Realizing the challenges of balancing family, career, and health, Brien Shamp decided to help mothers reduce stress and boost self-confidence via exercise. Pulling from his years of industry experience and fitness certifications, Brien spearheaded the boot-camp fitness program that has been lauded on Best of the Bay. He works with trainers at multiple gyms to lead women and other fitness-seekers through creative, constantly varied workouts. In addition to classes, Brien provides his clients with comprehensive nutritional advice while warning them of common diet mistakes, such as eating snacks with too much sugar or the realistic-looking plastic scones in their child's tea set.
Prajna Yoga & Healing Arts founder Yiwen's goal was to create an inclusive environment where students could find holistic balance in their lives through physical activity and meditative practice. To realize this goal, the studio's instructors teach an eclectic assortment of yoga styles that accommodate students of all skill levels. Meditative but strong and athletic sessions test students’ physicality with dynamically flowing sequences of hard-to-hold poses that aim to bolster stamina. Perfect for students with limited mobility or recovering from an injury, restorative-yoga classes emphasize deep, mindful stretching and can incorporate props such as blocks, straps, or bunches of helium balloons to help students safely hold postures. Combining the salutary effects of rhythmic yoga poses, the studio's Prajna Vinyasa flow yoga sessions accompany a class focused on centering stretches with a unique style of sequencing, improving strength and flexibility.
When creating Affinity Badminton Club, the owners studied courts from around the world to develop playing conditions specially optimized for badminton. The results can be seen and felt on Affinity's seven custom-built courts made from four layers of material designed to create ideal traction for running and jumping. The 30-foot ceilings are painted black to improve overhead visibility and light fixtures are placed so they don't blind players or set fire to airborne shuttlecocks. In addition to drop-in play sessions, Affinity hosts group lessons for beginners and private one-on-one lessons for players of all ages and skill levels.
The Little Gym of Belmont ensconces children in a nurturing, noncompetitive environment conducive to building kid confidence with fitness-focused activities. Youngsters can participate in a jellybean jar of professionally developed classes (a $19.75 value per class) such as gymnastics, dance, karate, and sports skills. Each session is geared toward improving the attention spans, mind and body balance, and motor skills of babbling tots ranging from 10-month-olds to middle-school sages of 12 years. Classes last 45–60 minutes, lavishing small fries in movement, music, learning, and laughter, leaving little darlings with no time to bite the instructor's ankles or write a scathing opinion letter to the New York Times about child ennui. Check out the schedule for a full listing of class times.
CrossFit's motivating, skilled instructors will push exercisers of every level to their full potential. Each day, they throw down a fresh guerilla-ambush worth of challenges for your muscles and your brain, fueling constant gains and keeping you engaged. Over the course of the one-hour session, you'll run, jump, lift weights, slam out push-ups and chin-ups, chase chickens, punch slabs of beef, and end with a live crocodile wrestle. In the heat of your workout, you'll sweat out weakness, fear, and monosodium glutamate, while beginning to gain the functional, unsurpassed strength of a body in fluid, powerful motion. Although there's an atmosphere of combat readiness, CrossFit instructors vary the weight loads and number of reps so that everyone—from students to firefighters to grandmothers—participates.
When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
Jeff Smith, a college swim coach and swim-club aquatics director, and Joan Smith, an NCAA all-American swimmer and triathlete, joined forces to open a swim academy that teaches youngsters how to swim safely while having fun. The pair operates two facilities, each with its own heated pool staffed by instructors who have all graduated from King's Swim Academy's training program. Their program begins with Parent and Me classes for kids as young as 6 months old, which introduce children to the water and teach basic skills such as kicking and changing their own diaper underwater. As students progress through the levels, they eventually learn skills such as freestyle swimming, backstroke, flip turns, and survival swimming. Instructors also lead a swim-technique and fitness class that prepares swimmers for swim team while promoting a healthy lifestyle and honing stroke skills.