Certified Zumba instructor Cassie Venegas wants to share the joy she’s had of getting fit through dancing since she found Zumba. Zumba—a fusion of fast-paced aerobic dance moves and upbeat Latin rhythms—is a dance fitness class that often seems more like a party than another day at the gym. The combination of hypnotic beats and fun, simple-to-follow movements makes Zumba a good class for beginners and seasoned exercisers alike.
Recycled, earth-friendly materials lay the groundwork for Tierra Yoga’s studio. Reclaimed wood turned art adorns the jade-green walls, and natural, biodegradable rubber yoga mats rest on the recycled flooring. Tierra Yoga’s instructors lead Hatha-based classes within the serene, open, thoughtfully designed space, breathing in time with their students as they practice self-awareness and connectivity to nature. Their classes, like phone calls to various ex-spouses, range in difficulty. This range provides a space for students of all fitness levels, from gentle yoga that focuses on perfecting foundational steps to athletic, vigorous classes in power-yoga sessions.
Bryan Kastl, operator and co-owner of Hercules CrossFit, muscled his way to certifications in Olympic lifting in 2009. But he has studied fitness and physiology since the early ‘90s, when he became a certified personal trainer through Hayward State University. Co-owner and certified trainer Lesha Kastl also lifts at an Olympic level, but she favors movement-based workouts including Muay Thai boxing, Pilates, and runway-overthrowing Ms. Fitness competitions. Both Lesha and Bryan have studied massage therapy to supplement their expertise of internal musculature. Bryan even sought the guidance of a chiropractor to learn injury-specific techniques such as active-release technique.
The Kastls area also both Level 1 CrossFit trainers with certifications in CrossFit mobility and gymnastics, which they rely on during CrossFit classes comprised of nonspecialized, functional exercises. Weightlifting and gymnastic-ring work, for example, are selected because they can be easily adjusted according to fitness level and directly improve mundane tasks such as hauling groceries or catching trapeze swings to work. As a result, the workouts are remarkably inclusive, and the Kastls have guided energetic kids and those struggling with physical ailments toward strength and cardiovascular health. Lesha's background in sports nutrition enables her to design dietary programs that boost performance and bolster the effects of exercise.:m]]
Chelsea Martin dabbled in ballet, jazz, and salsa before she truly began to experiment with dance. Belly dance proved to be the catalyst for her evolution—she studied under several experts and performed with ensembles throughout California, mastering the sinuous moves enough to hold her own classes and blend in at snake family reunions. When hip-hop entered her repertoire, Chelsea didn't want to split her energy between the two styles. Instead, she blended them, inventing Belly Dance Funk techniques that she also teaches in addition to Zumba routines. With multiple upcoming showcases and a tireless passion for choreography, Chelsea plans to continue shaping and sharing her signature moves.
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.
Led by June Kamerling and her expert instructors, El Cerrito Fitness’s classes aim to help students of all levels achieve their fitness goals with a variety of different Pilates techniques. The classes make use of springboards or reformer machines, using the apparatus to challenge guests to sink deeper into stretches. Mat Pilates classes harness the power of resistance to strengthen cores.
A chalky hand swings over the top of the wall, grasping onto the red hold embedded in its surface. After a tense moment, a second hand swings up, pulling the rest of the climber's body up with it. Having successfully scaled 18-foot top-out boulder, the climber scurries back down the wall she has just conquered, swapping places with her spotter below.
This cycle repeats throughout the day at Bridges Rock Gym, spurred on by a crew of climbing enthusiasts and instructors who initiate people into the low-altitude sport of bouldering. That form of climbing emphasizes solving climbing problems and chasing archaeologists through ancient caves. The gym unleashes visitors' inner mountain goats with their well-maintained climbing facilities, including an overhanging indoor-climbing cave that thoroughly punishes muscles into growth and top-rope climbing walls that help beginners get the hang of scaling the crag.
While specializing in the art of ascents, Bridges also bolsters patron fitness. Yoga and fitness classes, as well as a fleet of cardio equipment, facilitate heart-strengthening workouts. Waves of free WiFi allow mountaineers uninterrupted access to videos of their pet rocks, best enjoyed with a grilled sandwich or all-fruit smoothie in the gym's organic café and lounge.