MyGym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 months) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. MyGym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Art Steps' five-tiered educational program cultivates creative flowering with lessons that carefully build from foundational skills to full-fledged mastery. Introductory classes assess initial ability before pupils move on to basic drawing and painting lessons that deliver a strong understanding of line, color, and tone. Once students master art techniques and can make a flat image look 3D, oil lessons give advanced students the opportunity to learn trickier painting techniques and study the masters. Independent study allows ambitious students to build their portfolio and prep for applications to art school.
Fibo Kids Art Academy’s instructors teach kids aged 4–18 the finer points of art with the Fibonacci method, crafting individual curricula within a peer setting, bolstered by doses of art history. They tailor the lessons to each student's interests, strengths, and weaknesses, placing kids in small groups for creative interaction with their peers.
To build a foundation for their skills, the instructors engage youngsters in in-depth art-history lessons that expose them to the paintings, drawings, and techniques of both past and current masters from movements such as impressionism and cubism. In addition to year-round afterschool classes, the academy offers one-week intensive summer camps that cover topics such as fashion design, anime and cartooning, and drawing on a sibling's face while he or she sleeps.
The trainers at Precision Fitness believe that achieving wellbeing is a deeply individual process. For this reason, they work only with small groups of students, avoiding the intimidating bustle that’s common at most gyms and instead facilitating focused, nonjudgmental sessions. The intimate setting allows them to create exercise regimens for patrons of all walks of life, from those with little gym experience to seasoned athletes or brides-to-be. Their programs typically involve a mix of cardiovascular and weight training, as well as nutrition tips for healthier long-term diets that don't just advise patrons to eat two apples a day. Though they embrace a private atmosphere during lessons, group activities outside of the gym, such as bowling outings and dinner parties, encourage a sense of community among their clients.
With locations in San Ramon and Lafayette, internationally recognized Itrim helps members lose weight quickly and keep it off by combining healthy meal plans with a specialized exercise center. Unlike other weight-loss programs that stop when clients have reached their goal, Itrim recognizes that most people still need guidance when it comes to maintaining their svelte figures. So their health coaches and staff take the time to provide hands-on support and give members tips for incorporating healthy eating and exercise into their daily routine. By following these tips and the rest of the program, Itrim says members can lose an average of 25 pounds in the first 12 weeks.
Shawn Crawford has been climbing for more than 40 years, working with wilderness search and rescue at age 13 and later serving as a park ranger. Today, he’s the owner and head instructor at Rock City Climbing, where he puts his American Mountaineering and Guiding Association certification to use as he teaches climbers of all experience levels techniques of top-rope climbing, belaying, rappelling, and bouldering.
Inside a gym equipped with more than 10,000 feet of climbing walls, as well as top-rope and bouldering areas, students learn basic and advanced climbing techniques in a range of classes. As they climb, instructors introduce techniques such as hand and foot placement and what to do if gravity starts working in reverse. Visitors can leave the main floor to explore a tunnel maze behind the climbing walls, filled with trap doors, narrow passageways, and drops of up to 11 feet.
When not overseeing his gym, Shawn leads outdoor climbing excursions to challenging locales such as Joshua Tree, Riverside Quarry, and the Statue of Liberty. He also oversees a nearby ropes course, where staffers help groups and individuals navigate two ziplines, as well as more than 20 aerial challenges at heights of up to 60 feet.
Flooded by dozens of green and cool-blue stage lights, the 2,500-square-foot stage at The Music Hall looks like a platform fit for even the most lauded rockers. Constructed by musicians, for musicians, The Music Hall contains an acoustically treated live room and production stage equipped with side-fill monitors, a mixing console, and an outboard system with equalizers and effects. A professional lighting system allows whoever is using the space to customize the look to their act, making it an ideal venue for musical shows, special events, and performances. The Music Hall also boasts a school staffed by professional musicians who conduct lessons in voice, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, as well as workshops for subjects such as songwriting and music theory.