Being a resident of Los Angeles means that we’ve all at some point been bombarded with images of tight butts, chiseled abs and otherwise lean limbs. I was never what you’d call a “fat kid.” I was actually always a bit on the petite side. But I’ve had two problem areas my entire life: big thighs and an even bigger butt.

Sure, the Kim Kardashian look is all the rage now, but not when you’re a kid just trying to fit in and wear the latest jeans and fitted clothing. As a result, I had to learn how to keep my figure slender without succumbing to poor dietary habits.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve stopped with the fad diets (no more low-fat snacks for me, thanks) and I’ve gotten mobile. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine suggested that I could maintain a healthy physique with the assistance of a personal trainer.

So after an exhaustive search, I found a couple that I thought would be a good fit. Boy, was I wrong. It dawned on me after being screamed up and down Runyon Canyon that I was more of the “go it alone” type. Any bodywork that I’d be doing would be of the “solo variety.”

There began my search for the perfect workout regimen. It would have to be fun and functional – something that would burn a ton of calories and really work up a sweat, but wouldn’t feel like exercise. I sat down and made a list of all the physical activities that I used to love doing as a child and based my decisions on those choices.

In elementary school, I was enrolled in swim classes. I took lessons at a local gym. I always loved the water and the fun of splashing around. So I went online and found a number of excellent facilities in Los Angeles that offer classes for a very low cost.

One of the best is Olympic swimmer Lenny Krayzelberg’s Swim Academy (Westside JCC, 5870 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; Classes are small – usually under 10 people to a group and the cost is relatively low (call for updates).

Looking for a freebie? Then check out Southern California Aquatics ( This organization’s Swimming 101 course is free. That’s right – FREE.

Another sport that I’ve always had a fondness for is fencing. We had a fencing team at my high school and it always looked like loads of fun, but I was a drama geek back in the day, so I never bothered. But with films like I Love You, Man and the Olympics showcasing the nail-biting tension of the sport, it’s hard not to fall in love.

Los Angeles has a number of great facilities and instructors to get you acclimated to your épée. My favorite is the Los Angeles International Fencing Club (11755 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles; They offer lessons at an extremely low cost ($30 for a single lesson or $280 for a pack of 10). It’s inexpensive to join: $15 gets you a day pass and the chance to check out the most riveting (and legal) action you’ll ever be able to have with a sword in public.

Perhaps one of the more electrifying ways to shed the pounds is through the majesty of dance. A lot of people don’t realize the wonderful benefits you derive from shaking your booty. Your core gets strengthened, your limbs get looser and you won’t look like such a doofus the next time you’re at Area.

Need a great place to learn how to do it up in style? Well, there are hip-hop dance classes with Lisa Kellogg ( There isn’t a better total body workout on this planet than the cardio and endurance training you’ll get after a course with this Los Angeles-area veteran dancer.

Finally, if you’ve always longed to work your upper body but feel that weightlifting is a little too guido for you, then, archery might be a better option. A bow and arrow take massive skill to maneuver.

A $45 membership will gain any individual access to Pasadena Roving Archers’ (415 S. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; many events. You might even get good enough to make the Olympic team some day.