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Balboa Park

Photo courtesy Balboa Park
Van Nuys Free

The workout: Start off your routine with a run or walk along the flat trail stretching about two miles around Encino Golf Course (16821 Burbank Blvd). The wide dirt path halfway through has some sweet sights (for the middle of suburbia) of mountains and a stream. As an alternative, you can also bike around the vicinity of the park. When you reach the east end of the walking path, you'll come upon ten mechanical fitness machines in stellar condition, including a rowing machine, seated chest and leg presses and a cardio walker.

The scene: Balboa is a large family-friendly park known for its beautiful lake and serene picnic spots. Yet its ideal workout section is fitness-centered and removed from the lake, avoiding the crowds entirely. People who frequent this area of the park are varied, but decidedly less fazed about trendy workout attire compared to similar LA spots. SFV locals come to take a break from a busy day for their daily jog, not to check out hotties— so come as you are, sweat and flush be damned. Beware of coyotes, who have been known to pop up once in awhile, though typically closer to the brush by the dirt path rather than the street-adjacent circuit training section.

How is the parking? Parking spots are always plentiful and free (it’s the Valley after all). Just drive up Burbank Blvd to the Encino Golf Course entrance and head to the parking lot on your right (east), which will settle you right next to both the circuit training area and east end of the path.

Bonus: The exercise equipment is so new, it hasn’t been discovered by the masses yet— so you’ll rarely need to twiddle your thumbs waiting for your turn. Different machines are also comfortably spread out to allow some sense of privacy. If that’s the last of your worries, some of the equipment is also shareable.

Venue name: Balboa Park
Address: 6300 Balboa Blvd
Los Angeles

Venue phone: 818-756-9743
Website: http://www.laparks.org/dos/playground/facility/balboaUAPk.htm
Opening hours: Sunrise to Sunset
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