By Elizabeth Brion

Summer's in full swing, and the thoughts of many fitness-minded people turn to working out on the beach. Sure, you could do dune sprints or that walking-backwards-in-the-sand thing—or you could hit Southern California's Muscle Beach and enjoy many of the amenities your gym has, except outside in the summer sun. Some consider Muscle Beach the birthplace of the fitness industry. Let's see how much you know about this legendary shrine to rippedness.
  1. False: Muscle Beach has been a landmark on Venice Beach since the 1930s. The original Muscle Beach was opened in Santa Monica in 1934 as a WPA project, but the scene got to be a little out of control and local vendors were not pleased by all the free entertainment competing with their for-profit wares. The city closed it down in 1959, at which point the bodybuilding scene relocated to Venice, where apparently vendors are more chill. The Venice location was renovated rather lavishly in 1990 and now has a giant concrete dumbbell on the roof and bleachers to hold observers, along with extensive weight lifting facilities.
  2. False: The original Muscle Beach is now a parking lot. That was the intention, but it escaped that fate long enough for people to become nostalgic for it, and in 1989 it was rededicated as the original Muscle Beach. Today, it's a more family-friendly attraction, featuring plentiful gymnastics training equipment and a jungle gym for the smaller kids to work out on.
  3. True: Muscle Beach has been much loved by Hollywood celebrities as well as fitness legends. You'll hear of Muscle Beach in conjunction with people like Jack LaLanne, Steve Reeves, Vic Tanny, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it was also a popular hangout for movie stars, including Clark Gable, Kirk Douglas, Jayne Mansfield, and Mae West. (I like to think that it was when Mae turned up that the scene got too steamy for the locals, but of course, I totally just made that up.) While it doesn't have the same pull for today's Hollywood A-list (and considering their recent behavior, I think we're all glad for that), you can still spot famous bodybuilders—and even the occasional Beachbody icon!
  4. True: Hulk Hogan once worked out there on an episode of Baywatch. I realize this is not the most useful fact to have in your mental library, but like many other people who went to high school in the 1980s, I can't pass up the opportunity to reference Hulk Hogan and Baywatch in one sentence. Because we love them both. Ironically or something. It's hard to tell the difference sometimes.