Welcome to L.A., fitness capital of the galaxy, where the down-to-earth and the out-there meet

His feet sinking into the wet sand of Santa Monica beach, fitness entrepreneur Johnny G points a six-foot wooden stick skyward and closes his eyes. “I am reaching for the stars to erase negativity on the planet and in ourselves,” he intones. Then he proceeds to run with the stick, do squats and “cosmic jumps,” balance it on his hand and whip it around, finishing off with several deep breaths. This is JoSand, his new, Asian-influenced “millennium” workout. (A jo is a wooden stick that swordless peasants once used as a weapon in Japan.) Johnny G. who also invented Spinning, plans to make JoSand into an exercise class in hopes of creating the next big workout with a Zen twist. Students “sand” the stick as a way to cultivate “the awareness between nature and participants,” says G. “A Spinning bike can be anybody’s. A stick is your own.”

Los Angeles breeds fitness trends almost as quickly as it churns out non-working actresses, but will JoSand play in Peoria? How about crystal lifting, for that matter? Bianca Jagger and Robert Downey Jr. are among the Hollywood types who can be spotted working out with clear-quartz crystals shaped like dumbbells. Called “smartbells” by L.A.-based personal trainer Melanie Braude. The crystals, she says, “exude positive energy” and “enhance feelings of joy.”

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Angelenos with a low New Age threshold are rediscovering classic sports, such as roller skating, skateboarding and longboarding–the original “soul” sport. Teens, grandmothers and everyone in between are lining up at Malibu’s premier surf break, First Point, to go longboarding on superstable 10-foot surfboards, strengthening their shoulders and backs in the process. And more women are finding skateboarding fun, aerobic and a whole lot cooler than calisthenics. San Diego-based Flexdex, a top skateboard maker, expects sales of its three women’s models to reach a half million this year. Even roller skating is staging a comeback, but hold the Linda Blair jokes. “It’s a great butt workout,” says personal trainer Tia Matza. You have to exert more force to get rolling. We can see it now: the hokeypokey workout, in gyms nationwide.


SAVE YOUR SPOT Popular national parks book up early, so now’s the time to reserve a campsite. Find the National Park Reservation Service at www.nps.com. Can’t get into Yellowstone? Buy it instead with National Parks Edition Monopoly ($35). To order, call 888-656-7306, some proceeds benefit the National Parks Foundation.

SUPPORT THE WNBA Now 12 teams strong, the league tips off June 10. Watch the new Orlando Miracle host the defending champs, the Houston Comets, on Lifetime. For the full schedule, visit www.wnba.com.

THINK TENNIS Is your racquet tired? If you play twice a week, it should be restrung twice a year. To get inspired, watch Wimbledon June 21 through July 4 on HBO and NBC. (Go, Steffi!)

REMEMBER FLO-JO Pick up a copy of Running for Dummies ($20), which the track star cowrote before her death. This year, one dollar from each book sold will go to the Flo-Jo Memorial Community Empowerment Foundation.

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