The instructors at Yoga Tropics believe that people of all ages and abilities can revel in yoga's benefits, which can include rehabilitating an injury, increasing flexibility and strength, and imparting a sense of inner peace. To push students toward these advantages, instructors lead six styles of yoga. They focus on hot-yoga classes—including the classic Bikram style yoga and Yoga Sculpt—which can help students oust toxins through sweat and sink deeper into stretches. During 60-minute ButiFitness classes, plyometrics exercises—including jumping, tribal dance, and yoga—are performed in 40-second repetitive bursts to help clients increase heart-rates. The instructors also fill out their own ranks with training courses that transform one-time pupils into certified yoga teachers.
For Rachel Robertson, five is a magic number. It's the number of movements that the spine is capable of—flexion, extension, lateral flexion, rotation, and neutral—and it's the maximum number of students she'll allow in one of her classes (which are 55 minutes long). Because the classes are kept small, her guidance is precise and personalized. She makes small modifications to each student's form as they segue from one exercise to the next, helping them not only to perfect their technique, but to become increasingly aware of the way their body functions.
Rachel's lessons incorporate mats as well as Stott Pilates equipment, from Reformers to stability chairs. Though all of her routines help to build core strength, balance, and flexibility, she tailors them to address the needs of each client, whether they're an athlete hoping to hone performance or someone looking to lose weight. Rehabilitative and specialty classes even focus on conditions such as scoliosis or pelvic-floor problems. Alongside her fellow instructor and former student Shyra, Rachel coaches clients of all ages and fitness levels to higher levels of wellness.
The staff of Ambition Athletics finds that most gyms lead their members to failure. It may seem like a harsh stance, but it inspires them to push themselves to give their members hands-on education and coaching rather than turning them loose in a sea of machines. Indeed, the key piece of equipment the fitness studio uses has no moving parts at all: it's the simple kettlebell, whose use in strength training dates back about as far as you'd expect by looking at what's essentially a lump of iron with a handle. Focusing on fitness for performance, trainers help members to take control of their own wellness during personal training and small-group classes, where they teach everyone to safely swing kettlebells, use suspension equipment, and charm ropes to climb themselves.
Cardiffit Gym & Yoga Studio's 8,000-square-foot space showcases ocean views that make the most of the center's Cardiff-by-the-Sea location. Exercisers admire these vistas as they execute circuit workouts using the facility's ellipticals, free weights, and weightlifting machines. But unlike the costar of a CGI walrus, they need not always act alone. The studio holds yoga classes ranging in style from Ashtanga and Vinyasa flow to Hatha, and on the first Friday of every month, yoga happy hour follows sun salutations with a reception with wine and snacks. There are also personal trainers on hand to organize beachfront exercises, strength training for athletes, and boot camps.
With locations in San Ramon and Lafayette, internationally recognized Itrim helps members lose weight quickly and keep it off by combining healthy meal plans with a specialized exercise center. Unlike other weight-loss programs that stop when clients have reached their goal, Itrim recognizes that most people still need guidance when it comes to maintaining their svelte figures. So their health coaches and staff take the time to provide hands-on support and give members tips for incorporating healthy eating and exercise into their daily routine. By following these tips and the rest of the program, Itrim says members can lose an average of 25 pounds in the first 12 weeks.