The Polk Street Gym is a boxing gym. It telegraphs its pugilistic philosophy to fitness by center-staging a large, full-size boxing ring just inside the sidewalk storefront windows that stretch from matted floor to lofted ceiling. Both aspiring sparers and everyday Joes, who only have thrown punches at dollar stealing vending machines, train like boxers. Members jump rope, run hills, hit bags, and shadowbox. These drills and exercises firm not just boxing skills, but also general cardio and strength capacity. With 29 classes to choose from, men and women, kids and adults find a fighter's heart in circuit training or boxing classes.
Dublin-bred, former Golden Gloves champion Simon Redmond leads a roster of trainers who are all current or past Golden Gloves champs, whose knuckles turn food, jaws, parking meters, and all they touch to gold. After immigrating to San Francisco in the mid-90s, Simon trained and fought for several years before opening a gym with a partner. At the start of 2010, Simon broke off on his own to open Polk Street Gym. He strives to whip people into shape through boxing, affirming his mission and his passion by writing that despite broken ribs, a broken nose, burst eardrums, and spilt blood, he has loved every minute of his boxing lifestyle.
Jill Dailey McIntosh has always been intrigued by the human body and how it moves?so much so that she graduated in 1991 with a kinesiology degree and soon thereafter decided to open her own Pilates teaching studio. But it wasn't until years later that this curiosity would manifest itself in a single question: "How can one aggressively transform the shape of their body while still maintaining proper alignment of the spine?" Eventually Jill began to examine her diverse fitness background, pulling low-impact movements from ballet, Pilates, and even orthopedic-exercise routines to create the basis for her fitness style, The Dailey Method.
Now, more than a decade later, Dailey's fitness routine has ballooned into studios sprawled across more than 10 states and gained praise from Self, Allure, FitPregnancy, and InStyle magazines. Regardless of the location, instructors remain true to Jill's mission of offering a diverse series of exercises that focus on toning and lengthening the body while lengthening the spine and building strong core muscles.
Paul Wade, a Golden Gloves champion and experienced trainer, founded Third Street Boxing Gym in 2001 to pay homage to San Francisco's pugilistic past by training the city's next generation of great fighters. The facility's concrete walls, iron piping, and low ceilings host a family of aspiring amateurs and local professionals as they train in the authentic, old-school boxing gym’s two full-size rings or prepare for the ring with the gym’s speed bags, uppercut bags, heavy bags, treadmills or free weights.
Burgeoning boxers learn fundamentals such as hand wrapping, the basic stance, and simple punches during beginner classes, before taking newfound skills to group cardio boxing sessions—taught by current or former Golden Gloves champions—that put patrons through an intense, all-body workout in one hour. Four-week boxing boot camps put sweet science practitioners of all skill levels through a rigorous training regimen focused on cardiovascular exercises, strength training. After completing boxing boot camp, participants may feel equipped to tackle their first amateur bout during 3rd Street's Friday Night Fights events.
After walking through the studio’s namesake entryway, visitors to Funky Door Yoga Polk Street are greeted by the grunts of Bikram practitioners carried on waves of steamy heat. The stretch dojo's seven-day schedule boasts early-morning, afternoon, and evening classes that take place in a classroom stoked to up to 105 degrees, the perfect temperature for facilitating flexibility or melting a corporate rival's ice statue in effigy. Students run through Bikram Choudhury’s 26 poses that pique muscles, organs, veins, and ligaments while the sweltering heat flushes toxins from the body. After a 90-minute session, students can hop into one of Funky Door Yoga Polk Street's showers, or down a bottle of water or sports drink available for purchase. The studio also stocks rentable mats and towels for greenhorn yogis not quite experienced enough to levitate.
The bright studio helps students fine-tune posework with wall-to-wall mirrors, and the expansive floor space affords enough space to execute even the most complex poses. Two nearby parking lots and metered parking afford convenient parking for car-toting students.
After a college career playing Division I soccer and earning a BA in sports sciences from the University of the Pacific, Catherine Betts developed a passion for proper physical fitness that she shares with her clients. During an internship at Athletes Performance, a premier professional conditioning facility, Betts worked with both the men's and women's U.S. national soccer teams, as well as athletes from professional leagues including the NBA, NFL, and Justice League.
The experienced fitness guide adapts her individual and group workouts to the specific conditioning needs of seasoned sportspeople and casual exercisers alike. Trainees learn how to manage body weight and engage in corrective exercises through progressive programs that work into existing routines. Workouts take place at a variety of gyms and outdoor locations, including Marina Green Park and the Lyon Street steps. Betts often tailors personal-training sessions to aid in wedding preparations, maternity fitness, or productions of Pinocchio staged with TRX suspension equipment.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.