If the idea of being called a “gym rat” (or the idea of gyms in general) makes you shudder, if your secret Zumba class was just outed, if you haven’t exercised since “Tony Little” and “Billy Blanks” videos made sense…
Fear not, physically fettered friends. Exercise can (and should) be enjoyable, and fitness has become incredibly creative—especially in the Bay Area.
Get out of San Francisco (and out of the box!) with our top six creative workouts in the Bay Area.
1. Stand up Paddle Yoga
Where: 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael or OnBoardSUP in Sausalito
When: Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. (San Rafael); Every day but Tues/Thurs at 9 a.m. (Sausalito)
Why: Practitioners are sure to work up a sweat—the water makes you work harder to balance in each pose (plus, it’s fun). Start or end your day on the Bay, atop a paddle board. Namaste.
How Much: $25 per session
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Directions: To reach 101 Surf Sports (115 Third Street, San Rafael), take Golden Gate Transit Bus 27 or 101 to the San Rafael Transit Center, and from there it’s about a 15-minute walk. Locations vary for OnBoardSUP classes, but you can take the Golden Gate Ferry to Sausalito. Check the schedule for exact locations.
2. Aerial Arts
Where: Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland
When: Classes are offered throughout the day, every day. Check the schedule for individual classes and times.
Why: Whether you study Tight Rope, Contortion, Trapeze, or plain old Modern Dance (and the list goes on!), when you set foot in the circus ring (yes, we said circus ring) you will enjoy your workout.
How Much: $16-32 per drop-in class or $72-165 for a five- or 10-class package
Directions: Take BART (Pittsburgh/Bay Point, Fremont, or Richmond lines) to West Oakland. From there, you can either take the AC Transit Bus 62 to 7th Street/Market or walk about 15 minutes to 785 7th Street.
Where: Studios are located on College Avenue in Rockridge and Lakeshore Boulevard in Oakland
When: A variety of classes are offered daily. Times vary. Check the schedule for more information.
Why: Shake it sisters! It’s women only at this belly-dance-inspired fitness studio (sorry fellas). The friendly and talented instructors will have your pulse up, booty shaking, and smile beaming in no time.
How Much: $18 per drop-in class; monthly and “class pass” packages start at $80.
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Directions: To reach the Rockridge studio, take BART (Pittsburgh/Bay Point line) to Rockridge and walk (about 10 minutes) to 3167 College Avenue. To reach the Oakland location (3720 Lakeshore Avenue), take BART to West Oakland and catch the AC transit bus 26 to Lakeshore/Rosal Avenue, or take the AC Transit NX1 or NL buses to MacArthur/Lakeshore, or the B bus to Lakeshore/Longridge.
Where: Sky High Sports in Santa Clara. (San Francisco also has its own House of Air.)
When: “AIRobics” classes take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9 a.m.
Why: Bounce your cares and calories away and pretend like you’re 10 years old again. “AIRrobics” is low on impact and high on cardio and fun.
How Much: Just $7 per class, or $60 for a 10-class pass
Directions: Take Caltrain to the Santa Clara station, and then the VTA bus 32 to Monroe & Bowers. From there it’s about a 15-minute walk to 2880 Mead Avenue.
5. Rock Climbing
Where: Touchstone Climbing Incorporated has locations in Berkeley, Oakland, Concord, and the Mission District
When: The center offers a variety of climbing and fitness classes. Check the website for times.
Why: Work tiny muscles you didn’t even know you had, while getting over your fear of heights. Bravely belay with a partner and harness, or keep it close to the ground with some bouldering.
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How Much: $30 for an Intro to Climbing class
Directions: The Oakland branch (Great Western Power Company) is the easiest to reach via public transit. Take BART to the 19th St/Oakland stop and walk to 520 20th Street.
6. 5Rhythms Dance
Where: The Moving Center School offers classes at the Jeffrey Bihr Studio in Oakland, the MLK Gym in Sausalito, and at a variety of other locations throughout the Bay Area.
When: Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.; Wednesdays at 7 p.m. (Sausalito); Mondays at 7:30 p.m. (Oakland)
Why: Gabrielle Roth is world renowned for her 5Rhythms dance sequence, which helps people get in tune with their body, mind, and spirit.
How Much: $15 for a walk-in or $90 for a six-class “Sweat Your Prayers” pass
Directions: To reach the MLK Gym in Sausalito (100 Coloma St.) take the Golden Gate Ferry to Sausalito and then the Golden Gate Transit bus 22 to Bridgeway & Coloma Street. To reach the Jeffrey Bihr Studios (5390 Miles Ave.) in Oakland, take BART to Rockridge.