THE CULT OF THE L.A. BODY : What is the Perfect L.A. Body?

"It's sleek, it's lean, it's symmetrical. It's wonderfully functional: well-coordinated, agile and powerful. It has strong feet with well-earned protective calluses from nonstop barefoot outdoor activities. Then, I'll admit I'm a cheek freak: It has great gluts."

--Lynda Huey, Santa Monica private trainer

"The perfect Southern California body is flexible enough to get into as many different positions as possible yet strong enough to extract itself from those positions. The perfect body works in unison with mind and soul and is able to deal with smog."

--Willie Banks, world record holder, triple jump

"From my point of view as a cardiologist, the perfect Southern California body is a nonsmoker, male or female, with a resting pulse rate of 50 to 60 beats per minute, blood pressure of 110/70, and a cholesterol level of less than 200. From my point of view as a 42-year-old tennis player, the perfect body is one which can sustain three intense sets of singles without falling apart. From my point of view as a devoted husband, the perfect body is my wife's."

--Uri Elkayam MD, director of inpatient cardiology, LAC/USC Medical Center; associate professor of medicine, USC School of Medicine

"The size and shape of the perfect male or female Southern California body are irrelevant as long as it radiates power. It can be overweight or dumpy and still be enormously successful with the opposite sex. The brain is without a doubt the most powerful sexual organ."

--Joyce Brothers, psychologist

"As an exercise physiologist I don't think there's a perfect body, but along with my colleagues I use a 'reference' man and woman (developed by Dr. Albert Behnke of San Francisco) to facilitate discussions of caloric expenditures, body-fat composition and other areas. The reference man is 20-24, 68.5" tall and 154 pounds with 23 pounds of fat, 69 pounds of muscle, 23 pounds of bone and 39 pounds of other bodily fluids and tissues. The reference woman is 20-24, 64.5" tall and 125 pounds with 33.8 pounds of fat, 45 pounds of muscle, 15 pounds of bone and 31.2 pounds of other bodily fluids and tissues."

--Allen Smith, clinical exercise physiologist

"The perfect Southern California body is one that doesn't overemphasize specific sizes or proportions but is tuned to be a vehicle for emotional and physical health. It's achieved by proper mental attitude, good nutrition and moderate exercise."

--Mel Bircoll MD, Beverly Hills plastic and reconstructive surgeon

"For a yuppie executive, the perfect Southern California body is a 'wash-and-wear' one. It can grab a hard workout anytime during a break in the business day and then jump back into its custom-fitted suit, hop into the executive easy chair and instantly be ready to close another big deal. In the office, the wash-and-wear body never has wet hair or an inappropriate red face that looks like it just came from the gym, and it allows the busy person to maximize personal health while earning large sums of money."

--Augie Nieto, president, Life Fitness, Inc., Irvine

"There isn't a perfect Southern California body. And you don't have to be as thin as Twiggy to have a good body. Decide what you want out of your body, and just forget the idea of having a perfect one."

--Sandy Shaw, co-author, "Life Extension"

"The perfect Southern California body is one in which the owner/operator has a good handle on how to run it properly. He or she knows what to put in to keep it functioning properly and to protect it from some bad things that will inevitably get to it."

--Durk Pearson, co-author, "Life Extension"

"Since I'm 6', the perfect female Southern California body is 5'7", with long, light brown hair and blue eyes, petite but not breakable, tan but not leathery. She enjoys fine food and fine wine and dresses fun--in jeans and T-shirts, not business suits. And being athletic is a plus."

--Mike Cruickshank, Dana Point, 1986 Professional Surfing Assn. of America champion

"Equally as important as body shape are body movement and body English. Those characteristics can definitely project a personality and create sex appeal and a presence."

--George Linder, producer, "The Running Man"

"The perfect Southern California body has dark blue eyes and ash blond hair. It's not too slim or too muscular, not too tall or too short, but most importantly, has a sense of humor and intelligence. That has to come with the body . . . . A body without a brain is nothing. To make it a little more LA-ized, the perfect body must be tanned, of course, darling. It sounds so good, I'll take a dozen of the men I just described."

--Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress

"The perfect Southern California body has the strong, sleek, anatomical lines of a masterful sculpture, has a harmonious balance between strength and flexibility, has a heart that pulsates blood with vitality and synchronization, and has the mental fortitude to endure life's daily stresses."

--Kurt Hobbs, exercise physiologist

"From a designer's point of view, the perfect female Southern California body is tall, lithe, slim, casual, healthy, and has good legs."

--Galanos, L.A.-based fashion designer to Nancy Reagan, others

"From a dancer's point of view, the perfect Southern California body is well-proportioned and naturally developed--not by weightlifting but by dancing. It's lean but not skinny. It has fresh skin because of constant circulation and perspiration."

--Shirley Kirkes, West Los Angeles choreographer ("Family Ties," "Three Amigos," "Overboard"), dance teacher

"The perfect Southern California body is the Joffrey's Southern California-born ballerina, Leslie Carothers, dancing my ballet 'Light Rain.' She is a cool comet with a long, lean line that stretches to infinity."

--Gerald Arpino, associate director and principal choreographer, the Joffrey Ballet

"The perfect Southern California body is a healthy body, and a healthy body is one without a tan. The skin only tans in response to injury, and unfortunately, the skin never forgets the insults of the sun or tanning machines."

--Arnold William Klein MD, Beverly Hills dermatologist ; assistant clinical professor, UCLA; assistant professor, Stanford University

"The perfect Southern California body gets out of the car and exercises, does yoga and meditation, has that tanned and healthy look that gets around town, looks as great on the beach in Malibu as on the dance floor at Helena's and teases the hair perfectly."

--Lainie Kazan, singer-actress

"The perfect body is one with a cholesterol level below 160 mg/dl, blood pressure below 120/80, blood sugar less than 120 mg/dl, body fat below 15% for men and below 24% for women and a high fitness level. Persons who achieve these measures can avoid ill health and maximize physical and mental performance."

--Monroe Rosenthal MD, medical director of Pritikin Programs Inc., Santa Monica

"The perfect Southern California body has a unique spirit that welcomes challenges in every arena--physical, intellectual and spiritual. It's equally adept at running a business or running a marathon."

--Kathy Smith, fitness specialist, creator of "Winning Workout"

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