Physical fitness is a way of life on the beautiful beachfront oasis of Santa Monica. From sunrise to sunset, there's huffing and puffing in the city's parks as trainers put their students through the paces of every form of exercise imaginable.
All along the 420 acres of greenery paralleling the Pacific Ocean are groups of a dozen or more people furiously pumping iron, doing sit-ups, stepping on and off little benches and stretching on mats. Some flex their muscles with weight machines tied by big rubber bands to pretty much anything that's anchored to the ground.
"It's starting to look like a 24-Hour Fitness gym out there," complained Johnny Gray, an assistant track coach at UCLA and former Olympic runner who says he's often forced to navigate around weight machines, barbells and other exercise impediments as he runs.
In recent years, fitness classes have become as ubiquitous in Santa Monica's signature Palisades Park as dog walkers and senior citizens playing shuffleboard
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