Train Like an Olympic Athlete in Los Angeles

The excitement is brewing for the Olympics, which open August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Watching the 2016 Olympians from 207 nations compete in 28 sports is both exciting and inspiring. Although many of us will not be Olympians, we are inspired to be more active, to train like an Olympian. Los Angeles is a city with energetic citizens, so we're lucky to have opportunities to train just like an Olympic athlete. Here are five facilities and trails in which to train.

Culver City Municipal Plunge for Olympic Swimming
Opened in 1949, the Culver City Municipal Plunge has long been a favorite for serious swimmers. This public Olympic size 50-meter x 25-yard competition pool has eight-lanes for competition or can be set up as a 19-lane short course venue. Operated by the City of Culver City's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, the Plunge operates mostly as a lap pool for all ages, but does have a few hours a day, currently 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., where it serves as a recreational pool. For divers, the pool also has one-meter and three-meter diving springboards.

Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail for Cyclists
In the Los Angeles area, it's a challenge to find cycling routes that don't share the road with automobiles. But head for the beach and find the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail. This 22-mile, paved biking path begins at the Will Rogers State Beach. Cycling along the Pacific Ocean bikers will ride south through Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Dockweiler State Beach, El Porto Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and end at the base of the Palos Verdes Peninsula hills. One note though, at some of these beach communities cyclists will encounter pedestrians.

Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach for Beach Volleyball
It's no coincidence that California gals Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor trained on the sands between Manhattan and Hermosa Beach and are considered the all-time best women's beach volleyball players; they won gold medals in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic games. Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and all the beaches along the southern California coast are prime areas for beach volleyball. With many open nets set up along the coastline and meet-ups and clinics throughout the year, beach volleyball is part of southern California's psyche.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook for Off-Ring Boxing Training
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is a multi-purpose park area that is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. This 512-foot hill with its winding looping trail offers hiking and great views of the city. But it is its steep, irregular step, stone staircase that gives athletes their exhausting workout. On any day, one can witness out-of-the-ring training with boxers in their weighted belts and vests running up these stairs and along the trails. At the top you might even see a bout of shadow boxing. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is a great outdoor training area for all.

Skyzone Trampoline Park for Trampoline Training
Many of us during our school years played around bouncing on a trampoline. But when the world witnessed the entrance of the sport of Trampoline in the 2000 Olympics and watched gymnasts perform amazing acrobatic maneuvers, we were in awe. Since then trampoline centers have popped up for exercise and fun. One of the biggest is the Sky Zone Trampoline Park that boasts being the world's first indoor trampoline park. With eleven locations in California, including Torrance/Gardena, Van Nuys and soon Glendale, these trampoline centers offer a variety of activities for training and fun. Trampoline dodge ball, anyone?

Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, the arts and travel. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, TV, and arts organizations.

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