Though Ardy Conway and her staff of certified trainers at Ardy's Pilates Studio work primarily with three apparatus—the Reformer, the Cadillac, and the chair—they are well equipped to weave more than 500 Pilates exercises into their custom workouts. Ardy draws on more than 20 years of experience as she and her team tailor private and semiprivate sessions to individual goals, such as relieving joint pain or improving at golf. The instructors also host group Reformer classes, which max out at six students to keep classes personal and allow competitive sextuplets to remain at the same fitness level.
Custom Workouts might feel a bit smaller than your average chain gym—that's part of its appeal. The private setting allows gym-goers to work out on top-notch equipment without feeling intimated or overwhelmed. Staying true to its commitment to the individual, the gym also offers personal training with a reasonable price tag. But those who crave the motivation of peers can opt for group classes such as Zumba and spinning.
Walnut Pier Health Club's cardio and strength equipment is utilized throughout 15 courses that get bodies moving. The accommodating daily schedule begins at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, making it the ideal choice for fishermen who prefer to cast their hooks in outdoor heated pools that host aquatics classes. Stationary bike wheels rotate clients into healthy leg orbits during the Cycle classes; Zumba pumps Latin-inspired beats to inspire soaring heart rates; and myriad other aerobic classes usher members into the robust, perspirational world of fitness. In the on-site sauna, tuckered muscles recover and rest after vigorous workouts, energetic classes, and flexing for giggling courtesans.
Since its inception, Parisi Speed School has trained more than 150 NFL players and 5,000 scholarship-holding college athletes in its youth programs. Parisi consistently churns out all-stars with its Jump Start program, which trains youngsters at the time when their motor skills are most malleable. Outfitted with a 25-yard artificial-turf field, a four-lane track surface, and a weight room, the center hones agility, endurance, and coordination in future athletes aged 7–18. Using the center’s signature speed and strength training methods, supportive staffers not only infuse muscle memory with a suite of opponent-lambasting skills, they also teach them how to avoid injuries without hiring a stunt double to take tackles.
Yasa Yoga’s name comes from the Sanskrit words for “good-hearted,” a reflection of the studio’s noncompetitive, welcoming community of yogis and instructors. They gather to practice in a red-tiled, Mission-style building originally constructed in 1912. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Stephanie Besler lead a majority of the classes, accommodating students of all skill levels with a variety of yoga styles. During Yasa Basics classes, students absorb foundational yoga poses and breathing techniques in a naturally lit practice space with 20-foot arched ceilings. Yasa Flow yoga instructors crank up the room temperature to bolster flexibility and teach challenging, inverted moves during workouts suited to intermediate stretchers. Students also gather inside the building—Charlie Chaplin’s former home and production studio—for a variety of other classes such as prenatal, deep-stretch, and flow-style sessions.
Though each course strengthens core muscles and focuses the brain, students also calm their minds with meditation or revel in the camaraderie of like-minded classmates as they learn to control their breathing or tendency to constantly blurt out their credit-card numbers.
Highlights of Rodrigo Clark's two-decade Brazilian jiu-jitsu career include training with Master Carlos Gracie, Jr., reaching 3rd-degree black belt status, and medaling at the World Nogi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship seven times. At Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy Santa Barbara, Clark shares his vast knowledge of the Gracie style of self-defense during programs for all ages and skill levels. His and his team's teachings don't just show students how to defend themselves, though. They can also boost self-esteem, burn calories, reduce stress, and improve one's ability to dice vegetables with their bare hand.