Jill Dailey McIntosh has always been intrigued by the human body and how it moves—so much so that she graduated in 1991 with a kinesiology degree and soon thereafter decided to open her own Pilates teaching studio. But it wasn't until years later that this curiosity would manifest itself in a single question: "How can one aggressively transform the shape of their body while still maintaining proper alignment of the spine?" Eventually Jill began to examine her diverse fitness background, pulling low-impact movements from ballet, Pilates, and even orthopedic-exercise routines to create the basis for her fitness style, The Dailey Method.
Now, more than a decade later, Dailey's fitness routine has ballooned into studios sprawled across more than 10 states and gained praise from Self, Allure, FitPregnancy, and InStyle magazines. Regardless of the location, instructors remain true to Jill's mission of offering a diverse series of exercises that focus on toning and lengthening the body while lengthening the spine and building strong core muscles.
The two personal trainers who run Five Points Fitness named their 17,000-square-foot facility after what they consider to be the five keys to fitness: strength, endurance, flexibility, stability, and nutrition. To help members achieve those essentials, they stock their gym with strength-training equipment and cardio machines, each of which are equipped with their own monitors. In addition to personal training, the staff leads group training sessions limited to two to five students, ensuring each one receives a dose of individual attention. Members also have access to group classes including yoga, cardio kickboxing, and Zumba—a high-energy dance workout that fuses Latin-inspired moves with club-worthy beats. The staff’s certified nutritionist helps members stick to healthy dietary plans by encouraging them to eat fewer butter sculptures, and onsite childcare Monday–Saturday mornings makes it easier for parents to hit the gym.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
As they enter the training at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Frequently named Best Pilates Studio by the Pacific Sun, Fit First Pilates stretches and conditions frames in a variety of creative Pilates classes. Certified instructors lead small groups of no more than four humans through tailored regimens such as Pre-Ski Pilates, which preps snowsurfers for long days leaping over moguls, and Equestrian Pilates, which strengthens the muscles used most often in outrunning thoroughbreds. Disco-lates infuses workouts with groovy tunes, while Kettl-ates adds Russian kettlebell training into the exercise mix. Newly minted mothers can shed pregnancy pounds and tone their rocking arms during the Mommyilates sessions. Students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome, and Fit First happily adapts workouts to suit the goals and capabilities of their clients. Check out the schedule for dates, times, instructors, and available classes.
With five locations throughout the Bay Area, including three in San Francisco, Fitness SF caters to the needs of fitness enthusiasts and casual exercisers from Marin to Oakland. Each center brims with muscle-toning and pulse-raising equipment, allowing visitors a wide choice of activities, from pumping free weights to using ellipticals equipped with personal viewing screens.
Although personal trainers are on hand to help refine technique and design individualized exercise regimens, the gyms' classes encourage guests to work out in a more communal setting. Yoga and Zumba appear on every class schedule, but instructors at each location incorporate their own additional sessions, such as cardio kickboxing, Bollywood dance, and Pilates mat.
Many of the locations stay open until as late as midnight on select weekdays, which leaves plenty of time for a post-workout cooldown in the locker rooms.