The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
Downtown Yoga Shala offers 3,800 square feet of space for yogis of all levels to perfect their poses. Keeping with yoga's commitment to sustainability, the spacious main studio and a smaller second studio feature bamboo flooring and natural light and are cleaned with nontoxic products to create a serene atmosphere. Open daily with more than 45 classes a week, the studio offers a variety of yoga styles including Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, and Restorative yoga classes as well as adult ballet courses. Priding themselves on being a yoga sanctuary, Downtown Yoga Shala was voted Best Yoga Studio in 2013 by the Metro Silicon Valley.
Students grapple their way across 112 Swain tatame-style mats, which cover more than 2,400 square feet of space inside Heroes Martial Arts. The studio specializes in teaching Brazilian jujitsu courses, including classes that introduce students to the fundamentals and incorporate judo. In addition, instructors help students gain self confidence and an arsenal of self-defense moves during youth antibullying classes. A separate fitness area hosts free weights, a rowing machine, pull-up bars, and weighted popsicle sticks.
Staffed by a team of former professional and collegiate baseball veterans, South Bay Sports Training ushers in new generations of baseball and softball players with expert clinics and personal training. Instruction is broken down into the sport’s fundamentals—hitting, pitching, fielding, catching, throwing, and general performance, among others—with each group or private training session led by an expert in each specialty, ensuring students are privy to all the tips and tricks specific to that position.
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.