At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2009 CityVoter nominee for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.
Huw Lloyd Davies and Stu White started BodyWorks Lifestyle as a place where they can help others improve their own health and fitness. The center's training principles are built upon holistic health awareness, the fundamentals of nutrition, and metabolic conditioning. Alongside an excellent supporting staff, the team curates a curriculum of group training classes, personal-training sessions, nutrition consultations, and holistic life coaching.
BodyWorks Lifestyle also offers an online training program, a portal full of videos and written workouts for people who can’t make it to classes because their motorized unicycles are out of gas. The online program includes a weekly telephone chat with one of the gym’s trainers, who speaks to the philosophy of the center's inspirational founder.
Yoga is a great way to stay toned and limber while temporarily storing worldly worries in a drawer with knick-knacks, spare change, and shrunken heads. Like a chameleon trapped in a box of Crayolas, each class transforms yoga into a different shade while remaining the same at its core. Classes range in difficulty and specialty, including such varieties as Vinyasa Flow, Hot Yoga, and other conveniently color-coded courses. Intense red classes incinerate fat, whereas the blue series keeps things slower and steadier. View the upcoming schedule for Long Beach here and Fullerton here.
With a career that has spanned three decades⎯including a starring role in more than 60 fitness DVDs, lectures in more 14 countries, and work published in Men’s Fitness, Shape, and the LA Times⎯John Garey, founder of John Garey Fitness & Pilates, has certainly left an indelible mark on the fitness industry. The studio that bears his name upholds the philosophy that fitness should be fun. Its group fitness studio hosts equipment for TRX-suspension and trampoline-fitness classes, as well as rows of heavy bags and dumbbells for boxing and boot camps. The Pilates room features Stott Pilates Reformers, and nearby, 26 Spinner Pro cycles sit waiting to hum under the command of certified Spinning instructors. In addition to group classes, John's team of trainers conducts private training sessions in the personal-training room and provide teacher-training programs to initiate others into their elite group.
At Executive Fitness & Med Spa, licensed professionals burnish epidermises with state-of-the-art treatments designed to yield clearer and silkier skinscapes. Eschewing the processes of waxing, plucking, or ripping off limb-sized band-aids, the 30-minute laser hair-removal treatments transmit a cavalcade of hair-slaying wavelengths into follicles' melanin to diminish their ability to regenerate unwanted fuzz. Specialists recommend a streak of three to six treatments spaced six to eight weeks apart to achieve skin as smooth as a newborn kitten's jazz solo. Or opt for the microdermabrasion treatments, during which one of the staffers will sluice your face with a stream of exfoliating crystals to slough away dead and sullied cells from the outer epidermal layer. A comfortable hydrating mask concludes each treatment, working to heal husks at the end of the restorative 30-minute session.
Sunlight floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows of The Studio by Bridget, beaming across the sparkling canals of Long Beach to illuminate 1,900 square feet of space. Lined against the walls, Pilates equipment ranges from Reformers to more unusual gear used in private training, such as the ladder barrel and the stability chair, ideal for seated workouts that give students a more rigorous exercise than cranking a recliner footrest up and down. On this equipment—or on simple Pilates mats—the studio’s team hosts classes that lengthen and strengthen muscles, balancing physiques and enhancing flexibility through regimens involving stretching, breathing, resistance training, pulleys, and cables. The staff complements its Pilates offerings with spinning classes and TRX sessions, whose Reformer workouts were designed by a Navy SEAL.