Log-cabin rafters hang high over the fitness area at Star Pilates, providing a calm, rustic view for clients looking up from their yoga mats or Pilates machines. A collection of cardio equipment such as spin bikes, elliptical machines, and treadmills also populates the floor, which guests can access at any time via electronic key card. During personal training sessions and classes in Pilates or TRX, the gym’s on-site experts help guests immolate unwanted calories and rid mind of distractions through their workouts’ focused motions. They also host a variety of specialized classes that range from Pilates for seniors to power Pilates for athletes and superheroes who’ve taken the winter off.
Each of the guitar coaches at American Guitar Academy are certified in the school's signature teaching method. Developed over 25 years, this house-honed instruction technique incorporates scientific research to help fingers learn to shred frets up to eight times faster than alternative methods. During private half-hour lessons, instructors guide budding rock stars aged 4 years and up through the basics of strumming chords and seamlessly stitching together riffs. These comprehensive lessons on classical, electric, or acoustic guitars are offered once a week with a live instructor or online and guarantee that students will be playing their favorite music within six months of training. Students may begin lessons without owning a guitar, but are encouraged to gain access to one quickly for mastering scales and the ability to solo with their teeth.
Absolute Center's smorgasbord of fitness classes spans fields from Pilates to TRX and yoga, with all instructors bolstering their teacher certification with ongoing in-house training. The expansive studio is flush with the equipment necessary to help students accomplish physical and mental fitness, with CoreAlign posture-improving equipment sidekicked by Pilates reformers and roaming herds of yoga mats. In addition to a thorough screening to capture educational experience and personality, each Absolute Center trainer graduates from custom-tailored lessons on practical exercise, human anatomy, and cursive writing.
The certified CrossFit trainers at Lamorinda CrossFit want their clients to be in the best shape of their lives. Whether their goal is weight loss, building strength, or becoming more athletic and agile in general, the center has everything members need to become stronger, faster, and leaner. Using everyday, functional movements, such as squats, lifts, and pulling, in conjunction with weights and gymnastics, CrossFit works all the major muscle groups for a full-body workout. Clients begin by taking four Basics classes, after which they move onto the Workout of the Day, which can be customized for each individual’s fitness level. Members can choose to work out alone or in one of Lamorinda CrossFit’s classes, which offer the motivational boost of group energy.
Occupational therapists Dr. Brian R. Foltz and Ross E. Sato founded Pediatric Motor Playground to help children aged 2.5–12 develop physical and academic skills needed to succeed in school. At centers in Lafayette and Danville, the therapists and their team of educational-fitness instructors guide kids through the company's patented Motor Curriculum: 50 straight minutes of activities specifically designed to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination and social interaction. During these sessions, instructors might have kids play basketball, climb on foam-padded gym equipment, exercise with fitness balls, and practice their handwriting.
Dr. Foltz and Mr. Sato aren't comfortable just letting any instructor or animated snowman teach their curriculum. Each educational-fitness instructor completes at least 240 supervised hours of training and must pass both written and physical evaluations.
The staccato beat of conga drums rises over the deep voice of a bass guitar and the higher trills of the timbales and piano. Head dancer Evan Margolin and his bevy of experienced instructors lead students in classes that take beginners through basic footwork and salsa rhythms, with intermediate and advanced sessions offering salsa aficionados more challenging instruction. The social class structure—partners rotate throughout every session—creates a low-pressure learning environment and keeps dancers from scrambling to locate a partner or human-shaped tupperware container. The one-hour beginner classes are mostly filled with salsa novices and new dancers, and Dance SF's experienced and engaging local salsateers are patient and friendly when showing new students how to bust well-timed moves. During intermediate classes, which require six months or more of social dancing experience, students focus on timing and cross-body leads with turns. After some evening classes, new dancers are invited to join an all-night salsa party where they can put their new moves in practice. Students should wear comfortable clothing, which includes dancing shoes, but does not include rear-flapped onesie pajamas.
Walnut Creek Sports and Fitness Club whips members into top shape with racquetball courts, personal training, and more than 70 fitness classes each week. One-on-one width-whittling sessions take place under the expertly trained eyes of an experienced personal trainer. After going over health history, training goals, and lifetime thumb-wrestling records, girth-evicting gurus help clients develop a personalized exercise program before overseeing two full workout sessions (a $70 value each). Full-access membership (a $96 value per month) also nets access to unlimited group classes including cycling, step, Pilates, yoga, and strength-based sessions.