Accompanied by pounding music, a positively voltaic instructor, and atmospheric lighting, spinning pushes your legs, your abs, and your heart with zero joint impact and a low chance of boredom. In a fun, fast, group environment, you'll gain both the benefit of communal support and the anonymity of the herd—the same advantages enjoyed by the perpetually lithe dik dik pygmy antelope.
The SPX system works specifically to target hips and thighs and tighten the core by pushing the muscles to failure. You'll stretch and strengthen your muscles until the point of collapse, a proven method for developing a rock-hard middle. Developed by Pilates pro Sebastien Lagree, the intense, 40-minute classes will give even diehard gym rats speedy results and work the muscles harder than standard Pilates-based workouts. Sessions start as early as 5:30 a.m. and are offered every day. View a complete schedule and sign up here for the group class of your choosing.
A 150-acre oasis of beautiful flora, Descanso Gardens is cozily situated in a secluded section of the San Rafael hills and offers visitors a refreshing glimpse of Mother Nature when she's not busy. Guests can stroll through the various gardens and soak in the sights of roses by the thousands, examine native California flowers, parley with old oaks, and meditate in a Japanese-themed sanctuary that features a picturesque arched bridge, a tea house, and a pond. Upcoming special events include Botanic Bling on December 11 & 12, hosted by Mark-Alan Harmon, and Enchanted Railroad Storytime on December 18, hosted by professional storyteller Bill Ratner.
At Caterpillar Kids Place, little ones tumble and explore with arts and crafts, music, and other children in an eco-friendly playground. Wee ones scoot around the play area on riding toys, soon reaching a bounce house where they safely jump skyward. Building blocks improve spatial awareness and expressive prowess, an array of costumes fosters method acting for King Lear –themed make-believe sessions, and puppets and instruments inspire impromptu plays. While tykes go nuts, parents relax in Caterpillar Kids Place's onsite lounge with complimentary coffee, WiFi access, and an audiobook archive of Cosmopolitan quizzes. Caterpillar Kids Place is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday–Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
The Bar Method workout, which has been featured in Self magazine and Seventeen, started with German ballet dancer Lotte Berk. After injuring her back, Berk took her physical-therapy regimen and fused it together with her old ballet workouts. Burr Leonard took this system and modified it in 1991, in an effort to minimize the impact it had on delicate joints. The workout became known as The Bar Method, named for the horizontal barre that ballerinas use to steady themselves during dance routines and astronauts use to practice pole dancing in space. Bar Method workouts combine Berk's original dance conditioning and physical-therapy moves with fast-paced interval training and muscle-building isometrics, and aim to tone physiques without adding bulk.