TravelFIT: Stretching in Santa Monica

By Melanie Nayer

Walking long distances was never a problem for me. I am a city girl and I rely on my feet to take me where I need to be. Whether I’m running through airports or sprinting across big cities to make last-minute meetings, I’m constantly burning calories.

Day one of the TravelFIT Challenge had so far been successful:

Bike – approximately 20 miles

Walk – approximately 7 miles

I felt good, and was ready for a glass of wine and good meal. I retired my tennis shoes to the hotel and put on a pair of wedge sandals for an evening dinner at Fraiche (pronounced “Fresh”), one of downtown Santa Monica’s hippest restaurants. My calves felt tight in my wedge heels, which I chalked up to plenty of exercise that day. While I could have used a good stretch, I also didn’t mind how my legs looked after a day in the New Balance shoes. My calves were tight and there was already a slight definition on my outer thighs. I came home after dinner and crawled into a whirlpool bath, one of the best in-room amenities at the Casa del Mar.

Note to single women travelers: Nothing says pampering quite like a whirlpool bath, a glass of wine and re-runs of “Will & Grace” on the TV in the bathroom. Indulge!

The next morning, however, was an entirely other feeling.

I woke up with plenty of time to make my 8 a.m. Santa Monica power yoga class. Clad in my yoga clothes and wearing my truebalance 850s, I was ready to take on another day of exercise.

The Yoga Company is located at 1408 3rd Street, along the Third Street Promenade. It’s premise is that everyone should be able to afford a little mind-body balance, so all the classes are on a donation basis. The spot was supreme – a huge room with plenty of space to stretch and strike your best yoga pose. Upon entering the studio, you quickly forget you’re right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Promenade. I grabbed my mat, a towel and found a cozy spot near the far corner of the room by a window. The teacher was a substitute for this class, but within seconds she quickly went from substitute to savior.

Inside the Yoga Co.

After five minutes of welcome breathing and centering our minds and breath, we entered downward dog (or, that was the goal). Having been a yogi for years this pose is second nature to me, but today something different happened. I attempted downward dog and was, quite literally, stuck. I had forgotten to stretch yesterday when I got back from biking and walking, and my legs were tied in knots. I could barely keep myself in this beginner yoga position without whimpering slightly. When the instructor came over to ask if this was my first ever yoga class, I responded, mortified, “No, I biked 20 miles yesterday and forgot to stretch.”

Rule 1 with the New Balance truebalance 850s: Always stretch after a day in these shoes! You don’t feel like you’re getting a heavy workout because you’re essentially in tennis shoes, and these toners are so light they feel like clouds, but the reality is that they provide one hell of a workout! Your limbs will thank you for 15 minutes of stretching at the end of the day.

My substitute savior helped me stretch through the poses until my leg muscles finally limbered up so I could complete the hour-long class.

Lesson learned: Always stretch after a day in these shoes!

Want to be part of the TravelFIT challenge and try for a chance to win your own pair of New Balance truebalance 850 and a travel gift bag from Passport Boutique? Click here for more info.

Stay up to date with the TravelFIT Challenge:
TravelFIT Challenge: What Drives Your Travel & Fitness Passion?
Week 1: TravelFIT: Santa Monica
Week 2: TravelFIT: What Happens When You Don’t Stretch
Week 3: TravelFIT: Berry Picking in Boston