Haute Top 5: Best Exercise Classes in San Francisco 2017

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Whether you want to practice yoga flow or speed cycling, there are countless ways to do so in SF. Boutique fitness studios are all the rage and thanks to Class Pass, workout classes have never been more easily accessible. If you’re looking to get your sweat on, we recommend doing it at one of our favorite places, listed below.

1 Barry’s Bootcamp

For the best workout of your life head to Barry’s Bootcamp in the Marina, Soma, and coming soon, the Financial District. It’s not called bootcamp for nothing, this is a grueling class that involves timed runs on a treadmill with intensive weight training on the floor. You alternate between treadmill and floor two to three times per class. It’s sweaty and fast-paced, but once you make it through your first class, it’s hard not to become addicted. The endorphin rush ensures that the rest of your day will be positive and you’ll feel as if you can accomplish anything. Plus, Barry’s has an excellent smoothie bar and luxe showers. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never gone, the instructors are welcoming and will explain every thing you need to know before class. Our personal favorite is Michelle—she’s the ideal trainer: she’s super fun, upbeat, encouraging, all-inclusive, and helps push your limits, both physical and mental. Sign up for one of her classes and you won’t be disappointed!

2 Salt Barre Fight

Salt is a year-and-a-half old jewel box of a fitness studio on Divisadero in Nopa. The decor is so chic that people who pass by often mistake it for a spa or restaurant. Founder Melissa Boyd’s signature class is Barre Fight and it’s a fantastic fusion of cardio kickboxing and barre work. The cool thing is the 60-minute workout flows like a dance class. You start with a warm-up that includes difficult plank holds, move to a 12-minute energetic choreographed boxing routine, transition to a traditional barre set, and finish the class with a final high intensity interval cardio push, core, and cool down. Stretches are mixed throughout the routine to ensure that muscles remain long and lean. It’s routine that’s jam-packed with different movements, so it never gets boring. Note that unlike a regular barre class, within the first ten minutes of Barre Fight, you’ll be sweating and because of the cardio routine that often involves jumping, tennis shoes are recommended.

3 Core 40 Full Body

Core 40 is the most difficult pilates class you’ll ever take. Although the workout is only 40-minutes long, it’s so tough you will be sore the next day. The entire routine takes place on a mega reformer, a giant and somewhat intimidating-looking machine. However, the instructor will talk you through it and help you make any adjustments during the class. The workout is a series of slow controlled movements—think deep lunges and side planks—that involve isometric holds and pulsing that rely heavily on core muscles for stability. It’s the sort of class that never really gets easier and your legs, arms, and abs will shake uncontrollably. According to the Core 40 team, it takes three classes for new students to feel comfortable with the weights and pulleys, so don’t be too hard on yourself if the first class feel awkward. Give it a second chance and you’ll soon realize why this is one of the best workouts in SF.

4 Avant-Barre Signature

Avant Barre’s signature class is the ideal workout for those who enjoy practicing pilates, yoga, and ballet. It’s a choreographed constantly-moving routine that involves floor, barre, and center work. Each exercise targets a different part of the body from glutes to quads and requires control and balance. This spring, Avant Barre has launched a new class devoted to stretching. The 45-minute class is designed to increase flexibility, loosen the joints, and improve athleticism and grace. We can't wait to try it out!

5 Basecamp Fitness

If you can’t devote an hour of time to a daily workout, Basecamp Fitness is for you. Classes are 45 minutes long, so you get in, work hard and fast, and get out as quickly as possible. The workout alternates between one minute bursts of cardio on the bike and one minute of strength training. While the bike stays the same, the strength training is more circuit-like and involves use of tools like kettle bells and weights. The rapidly-paced class is 35 minutes long and the final ten minutes is core strength, cool down, and stretching.
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