C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Cardio Resistance Core (CRC) System is the result of all that hard work. Designed to torch calories and tone up muscles, the system combines the most effective aspects of three different training styles. Cardio sessions hikes heart rates and boosts stamina, strength training increases balance and posture, and resistance work builds muscles with the help of dumbbells, bands, and clients' own body weight.
The institute's team of instructors also augment CRC exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
Fit For Life Bootcamp?s seasoned instructors replace drill-sergeant screams with encouraging mantras in their one-hour indoor classes that welcome clients of all fitness levels. During sessions, trainers round out weightlifting sessions, resistance drills, and core workouts with cardio routines such as light running and obstacle courses. They switch up class routines regularly to ensure courses are never the same from day to day, leading wild-card days that incorporate hiking, crawling, and high-stakes Uno games played with 50-pound cards. In addition to bolstering workouts with nutrition guidance, trainers work to cultivate an atmosphere of positive camaraderie designed to push campers further toward their weight-loss goals.
As strobe lights slice across the stage, masked dancers descend from scaffolding and undulate to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Minutes later, a troupe of 6-year-olds takes to the same stage in traditional Indian shalwar, or loose trousers, and launch into a frenetic dance set to fast-paced bhangra music. These divergent routines—performed at Mona Khan Company’s student showcase—hint at the scope of dance styles that instructors bring to their classes. Though traditional folk and classical South Asian dance make an appearance, instructors also incorporate styles such as salsa, modern, and hip-hop.
This Bollywood dance philosophy has propelled Mona Khan Company into the national spotlight. The company’s professional dance troupe has performed with Bollywood demigod Shah Rukh Khan and dancer Shaan, and dazzled a live audience on America’s Got Talent.
Though classes at Mona Khan Company occasionally lead to professional dance careers, the studio strives to make Bollywood dance accessible to every aspiring dancer. For example, Jollywood dance classes train performers age 65 and older, and the Jeena program trains special-needs students. “It’s more than just dance,” says Ms. Shankar, the company’s dance captain. “We try to build a whole community around it."
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 or straps 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.