Personal Trainers Pitching A Fit About Santa Monica Fitness Fees - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Tony McEwing

Personal Trainers Pitching A Fit About Santa Monica Fitness Fees

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Flickr: Roebot Flickr: Roebot

The Santa Monica City Council may have just scored a knockout blow against personal trainers in the picturesque seaside town who use public property to train their clients. The council voted five to one to impose huge fees on the flood of fitness instructors who pour into the city's parks every day. Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by those whose job it is to keep their clients in tip-top shape, the council laid down the law, conditionally approving fees ranging from several hundred dollars a year up to a staggering $8,100! This is on top of what trainers pay for business licenses and other expenses.

The ordinance comes after months of complaints from numerous residents that yoga, cardio and other fitness classes are so prominent and prevalent that they prevent ordinary folks who go to the parks to picnic, walk their dogs or exercise on their own from being able to enjoy themselves. And critics say barbells, treadmills and other heavy equipment carted to and from the parks damage the landscaping. To quote one park user: "It's starting to look like a 24 Hour Fitness gym out there."

The fees are based on the size of the fitness classes as well as the location. For instance, annual permits for one-on-one training will cost the least. Classes with eleven or more people will cost the most. Most of the complaints have come from residents who use Santa Monica's signature Palisades Park. Exercise classes at that park will now be banned on Sundays. And trainers will be restricted to four designated fitness zones. Also those with larger classes will be charged top dollar to train their clients.

While the hefty fees may not keep all trainers from plying their trade in the city's parks, it will very likely discourage many if not most of them. A city sponsored study concluded that the average trainer in Santa Monica makes about $40,000 a year. Those who make much less could find themselves shelling out 20 percent or more of their annual revenue on usage fees.

The law is not set in stone just yet. It requires a second reading before it becomes official. And the city council is going to revisit the ordinance in a year to see how things are "working out." However, I think it's safe to say, once the fees are in place, you'll see a lot fewer people "working out" with trainers at most Santa Monica parks.

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