UFC Gym?s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is lead by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 16-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
Trained by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner, Christy English Wioncek opened the Bay Area Acting Studio to teach a new generation of actors how to?in the words of her mentor?"live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Her stable of equally Meisner-steeped instructors leads classes including introductory adult courses, intensive courses for working thespians, and children's classes for young'uns looking to break into the industry early or convince babysitters they've been diagnosed with a life-threatening ice-cream deficiency.
Under the formidable chops of professional limelighter Giovannie Espiritu, The Young Actors Workshop edifies aspiring ingénues with a slate of technique-toning classes in acting, auditioning, and the entertainment business. A recurring regular on several hit network shows, Espiritu also boasts familiarity with casting and representation, granting each student comprehensive tutelage that’s been proven to score her scholars notable roles, auditions, and VIP access to swanky backstage snack spreads. Geared towards pint-size pontificators and nimble-tongued teens, each class hones young actors' abilities in a nurturing environment that places the student’s comfort center stage.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
Founded by competitive bodybuilder Jim Wilson in 1992, Physique Magnifique quickly outgrew its humble beginnings as a personal-training outfit stationed in a one-car garage. The gym’s talented trainers and instructors now spur bodies into action inside a fully equipped 6,000-square-foot space during one-on-one training sessions and group classes. Suited for all ages and ability levels, Physique Magnifique’s classes range from children’s judo to Olympic-style weightlifting coached by Jim Schmitz, thrice the coach for the U.S. Olympic team and one-time personal trainer to the Brawny Man.
Bally enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day membership includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, and Step Fitness (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts an array of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.