Certified Zumba instructor Cassie Venegas wants to share the joy she’s had of getting fit through dancing since she found Zumba. Zumba—a fusion of fast-paced aerobic dance moves and upbeat Latin rhythms—is a dance fitness class that often seems more like a party than another day at the gym. The combination of hypnotic beats and fun, simple-to-follow movements makes Zumba a good class for beginners and seasoned exercisers alike.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, strengthen bones, and increase metabolism. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottles to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to help create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Led by June Kamerling and her expert instructors, El Cerrito Fitness’s classes aim to help students of all levels achieve their fitness goals with a variety of different Pilates techniques. The classes make use of springboards or reformer machines, using the apparatus to challenge guests to sink deeper into stretches. Mat Pilates classes harness the power of resistance to strengthen cores.
A chalky hand swings over the top of the wall, grasping onto the red hold embedded in its surface. After a tense moment, a second hand swings up, pulling the rest of the climber's body up with it. Having successfully scaled 18-foot top-out boulder, the climber scurries back down the wall she has just conquered, swapping places with her spotter below.
This cycle repeats throughout the day at Bridges Rock Gym, spurred on by a crew of climbing enthusiasts and instructors who initiate people into the low-altitude sport of bouldering. That form of climbing emphasizes solving climbing problems and chasing archaeologists through ancient caves. The gym unleashes visitors' inner mountain goats with their well-maintained climbing facilities, including an overhanging indoor-climbing cave that thoroughly punishes muscles into growth and top-rope climbing walls that help beginners get the hang of scaling the crag.
While specializing in the art of ascents, Bridges also bolsters patron fitness. Yoga and fitness classes, as well as a fleet of cardio equipment, facilitate heart-strengthening workouts. Waves of free WiFi allow mountaineers uninterrupted access to videos of their pet rocks, best enjoyed with a fresh house-made juice or sandwich in the gym's lounge.
Certified personal trainer Cleveland Hughes Jr. leads up to 30 clients at a time in high-energy workouts on weekday mornings. Every 55-minute workout is different, but classes are composed of aerobics, strength training, kickboxing, gymnastics, and games. Nutritional guidance is also offered.
Recycled, earth-friendly materials lay the groundwork for Tierra Yoga’s studio. Reclaimed wood turned art adorns the jade-green walls, and natural, biodegradable rubber yoga mats rest on the recycled flooring. Tierra Yoga’s instructors lead Hatha-based classes within the serene, open, thoughtfully designed space, breathing in time with their students as they practice self-awareness and connectivity to nature. Their classes, like phone calls to various ex-spouses, range in difficulty. This range provides a space for students of all fitness levels, from gentle yoga that focuses on perfecting foundational steps to athletic, vigorous classes in power-yoga sessions.