TJ's Gym CrossFit Novato bustles with exercisers of all ages and ability levels as they undergo the high-intensity strength and conditioning exercises of the globally renowned CrossFit program. Embraced by many police academies, military-operations units, and professional pie fighters, the program has a sound reputation and pulls from disciplines of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardiovascular fitness. Certified instructors challenge students to exceed previous limits with exercise routines that vary in strength, speed, movement, and duration during classes throughout the week. These expert teachers also educate participants in body mechanics and proper nutrition to encourage healthier lifestyles outside the gym. The gym strives to build a supportive community among its students through an online discussion board, where students can discuss results, emotional responses, and nutritional inquiries.
The Dailey Method centers on small movements that isolate key muscle groups, especially those that support the spine, but their effects are far from small. Over the course of many reps, these subtle movements can build lean muscle and improve posture—results that have been noted by magazines such as InStyle and Allure.
The Dailey Method often reminds people of Pilates, and rightfully so. Dailey Method founder Jill Dailey McIntosh was a Pilates trainer for many years. Her method blends Pilates with elements of ballet and yoga, but is also focused on customization. Instructors frequently suggest modifications personalized to their students, rather than insisting shorter students work out in heels.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, strengthen bones, and increase metabolism. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottles to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to help create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Today they’re playfully dubbed “The Boot Camp Guys,” but Jaron Eliopoulos and Jeffrey Sears were merely students of kinesiology when they met in 2005. After bonding over a shared passion for fitness, the two began to move toward their current nickname by leading boot camp on the side of personal-training jobs. But when their camp spread to two cities and more than 100 patrons, the amount it takes to overthrow a tyrannical couch potato, Jaron and Jeff could ignore their calling no more and LiveFit Boot Camp was born.
Accountability is the glue that holds campers together at the sessions, which are held at parks all over the region. Jeff and Jaron dream up a new workout each day and turn it over to trainers who not only encourage the clients that attend, but also check in with no-shows to make sure they’re staying on track. Through combinations of sprinting, suspension training, kettlebell moves, and other exercises, the routines keep muscles guessing and attendees engaged.
Located inside a wooden building with white walls and a peaked ceiling, Embrace Yoga eschews distracting decorations: sleek and simple furniture take up little space, and sheer olive-green curtains provide subtle pops of color. The clutter-free hall makes for a peaceful setting for Anusura, Vinyasa, and Iyengar classes, as well as sessions for mothers and their babies to find inner and outer harmony. High windows and a white chandelier illuminate the spacious studio, where you’ll see a statue of Buddha. The tranquil studio also features a boutique full of clothing and training props.
Embrace Yoga’s welcoming teachers help students—from experts to first-timers— focus on mind-body awareness and proper alignment. In addition to group classes, the studio can assist through private lessons, retreats, lectures, and workshops. After a relaxing session, students can finish their visit with complimentary homemade lemongrass tea.