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.
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.
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.
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.
Equipment: Equipment as used in Tough Mudder and Spartan races
Students should bring: Water, towel, and proper athletic attire and shoes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Avoid eating a large meal 30 minutes before class
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
The key to this program is fun and not doing traditional workout routines. We get kids to move through the process of overcoming obstacles similar to that seen in Tough Mudder and Spartan races. We have a ramp like Ninja Warrior and Tough Mudder. We mix up the workouts daily so they will never get bored.
What is the biggest mistake you see people make when trying to get fit on their own?
They lack structure and purpose. They tend to do what they enjoy and what they are good at rather than what they need. Males in the weight room and females that do yoga and pilates. This should be switched.
When and how did you first develop a passion for fitness?
[I was] always injured as a kid. [I] started physical therapy at 12 and never knew what I was doing. Tried to do it on my own. My business partner Mike has always been an active. He always gravitated to sports without a team focus- archery, cross country, [and] water sports [such as] wakeboarding [and] waterskiing.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We created this unique program for the kids that are not part of an organized team so they will see and feel the benefits of movement that those who are active get. Exercise and movement will help all other areas of life improve.
Malina Fitness combines the amenities of a large gym with the accessibility and welcoming vibe of a neighborhood fitness studio. Both beginning exercisers and seasoned athletes can feel at home here, and all guests can seek help from the studio's trained staff. From cardio and weight-training equipment to personal training, there are plenty of options to meet fitness goals. The studio also includes spacious rooms for yoga, Pilates, and other group fitness classes.