Amid the mythical landscapes and thrilling martial-arts battles in the film Mortal Kombat, you might see Richard Branden performing swift punches and mighty kicks as an outland warrior. Richard’s role in Mortal Kombat is just one of his many motion-picture credits, which include a stunt-double role in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Yin-Yang Man in WMAC Masters. The internationally renowned warrior has been practicing in martial arts since 1976, earning more than 35 international titles and six gold medals in chinese kung fu. A firm believer in the practice’s ability to enhance discipline and focus, as well as strength and agility, Branden opened Studio Kicks Palo Alto to help students of all ages reap martial arts’ many benefits.
Bright red and blue mats sweep across the floor of the expansive studio, where Branden's staff conduct a variety of combat-centric classes. The trainers lead energetic circuit-training routines and kickboxing combinations in adult fitness classes, helping students improve form and technique as they work toward sliming their physiques and toning their muscles. Youngsters and adults alike can enroll in the martial-arts program, where instructors guide students through movements, techniques, and training exercises that aim to boost power, flexibility, and strength. In addition to improving physical fitness, the program’s curriculum seeks to bolster self-confidence, much like an Armani blazer with the padded shoulders and biceps already sown in.
C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Cardio Resistance Core (CRC) System is the result of all that hard work. Designed to torch calories and tone up muscles, the system combines the most effective aspects of three different training styles. Cardio sessions hikes heart rates and boosts stamina, strength training increases balance and posture, and resistance work builds muscles with the help of dumbbells, bands, and clients' own body weight.
The institute's team of instructors also augment CRC exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr’s only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and Pure Barre soon spread its franchises across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, participants can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers get back in shape. Intimate classes with a limit of 15 attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to get the most from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills.
First conceived nearly 50 years ago, the dream of the Oshman Family JCC officially came to fruition in 2009 as a sprawling, 8.5-acre campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds. The Richard & Rhoda Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex hosts more than 150 group fitness classes per week, complementing these sessions with basketball and volleyball games. A heated outdoor pool supplies six lanes for swimming laps and connects with a sun deck that's ideal for relaxing with a good book or identifying barbell-shaped cloud formations. But the center focuses on enriching people's lives through other means as well. It supports families via kid-friendly camps, activities, and early-childhood education programs. It also hosts cultural events in the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, spotlighting the works of renowned artists, musicians, and authors.
Minal has travelled far and wide to strengthen her skills as an acupuncturist and herbalist. In her quest to obtain a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine, she not only traversed California to attend two different universities, but also ventured to Tokyo. While there, she dove into the wealth of knowledge found in the Traditional Japanese Medicine Seminar of Acupuncture & Moxibustion. She also studied with expert acupuncturists, earning a Certificate of Completion from the President of the International Society of Traditional Japanese Medicine, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the President of Goto College of Medical Arts and Sciences. Today, Minal applies her international education to ease her patients’ discomfort from addictions, allergies, asthma, hypertension, or their fear of embroidery.
Although Ananda Yoga's introductory classes begin by teaching new students how to master the fundamental asanas, the studio's practice strives to promote more than physical development. Self-actualization and personal, spiritual growth lay the foundation, and the instructors help attendees work toward these goals by incorporating enlightening affirmations, breathing exercises, and centering meditation into the classes. These classes may vary in physical intensity as advanced students challenge their strength and stamina with deeper, longer stretches, but each sequence encourages the attendees to focus on their mind-body connection and calm their thoughts.