As Ross Valley CrossFit states on their website, they’re focused on creating a workout that’s “productive, not destructive.” That said, the CrossFit system is intense, and the trainers push their students to the limit during daily workouts populated with a variety of challenging but functional movements and exercises. Through the use of intuitive movements such as pushing, running, and texting, they prepare class participants for anything the day can throw at them, from hauling groceries to fireman-carrying a large person, running a marathon, or climbing a mountain. They mix up routines each day to keep things interesting; students may perform pushups and deadlifts one session before swinging kettlebells and running sprints the next. Paired with nutritional advice, workouts help those of all ages and fitness levels slim down, enhance agility and flexibility, and build brawn across all muscle groups.
Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber, a husband-and-wife duo, team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012 and 2013.
Arjay Parker came to yoga as a result of an intervention to help her deal with stress in the workplace; Jefferson Parker started while seeking a way to heal his body from a crippling injury. In the practice of Bikram and Power yoga, they not only found what they were looking for, but they also found each other. Soon teamed as husband and wife, the duo decided to open a dual yoga studio of their own. The newly christened Bikram Yoga San Rafael & Power Yoga San Rafael would boast two classrooms, each completely dedicated to one yogic form.
Today, the Parkers enlist the aid of other talented instructors they've met throughout the years to bend bodies with both kinds of yoga seven days a week. Their dedication has earned them Pacific Sun magazine’s Best Yoga Studio award for five years running and part of Pacific's Hall of Fame for three consecutive years, as well as countless high-fives from their appreciative students.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
Owner Janette Jones combines 15 years of Pilates teaching experience with a love for therapeutic massage at her studio, where instructors guide students with hands-on adjustments to ensure safe technique and correct form. Together with a staff of trainers and an arsenal of Pilates equipment, Janette runs a schedule of classes catering to students of all skill levels. During apparatus-based Pilates workouts, students generate gentle resistance using the mattress-worthy network of springs that lines the Reformer, the Exo Chair, and the Tower Pilates machines. Instructors can also enlist a series of mat exercises, which, much like doing chin-ups over a tar pit, require attendees to support their own body weight.
Dance Arts Studios' instructors get fleet feet flying with a panoply of dance classes set within a studio that Pacific Sun named the best place for dance lessons in 2007 and 2008. The accommodating schedule of ballroom, Latin, and swing dances lets beginners and more sure-footed students build stepping and twirling skills with social dance classes. The Dance for Fitness course centers around fun, upbeat routines that strengthen cores and improve flexibility, teaching students to stylishly retrieve fallen items with a graceful dip. Although not included in today's Groupon, guest instructors and 2011 U.S. Argentine-tango stage champions Gustavo Hornos and Jesica Salomon help to inspire more seasoned dancers to take their tango to the next level in an intermediate/advanced Argentine-tango class.