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.
At All Sport Fitness Center, a comprehensive collection of cardio machines, free weights, and functional exercise equipment waits patiently to be incorporated into visitors’ exercise routines. A team of personal trainers, meanwhile, works to keep trainees motivated with one-on-one sessions, as well as a range of group fitness classes such as Pilates, yoga, spinning, and All Sports Fit, a boot-camp style session.
The certified instructors at Bloom Yoga keep class sizes small, allowing them to teach yoga, Pilates, and NIA classes with personal attention paid to each student. The All Levels yoga class gives students a taste of several styles of yoga, while the beginning yoga class teaches attendees the basics of hatha.
After visiting multiple friends who owned SPX studios, Marcus and Eva Kettles decided that imitation would be the sincerest show of devotion to Santa Barbara's fitness scene. The pair quickly laid plans for their own business, channeling their entrepreneurial backgrounds?Marcus had owned a New York City production company, and Eva had run a successful restaurant and holistic medicine practice?to launch the project. Today, you can find them overseeing an array of Megaformer machines and a staff of trainers inside Fit Buddha's eastern-themed exercise zone, where guests bolster their bodies during signature SPX classes?all without the burden of membership fees. Santa Barbara is appreciative, too; the studio won Santa Barbara Independent's Best of 2013 in the Pilates studio category.
The 40-minute SPX workout and its signature Megaformer machine draws from focused Pilates techniques, cardio drills, and strength training to create a full-body conditioning routine. By melding effective intensity, cardio, and endurance training, the Megaformer delivers a more complete workout than traditional Pilates. Energizing music syncs up with the class circuit, which can deviate from the SPX formula to include stationary cycling and nonstationary naptime. The studio also houses wellness and nutrition centers that espouse the anti-aging benefits of infrared saunas alongside wholesome sips from protein shakes.
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.