Sedusa Studios' women-only studios sport expansive dance spaces with a dozen 20-foot dance poles and a troupe of highly experienced instructors. Step lively in a 60-minute muscle-toning Introductory Sensual Dance and Pole Dance class, which demonstrates basic moves, positions, and firefighter lingo to spark dancer/pole camaraderie. The Video Vixen Dance Workout class helps students build strength by teaching choreography inspired by the moves in current music videos. Booty-pop like the stars during the one-hour class while whittling thighs, abs, and glutes down into a seductively statuesque form. Additionally, The Pussycat Workout Dance class aims to shape up clients with previous pole experience, as they tone and learn new moves.
Both classes, guided by experienced female teachers, combine fitness and flirty dancing in a comfortable, nonjudgmental atmosphere, lending ladies the knowledge and know-how to tempt a partner, enjoy a night at the club, or spice up an upcoming PowerPoint presentation. Check the schedule for class times; more may be added based on demand.
Founded by competitive bodybuilder Jim Wilson in 1992, Physique Magnifique quickly outgrew its humble beginnings as a personal-training outfit stationed in a one-car garage. The gym’s talented trainers and instructors now spur bodies into action inside a fully equipped 6,000-square-foot space during one-on-one training sessions and group classes. Suited for all ages and ability levels, Physique Magnifique’s classes range from children’s judo to Olympic-style weightlifting coached by Jim Schmitz, thrice the coach for the U.S. Olympic team and one-time personal trainer to the Brawny Man.
After one look at the pristine pools packed with toys, and it’s no surprise why La Petite Baleen’s four San Francisco-area swim facilities are so popular with kids. What may be surprising however, is that the flourishing network of schools started humbly in the backyard pool of John Kolbisen and Irene Madrid.
In 1979, the public school teachers were brainstorming ways to integrate their passion for educating kids with their love of the water. Starting with their own three children, some neighborhood kids, and one cleverly disguised frog, John and Irene began teaching swim lessons with a rather progressive philosophy: They approached swimming not just as an extracurricular activity, but as a means to boost self-confidence, build friendships, and learn to overcome fears.
More than 30 years later, La Petite Baleen has become a renowned family of schools, partnered with the U.S. Swim School Association and the Swim for Life Foundation. Part of the success has to do with how children are grouped. In weekly sessions, pods of tots of similar age, skill level, and personality evolve at a similar pace—earning individual achievement ribbons as they do. Kids make friends in the group, and the recurring scheduling means that they can stay enrolled with their new buddies indefinitely or until they grow their own dorsal fins. Each location’s indoor pools are kept at an inviting 90 degrees, in an attempt to make even the most timid student to feel comfortable in the water. Perhaps most importantly, the teachers participate in ongoing training designed to encourage empathetic, yet firm teaching methods.
The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
As a surfer and cyclist, Marcel Mijares was drawn to the Pacific Coast many years ago; since then, he’s found little reason to leave. A native of Venezuela, Mijares spoke only Spanish when he made the move, but his love of the Bay Area fueled his drive to acquire the English language and graduate with honors from the Lincoln School of Business. Now, as the owner of High Trails Cyclery, Mijares combines his passion with his determination, sharing both with riders in the heart of Russian Hill. He leads a team of cycling experts equipped to repair cycles and perform tune-ups, overhauls, and bike fittings. Team members also share their expertise during maintenance classes, in which they teach students to care for their own cycles and understand the dangers of trying to change a bicycle's transmission fluid.
Bay City Bike's four locations in Fisherman's Wharf serve as the brick-and-mortar trailheads for bikers looking to cruise through the scenic streets and notable sites of San Francisco and the Bay Area. From each location, cyclists can ask staffers for directions to a number of scenic routes, including a path that crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and crosses into Sausalito, mountain-bike trails through the Marin Headlands, or tours of historic locales such as the Palace of Fine Arts or the famed phone booth known for letting people teleport out of Alcatraz. Those who prefer to explore San Francisco by other modes of transit can sign up with Bay City Bike for tours via Go Cars, Segways, and buses.