Founded by competitive bodybuilder Jim Wilson in 1992, Physique Magnifique quickly outgrew its humble beginnings as a personal-training outfit stationed in a one-car garage. The gym’s talented trainers and instructors now spur bodies into action inside a fully equipped 6,000-square-foot space during one-on-one training sessions and group classes. Suited for all ages and ability levels, Physique Magnifique’s classes range from children’s judo to Olympic-style weightlifting coached by Jim Schmitz, thrice the coach for the U.S. Olympic team and one-time personal trainer to the Brawny Man.
UFC Gym?s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is lead by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 16-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
Helmed by martial arts instructor Willy Cahill for nearly 50 years, the instructors at Cahill's Judo Academy dojo drill students in the martial arts of Kodokan judo and jujitsu. In spacious studio interiors, students embark on up to 2.5-hour classes, rehearsing throws, grapples, strikes, and joint locks to subdue opponents and force stubborn jam jars to yield their contents. The instructors are well-versed in the combat-focused jujitsu and in the less combat-intensive practice of judo, working to hone state- and international-championship medal winners participating in Olympic events, Pan American Games, and special competitions.
After an eye injury took boxing and martial-arts champion Eddie Croft out of the ring, he set himself a new goal: becoming the first person to train a boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts champion. Having already trained a world kickboxing champion and five San Francisco Golden Gloves winners, he is well on his way.
Croft plies his trade at B Street Boxing, where his team of instructors teaches professionals and amateurs the arts of boxing, muay thai, kickboxing, Brazilian jiujitsu, and tae kwon do. In the red, white, and blue ring of B Street Boxing’s gym, students jab and spar, practice their skills on punching bags, or check their form in a mirrored wall. Conditioning and boot-camp sessions also keep students from all backgrounds fit while imparting dedication, discipline, and the desire to wear boxing gloves even in the shower.
The Polk Street Gym is a boxing gym. It telegraphs its pugilistic philosophy to fitness by center-staging a large, full-size boxing ring just inside the sidewalk storefront windows that stretch from matted floor to lofted ceiling. Both aspiring sparers and everyday Joes, who only have thrown punches at dollar stealing vending machines, train like boxers. Members jump rope, run hills, hit bags, and shadowbox. These drills and exercises firm not just boxing skills, but also general cardio and strength capacity. With 29 classes to choose from, men and women, kids and adults find a fighter's heart in circuit training or boxing classes.
Dublin-bred, former Golden Gloves champion Simon Redmond leads a roster of trainers who are all current or past Golden Gloves champs, whose knuckles turn food, jaws, parking meters, and all they touch to gold. After immigrating to San Francisco in the mid-90s, Simon trained and fought for several years before opening a gym with a partner. At the start of 2010, Simon broke off on his own to open Polk Street Gym. He strives to whip people into shape through boxing, affirming his mission and his passion by writing that despite broken ribs, a broken nose, burst eardrums, and spilt blood, he has loved every minute of his boxing lifestyle.