From running up and down the Lyon Street stairs to getting busy at Barry’s Bootcamp, there are countless ways to workout in San Francisco. However, what with the rise of ClassPass, a subscription service that allows users to take different fitness classes all over the city, exercise classes have never been so popular. San Franciscans aren’t going to the gym to run on a trend mill, they are heading to a class where they learn how to box, pose, or dance. Since we know you’re always on the lookout for exciting new fitness experiences, we’d thought we share four workouts that made us sweat in the best kind of way.
Yoga studios in SF are practically as ubiquitous as Starbucks — they are everywhere, so it’s rare to find a new place to practice yoga that really stands out amongst the rest. However, at Studio Ritual in the Empower Gym on Battery Street, you’ll find a yoga class that is unlike any other out there. First off, the studio is dark and lit only by twinkling candles. Second, you don’t have to bring your own mat, the mats are already ready and waiting for class goers. Third, the yoga routines are set to music, much like a dance class. Each class starts with the friendly, positive instructor discussing the intentions of the experience, be it letting go, forgiveness, or fear. The yoga poses that follow are meant to stimulate the body and mind in letting go, finding forgiveness, or overcoming fear. The class is welcoming to both beginners and established yogis and ends with a relaxing meditation session.
Reformer fans should head to the Marina for a class at OnPointe Pilates. Founded by ex-ballerina Kaitlyn Rhoades, OnPointe offers private training as well as highly personalized group classes with only four people per session. Each class starts with an OnPointe instructor asking what class goers want to focus on: Are you having lower back pain? Do you want to increase core strength? Express these thoughts and enjoy a customized pilates class. Rhoades is incredibly approachable and warm and hopes to take exercise to the next level for everyone. Her oldest client is 95 years old! Despite the heavy equipment, the OnPointe studio, with light green walls and sand-colored wood floors, is inviting and unpretentious.
Thanks to matBox, fitness fusion is a trend that we can get behind. MatBox is a new workout that debuted earlier this year at Pilates ProWorks. It combines yoga, kickboxing, and pilates into one action packed 55-minute session. We were skeptical at first – how can yoga and kickboxing coexist? — but after experiencing a class we instantly realized the necessary connection. Hand wraps and gloves are required for the class that begins with a lesson in boxing. After doing a series of kicks and punches, you get down on the floor and do basic pilates movements: high planks, V-holds, and more. You alternate between mat pilates on the ground and punches and kicks standing up. Just when you’re about to give up, the class, which goes by super fast, switches to the yoga portion, a rejuvenating and essential finish to the high intensity workout.
Rae Studios is a compact dance studio on the 7th floor of an industrial building in downtown San Francisco. Our favorite class at Rae takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 pm and every Saturday at 11 am. It’s Cardio Dance by Allie, a sweat-inducing booty-shaking experience that not only forces one to constantly keep moving, but also pushes the dancer mentally. Taking a class is like playing a game of Memory, only Allie knows all the routines by heart and while most of them are easy to pick up and follow along, the more tired you become the harder it is to remember when to pas de bouree versus pivot. Allie is helpful and chill and teaches her class with a no pressure attitude. As long as you keep dancing, even when you don’t know the moves, she’s happy.