talk Isabel....onto my second biggest addiction, FOOD! Finding healthy eats on vacation is always challenging, especially if you're at a hotel. I did eat at the SLS and just totally went off the macro tracking and really indulged in some truffle grilled cheese and all sorts of other delicious things like cocktails topped with cotton candy! (I don't event drink lol just got it for the candy hehe).
As for healthy eating though, I try to check out a grocery store right when I get into a new city and grab some healthy staples for breakfast and snacks so that I have more freedom with my lunches and dinners to eat at restaurants and still try to track my macros fairly accurately. Taking a diet break is great while on vacation but there is no benefit in completely falling off the wagon.
Whole foods is my go to especially with the salad bar. I often pick up things like yogurt, protein bars, beef jerky, fruit and veggies etc. Funny story this time though..The first thing I did when I landed in LA was make my ritualistic was to the Whole Foods salad bar of course. However, while eating my first real meal all day, I noticed something weird in my salad. Turns out it was a WORM. Yes you read correctly, a freakin' worm!!! It was actually cooked into the food which was the worst part, it was covered in sauce and everything. I don't know what freaked me out more, the fact that I could have eaten a worm or the fact that I then went back to the same salad bar and got more food because I'm SAVAGE when I'm hangry lmao. Nonetheless, I brought it to customer service, they refunded me and took replaced the food trays at the salad bar, so I still love Whole Foods and I guess worms are protein..
Besides Whole Foods, here are some other staple spots (cafes) in LA that I like with healthier/macro friendly options.
1. Urth Cafe https://urthcaffe.com
2. Blu Jam Cafe (best blueberry jam ever) https://www.blujamcafe.com
3. BulletProof Coffee (MCT oil "butter" coffee) https://www.blujamcafe.com
4. Cafe Gratitude http://cafegratitude.com
5. Sweetgreen http://www.sweetgreen.com
Last but not least, shopping wise, I love the vintage stores on Melrose Ave. American Vintage is a favorite.
I also got some stealllllssss at Saks Off 5th like this Kendall & Kylie denim jumpsuit, Gucci sunglasses, and Kenneth Cole suede sandals.
Thats all folks! I'll be back with my regular health and fitness blogging from now on and hopefully dig up my old blogs to repost on here. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have specific topics that you'd like me to write about!
Lots of love,