When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Smiling terra-cotta statues, forever posing, and potted orchids caught in a heliotropic stretch mirror the stillness and intensity inherent in Yoga at Cindy's challenging sessions. Skilled yogis guide groups of fewer than 30 students through hot-yoga classes, sweating out toxins and loose change caught in pores in the 98-degree rooms. Practitioners of all skill levels bend their way through a variety of poses in the 60- and 90-minute sessions as the heat helps to keep muscles malleable, improve blood flow, and promote detoxification. Classes include heated Vinyasa-flow that focuses on the synchronization of breath and movement, more vigorous power-flow courses that tone muscles, and specially designed classes for recent mothers and mothers-to-be. In between classes, the studio is cleaned daily, and deep cleaned every other week to avoid the notoriously judgmental eye of the full and half moons.
The self-defense system of krav maga is most closely associated with the Israeli Defense Forces, which has taught the efficient and easy-to-learn combat technique to its members since the 1940s. The system is also popular among civilians, who in the Bay Area can learn beginner through professional level defensive moves from instructors led by veteran Master Shlomi Katz, who was head of krav maga training for the counter terror school of the IDF. In addition to learning krav maga, students can opt for training in other martial arts—MMA for adults and karate for kids—as well as intense fitness classes that combine cross-training, MMA conditioning, weight training, TRX resistance, and more.
Fitness guru Kristen Horler developed Baby Boot Camp after she gave birth to her first child and realized the lack of appropriate prenatal and postnatal training programs currently available. The stroller-based fitness classes are designed to help moms get fit in a supportive and empathetic environment, combining strength-training exercises, cardiovascular drills, Pilates, yoga, and ab work. Eliminating the need for a babysitter and facilitating familial bonding, students are encouraged to bring along their new bundle and even use the stroller as a resistance tool. To ensure your utmost safety, all instructors are highly trained and certified, and the boot camp's structure abides by the guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Council on Exercise.
During his eight years of service in the Marine Corps, Montique Williams led an effort to whip soldiers into shape and to maintain weight standards. The experience made him realize that despite a heavily regimented setting, workouts can affect bodies in different ways. When he helmed his own cross-training program, he applied that lesson to his classes, adjusting drills and motivational strategies to suit each student. Likewise, he tailors his nutrition coaching to different goals and body types, drawing from detailed questionnaires, food journals, and trips to the grocery store to formulate dietary plans.
The NESTA-certified trainer has identified support as the second integral part of an effective exercise regimen. That's why his 45-minute sessions take place in a group environment, where positive encouragement trumps boot-camp-sergeant behavior such as yelling and forcing recruits to take timeouts for not tying their shoes properly.