Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
Tamalpais CrossFit's coaches are not content to teach the same curriculum day in, day out. Instead, the CrossFit specialists mix up their routines on a regular basis, linking innovative sequences of exercises that increase strength and prevent fitness plateaus. Whether leading students through deadlifts, pull-ups, or lunges, the trainers keep students on their muscle-bristled toes. In addition to leading training sessions at various levels, the gym's fitness experts dish nutritional advice for complete body-revamping programs.
Dance Arts Studios' instructors get fleet feet flying with a panoply of dance classes set within a studio that Pacific Sun named the best place for dance lessons in 2007 and 2008. The accommodating schedule of ballroom, Latin, and swing dances lets beginners and more sure-footed students build stepping and twirling skills with social dance classes. The Dance for Fitness course centers around fun, upbeat routines that strengthen cores and improve flexibility, teaching students to stylishly retrieve fallen items with a graceful dip. Although not included in today's Groupon, guest instructors and 2011 U.S. Argentine-tango stage champions Gustavo Hornos and Jesica Salomon help to inspire more seasoned dancers to take their tango to the next level in an intermediate/advanced Argentine-tango class.
Leona Norman founded Marin Ballet more than 40 years ago, holding classes in her own home. As an internationally trained and acclaimed dancer, Norman hoped to bring the same high-quality teaching she experienced abroad to dancers of all ages in Northern California. At her studio, which has expanded greatly to fill a bright and spacious facility in San Rafael's historic Dominican neighborhood, the current staff pursues the same mission of high-quality dance education under the tutelage of artistic director Cynthia Lucas, who trained under Norman.
The studio now welcomes more than 600 adults and youths per year to hone their fancy footwork with a schedule of more than 100 classes per week. Ballet makes up the majority of Marin’s curriculum, with training programs that start wee ones as young as 3 years old on the path to learning advanced techniques and pointe skills into adulthood. To balance out ballet-heavy schedules, students can enlist in infusion training, which covers such styles as modern dance, Pilates, jazz, flamenco, and West African dance.
The students and their instructors also choreograph and present showcases and performances of such ballet classics as The Nutcracker, the beloved tale in which giant nuts ransack a village and are eventually destroyed by the heroic Nutcracker.
In an effort to share his passion for cycling, Pelo Cycling and Fitness founder Alan Roberts looked to the peleton, the close-knit group of riders clumped together during a road race. His studio aims to recreate this closeness by fostering an easygoing atmosphere where people can workout and hangout.
Before class, riders reserve a bike online then head into the studio to pedal mile after mile against an auditory backdrop of high-energy music. Each stationary bike is outfitted with a proprietary system that adjusts to match the fitness level of the rider sitting atop it. Classrooms are also stocked with an abundance of absorbent, micro-fiber towels, which can sop up sweat or celebratory Gatorade baths for the instructor at the end of class.
Owner Janette Jones combines 15 years of Pilates teaching experience with a love for therapeutic massage at her studio, where instructors guide students with hands-on adjustments to ensure safe technique and correct form. Together with a staff of trainers and an arsenal of Pilates equipment, Janette runs a schedule of classes catering to students of all skill levels. During apparatus-based Pilates workouts, students generate gentle resistance using the mattress-worthy network of springs that lines the Reformer, the Exo Chair, and the Tower Pilates machines. Instructors can also enlist a series of mat exercises, which, much like doing chin-ups over a tar pit, require attendees to support their own body weight.