For some people, health and luxury are wishes to make on the future. But at The Big C Athletic Club, they happen to be the main draws all the time. Once inside, you pass the multilevel grand lobby and 75,000 square feet of weights, cardio machines, fitness classes, and sports courts open before you. After conquering workouts or group fitness classes, a dip in the temperature-controlled pool or the healing mist of the sauna soothes worn muscles. The facility's own Big C Grille offers healthy bites post-workout to replenish the body's all-important protein levels and angel-hair pasta enzymes. Even when members aren't working out, the club strives most of all to keep them happy: extra amenities such as massage therapy and a hair salon offer conveniences that help you leave both looking and feeling good.
The team of instructors at AquaTech Swim School continue their education and hone their advanced Marco Polo calls throughout their time at the school. Private, semiprivate, and group classes for children range from 6-month-olds' Tadpole curriculum to the advanced, team-focused Orca course, and the eight levels of kids classes are nuanced to include both "nervous" and "comfortable" beginner levels. The instructors help grownups get kicking during 60- and 90-minute private classes.
The Concord and Alameda facilities boast an 88-degree indoor pool that's specially designed for classes. Each location offers a spacious lesson-viewing area, children's play area, and free WiFi. The new Alameda facility also has an indoor/outdoor cafe for students who want to grab a bite before or after class.
Slipping down one of five thrilling slides, winding their way through boulder cove, or stopping to refuel at the Lazy River Café, families relish the chance to spend time together while taking respite from summer heat. As kids hone their strokes during swim lessons, parents can lounge poolside or obliterate calories during a water aerobics class. After workouts, the picnic area provides a shady spot to lay out a lunch brought from home, purchased at the snack bar, or willed into existence. On Friday night, the water park gets a dose of sound waves as DJs spin tunes. Throughout the season, kids take advantage of themed activities on Country Western Day, Princess Day, and Pirate Day. The pool can also be rented out for private parties and functions and makes an ideal spot for birthday parties.
Jeff Smith, a college swim coach and swim-club aquatics director, and Joan Smith, an NCAA all-American swimmer and triathlete, joined forces to open a swim academy that teaches youngsters how to swim safely while having fun. The pair operates two facilities, each with its own heated pool staffed by instructors who have all graduated from King's Swim Academy's training program. Their program begins with Parent and Me classes for kids as young as 6 months old, which introduce children to the water and teach basic skills such as kicking and changing their own diaper underwater. As students progress through the levels, they eventually learn skills such as freestyle swimming, backstroke, flip turns, and survival swimming. Instructors also lead a swim-technique and fitness class that prepares swimmers for swim team while promoting a healthy lifestyle and honing stroke skills.
Walking into the weight room at The Capital Athletic Club, visitors may think they’ve stepped into a European cathedral. Vaulted wood ceilings soar above resistance machines and free weights, immersing exercisers in a light, airy atmosphere and allowing trainers to participate in the annual Bring Your Giraffe to Work day. Dozens of classes cater to group fitness in four wood-floored studios and a heated, outdoor pool ensures comfortable laps regardless of outside temperature. Enthusiastic, highly qualified personal trainers collaborate with members, helping craft new programs for beginners or enlivening veterans' tired routines.
The club's amenities mirror its luxurious appointments, with each full member receiving a permanent locker for stashing clothes and parking meters you tore out of the ground with your bare hands. The staff launders workout clothes overnight, freeing up members’ time for relaxing in the expansive saunas and steam rooms. WiFi facilitates impromptu business meetings and spa services offer relaxing treatments.
At Del Norte Aquatics, three heated pools are located both indoors and outdoors, facilitating year-round practice and lessons. Using curriculum developed by the USA Olympic swimming team, the center's coaches teach swimmers of all ages and ability levels everything from flotation skills to basic, intermediate, and advanced strokes, transitioning through the caterpillar squirm and chrysalis float before learning the butterfly. Aside from instruction, Del Norte offers 20 aqua-fitness classes per week, which leverage water’s natural resistance to tone muscles during low-impact, challenging workouts.