At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.
At Stella Luna Yoga, it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or a bendy veteran. The studio's array of classes includes opportunities for all levels, from a relaxing gentle yoga class to a hot flow session that builds strength and stamina. Other, less traditional varieties include an energy-balancing reiki style and a class designed specifically for babies and their moms. There's even a class just for kids, which offers an environment free of stress-inducing broccoli. Aside from yoga, the center offers retreats, workshops, and holistic therapy.
The instructors at Fembody Fitness cultivate a fun, judgment-free atmosphere as they help clients forge svelte physiques during alternative fitness classes that use sensual, feminine exercises to develop confidence along with muscle tone. Seven days a week, instructors use engaging and unusual tools including ballet barres and aerial silks to develop students' stamina, incorporating graceful, feminine movements into exercises when possible. Each class culls influences from a number of fitness regimens, incorporating yoga, Pilates, or dance to create memorable workouts that leave students feeling as charged as a firefly's battery after a lightning storm.
Equipment: Poles by X Pole and equipment by Lil Mynx, PoleDanzer, Cybex, Schwinn, and Hampton
Students should bring: Water bottle and towel
Average class length: 45 minutes
Number of Staff: 5?10
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
We are a private women's facility, and we offer both group fitness classes as well as one on one personal training. Our group fitness program offers classes ranging from pole fitness and burlesque chair workouts to yoga, step aerobics, and ballet. There is a little bit of everything to keep people interested.
What is a typical session of your program or class like for a student?
We keep our class sizes small to ensure a welcoming, safe, and fun environment for women.
Has your business won any awards?
Sharon Polsky, the owner and founder of Pole Position Fitness, has won first place in multiple fitness competitions.
Gabriel Hall, owner of Yoga World Studios, discovered yoga at the age of 19 while pursuing his degree in philosophy. Dr. Allen Arnette—already the clinical director of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Department—began studying yoga as a way of researching the role mental well-being plays in healing physical ailments. Katherine Ostrout studied dance science at Cal State Long Beach and turned to Pilates after a ballet injury laid her low. These three weave their diverse backgrounds into the rich tapestry of talent made up by Yoga World’s team of yogis.
Having studied extensively in particular schools of yoga, instructors bring their individual training into the studio, focusing on disciplines that range from the physically challenging to mentally reflective, and include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, and Anusara. In addition to their regular yoga lessons, the Yoga World team also leads mat-Pilates classes, workshops, and private instruction. They use the art of yoga for healing in one-on-one sessions of Thai yoga therapy, which blends shiatsu massage with acupressure, or they coordinate beachside retreats full of yoga, surfing, and yoga-surfing.
It was the back pain that convinced Clint Bigham to give up a promising career in golf—he competed in junior tournaments against greats such as Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, going pro at age 20—and begin exploring the world of yoga and Pilates for the healing he sought. Now a certified personal trainer and the founder of We Fit Gym, Clint spends his time helping people shrink waistlines and feel energetic enough to perform superhuman feats, such as attending a nudist convention fully clothed. His gym is an oasis that tradition and innovation happily share; conventional equipment and classes work in tandem with ROM (Range of Motion) machines, TurboSonic, and HyperGravity vibration trainers, and an infrared sauna whips bodies into shape with low risk of injury and maximum efficiency. Before clients begin building strength and setting calories afire, Clint consults with them to develop a custom fitness program, covering nutrition basics, recommending workout routines, and exposing the sad, sad truth about motivational posters.