You might think of the gym as a modern invention, with its metal equipment both shiny and matte, hi-tech performance fabrics and electronic machines whirring away—but you’d only be half right. Indeed, the modern gym has its roots on the beaches of Southern California, where GIs returning from World War II congregated for group exercise en plein air. Through sun-kissed fitness sessions, they sought camaraderie, sex appeal and an escape from the humdrum existences of their parents and grandparents, says Eric Chaline, author of The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym, on the phone from his home in London. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Interiors Issue 46 Cult Rooms Alberto Rosselli’s Mobile House presaged “vanlife” half a century ago. Interiors Issue Forty-Six Interiors Special: Make space for what matters most. Interiors Issue 46 Bush Modernism Rebuilding the legacy of desert architect Alistair Knox. Interiors Issue 46 Heritage Craft A colorful guesthouse decorated by the artists of Gorée Island. Interiors Issue 46 Rural Splendor A farmhouse turned studio bordering a rugged moor. Interiors Issue 46 California Cool A mid-century post-and-beam house that blends with the nature around it.