Anytime Fitness, which boasts over 2,100 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit seekers challenge themselves on cardio and strength machines by brands such as Precor and Life Fitness and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms.
Open 24 hours, this 33,000-square-foot facility has something for everyone, boasting a multiarea layout that includes a hardwood-floored studio for its more than 25 group fitness classes, a separate area just for spinning, and a punching-bag-lined zone devoted to mixed martial arts and free weights. While tots play in the Kidz Club area, members can work out on the state-of-the-art machines, swim laps in the 60-foot pool, challenge friends to racquetball, or hone Richard Nixon impersonations in the sauna.
Weak bodies are whittled into lean, muscular fighting machines as instructors at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) teach the martial arts styles used for UFC competition, self-defense, and overall conditioning. Men, women, and kids train in the company of students such as professional fighter Cain Velasquez and instructor Daniel Cormier, a former Olympian. AKA splits its MMA, jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing classes among four facilities, with group-training sessions and private professional sessions taking place in modern training studios with heavy bags, speed bags, and Olympic-grade mats. The Hillside location also features a professional-size ring for sparring or marriage-proposal practice, and the two-story AKA headquarters on Realm Avenue highlights an MMA cage, TRX suspension room, and cardio theater stocked with StairMasters and Jacobs Ladder machines.
The certified instructors strike a balance between hot yoga and room-temperature yoga, leading each distinctive style within separate spaces. They follow the traditional sequencing of "Bikram Yoga" during hot-yoga courses, breaking from their unscripted instruction to mingle with students and correct flawed postures. In the more temperate room, yogis link their breathing to movement during Vinyasa flow or stretch their connective tissues with gentler, less movement-focused Yin yoga. Alternating between heated and non-heated yoga practices may do wonders for boosting strength and focus, much like lifting weights while reading an optometrist’s eye chart.
Having shot more than 30,000 subjects throughout his career as a photographer, including many Silicon Valley business figures, Eric C. Gould understands how to create a good photo in any setting. His adeptness at communicating with subjects carries into his photography workshops, where he conveys difficult concepts clearly and methodically, saving students from such rookie mistakes as shooting with the lens cap on or turning the flash on while taking pictures of your imaginary friend's third grade graduation. In his own photo sessions, he frames professional clients in business portraits and headshots, high-school seniors in youthful poses, athletes in midaction, and a wide spectrum of people and places encountered on international travels.
At Almaden Yoga, owners Ron Victor and Anuja Chaudhri work alongside a team of instructors to reach out to those who have always wanted to practice yoga but never thought they could. Targeting the mind and body, their classes ensure that everyone, from beginning pupils to experts to expectant mothers, can find a course that suits their needs.
Aside from a way to stay in shape and lengthen limbs, the instructors see yoga as a philosophy for navigating the world. They believe that a combination of postures, focused breathing, and meditation is a method for discovering calmness in any uncomfortable situation, be it an all-night study session or a postapocalyptic decade trapped in a fallout shelter. Their life-changing approach has extended to charity events, such as a sun-salutation event to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and their positive influence on health and mental wellness made them a Talk of the Town winner in 2012.
Like many success stories, the Core Fitness tale begins when a business executive quit her job to pursue her true dream. For Nanci Mora, her dream was to become a fitness instructor. After 10 years of training and working as a trainer, she began conducting her own Pilates classes for three friends in her home. As word of Nanci's replenishing and invigorating Pilates workouts spread, her class size continued to expand in an inverse relationship to her students’ waistlines.
Today, Nanci continues to teach Pilates at her own professional studio, Core Fitness, where she and a staff of dancers, Pilates instructors, and fitness professionals teach workout classes throughout the week. Amidst the studio's earth-toned walls and towering mirrors, professional Pilates reformer machines help clients tone bodies.