The spot where Crunch Gym sits is an historic one. 8000 Sunset Blvd was the address of the legendary Schwab's Drug Store, where rumor had it (incorrectly) that actress Lana Turner was discovered while sitting at the counter there, drinking a milk shake. Schwab's was mentioned in the movie "Sunset Blvd", and author F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack there.
When Schwab's was torn down to make way for the shopping center that is there today, the center's main attraction was supposed to be the giant Virgin Megastore, the first Virgin Megastore in the U.S., a 30,000-square-foot entertainment center that wowed 'em in 1992 with 100,000 audio titles, a full-time disc jockey, 75 listening stations, and a cafe serving cappuccino. Belinda Carlisle helped kick off the Grand Opening, and Virgin features occasional live concerts by rock stars like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Moby and Morrissey. It's still a cool spot on the block. The same center houses the Laemmle Sunset 5 movie theatres and a Wolfgang Puck cafe.
But in 1997, Crunch gym quietly opened, up on the second floor of the complex. And in no time at all, it became a celebrity Mecca in its own right. We are talking lots of celebs, major ones.
So, what Hollywood stars have worked out at Crunch?
Will Smith (who trained there for his turn as Muhammad Ali), Jennifer Aniston (who liked the striptease class), Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rene Zellweger, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Tobey Maguire, Eminem, Neve Campbell, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, David Schwimmer, Ben Stiller, Ben Affleck, Queen Latifah, Jessica Simpson, Heath Ledger, Calista Flockhart, Anna Nicole Smith, Carmen Electra, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Geena Davis, Fabio, Jerry O'Connell, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeff Goldblum, Fred Durst, David Hasselhoff, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Craig Kilborn, Robbie Williams, Portia de Rossi and Alyssa Milano, among others...
Why? Well, it's location, in the heart of Hollywood, doesn't hurt.
But mainly it's because Crunch takes some of the drudgery out of gym work. Stars have to stay in shape, and Crunch tries hard to inject a little fun and creativity into their workout sessions. While body-builders like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno might not mind spending long hours in gritty gyms pumping iron, the average Hollywood celeb is looking for something more entertaining to do while they work on that perfect body.
Where else can you take a fitness class that stresses the art of "Cardio Striptease"? How about "Circus Sports" (which includes workouts on a trampeze, rings & tumbling)? Or "Dodgeball"? Or Thai kick-boxing? Or "Videography" - done music-video-style to hip-hop, Latin and jazz?
If you like, you can try something a bit more traditional, like Pilates, step, spinning, or... "Kama Sutra Yoga"? And don't forget the exercise bikes with Internet access...
In addition to its many classes and personal training sessions, Crunch offers a sauna, steam room, massage tables, a boxing ring... even a juice bar. Then there's the expected free weights, weight machines, treadmills, cross trainers, etc. And it's all wrapped up in a modern, hip, clean environment loaded with good looking young customers.
(FYI, Crunch was also the gym seen in the 1998 movie "A Night at the Roxbury", with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan...)
And there's a spillover effect at the center. Stars who work out at Crunch often end up having a meal at Wolfgang Pucks or the Griddle Café, or seeing a movie at the cineplex, or shopping at Virgin. So even if you don't go to the gym, you have a decent chance of spotting someone elsewhere at the center. Hell, even the long elevator (that heads from the ground floor up to Crunch) is great for spotting celebs. (And it lets the Crunchers show off the results of their efforts on the way down.)
Crunch is open from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Monthly membership is relatively high: as of 2005, it was around $80. Personal training sessions are about $90.
Getting there: Crush gym is located on the upper floor at the Virgin Megastore center, on the south side of Sunset Blvd., at 8000 Sunset, just two blocks west of Fairfax. From Hollywood & Highland, go south on Highland two blocks to Sunset, make a right (west) on Sunset, and go a mile and a half west on Sunset to the corner of N. Laurel Canyon Ave. Crunch will be on your left (south) side. Paid parking is available in a parking garage beneath the center.
[For more information on this
subject, you can access Crunch's official website at: http://www.crunch.com.]
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