Best New Workout Studios
Here are six new East Bay fitness studios where you can get your sweat on in the New Year.
On nearly every corner, you’ll find a new drop-in fitness studio offering a unique and challenging workout. Take advantage of the New Year, and jump into a healthier you with a cardio, toning, or sculpting class at one of these new spots—without having to become a member.
Sweat Level Ratings
Open Barre Fitness, Walnut Creek
Sweat level: ^^^ (Straight Up Barre)
This locally owned studio offers more than just your average barre class. It incorporates dance, high-
intensity interval training (HIIT), and boot camp workouts into traditional barre work for a nontraditional barre experience.
Classes offered: One-hour HIIT the Barre; 45-minute or one-hour Straight Up Barre; 45-minute or one-hour Barre Burn; one-hour Barre Bootcamp.
Provided: Changing rooms, lockers and cubbies, towels.
Bring: Water bottle, sticky socks (available for purchase at the studio, $15, or go barefoot).
What to expect: The fast-paced Straight Up Barre class uses traditional ballet-inspired movements to strengthen arm, leg, booty, and abdominal muscles. First class free, drop-in classes $20, memberships available, or purchase classes in bulk; openbarrefitness.com.
Sweat level: ^^^
Don’t confuse this workout with Pilates: Owner Tiffany Ma has brought the Lagree Fitness Method to the Tri-Valley. The Lagree Method focuses on full-body conditioning through sequential resistance and counter-resistance movements, encouraging maximum muscle exertion with a low injury risk while improving posture, flexibility, and alignment.
Classes offered: 50-minute Sculpt50 Total Body; 40-minute Sculpt50 Total Body Express; 50-minute Sculpt50 Foundation.
Provided: Megaformer body weight machines, changing rooms, lockers and cubbies, towels.
Bring: Water bottle, sticky socks (available for purchase at the studio, $15–$18).
What to expect: Sculpt50 classes take place on the Megaformer (think Pilates reformer, but with two stationary ends and a moving middle carriage), turning slow, low-impact body movements into sculpting, toning, and muscle-elongating exercises. First class $18, drop-in class $38, or purchase classes in bulk; sculpt50.com.
Beyond Health and Fitness Studio, Walnut Creek
Sweat level: ^^^^ (Buns and Guns)
Owner Fred Merrida has been a personal trainer for more than 10 years, and his experience with hands-on training shows in the specialized workouts offered at Beyond Health. This studio allows for personal training and intimate classes (no more than eight people per class), ranging from yoga to circuit training.
Classes offered: One-on-one training and group classes, including 50-minute Down to the Core; 45-minute Morning Wake Circuit; 50-minute Mix HIIT Up!; 50-minute Yoga (vinyasa flow); 30-minute Lunch Circuit Express; and 50-minute Buns and Guns.
Provided: Changing rooms, lockers and cubbies, towels.
Bring: Water bottle.
What to expect: Buns and Guns, a high-intensity full-body circuit training class, will tone your arms and booty. Expect stations that alternate between arm and backside/leg work, with occasional outdoor cardio. First class free, or purchase classes in bulk; beyondhealth.fitness.
Sweat level: ^^^^ (Move!)
This local dance troupe finally has a space of its own. Funkmode opened a spacious, graffiti-filled studio in November, offering a place for dancers of all
ages and skill levels. Take a group class with the enthusiastic staff, who rotate choreography to high-energy songs. (Think Justin Bieber and Reel 2 Real.) Stay tuned for more classes and class times, including shortened dance sessions during lunch hour.
Classes offered: Adult classes: 90-minute Hip-Hop; 60-minute Intro to Hip-Hop; 90-minute Jazz (two levels); 60-minute Move! (cardio dance).
Provided: Changing rooms (bathrooms), lockers and cubbies.
Bring: Water bottle, towel.
What to expect: We recommend Move! No dance experience is required in this upbeat, quick-paced class. Sweat it out as you dance to pop, rap, oldies, and more. During Move! Minute, dance as fast as you can for 60 seconds, and get your heart pumping as you groove. Classes are held in 12-week sessions and start at $175; funkmode.com.
SoulCycle, Walnut Creek
Sweat level: ^^^^^
Low lighting, infectiously upbeat instructors, heart-pounding music, major sweat sesh—it’s no wonder SoulCycle has garnered a cult following. In August, the cycling chain opened its first East Bay studio in Broadway Plaza, where you can sweat it out as you spin to the beat.
Classes offered: 45-minute SoulCycle ride and the occasional themed class, such as Rihanna vs. Calvin Harris and 2000’s Pop.
Provided: Changing rooms, lockers, towels, water bottles, and showers.
Bring: Cycling shoes, water bottle (both available for purchase).
What to expect: Be ready to ride out of the saddle for most of the class. During the arms section (yes, arms), opt for a lower weight (we recommend two-pounders) during the roughly four-minute song. Trust us: Your biceps and triceps will hurt. First class $20, drop-in class $30, or purchase classes in bulk; soul-cycle.com.
Sweat level: ^^^^^
CycleBar’s first East Bay location is all about fostering community. Linger with fellow riders by the snack bar, where you’ll find Blue Bottle and Peet’s coffee, and other goodies. Then, race your classmates during the sprints section of class. (Your stats and rankings will show up on a screen and be e-mailed to you after class.) Stick around on Fridays after the happy hour ride, when suds from Jupiter and other local spots are served on the patio.
Classes offered: 50-minute Classic ride; 50-minute Performance ride; 50-minute Connect ride.
Provided: Cycling shoes, changing rooms, lockers, towels, water bottles, and showers.
What to expect: CycleBar encourages chatting with other riders before or after class. Expect loud music, lots of isolated leg work, and an arms section. Oh, and some rides are deejayed. Two free 30-minute intro classes offered every week, drop-in class $27, or purchase classes in bulk; cyclebar.com.
A Chat With Lashaun Dale
VP of Content and Programming at 24 Hour Fitness
Works: San Ramon
Lashaun Dale is known for her ability to predict the next big thing in fitness. That’s why East Bay–based 24 Hour Fitness lured her away from the Big Apple to bring in fresh new classes to San Ramon. We talk with the mom of two about new programs and how she stays healthy.
Q: What is the next big thing in fitness?
A: Fusion is back, [but] with a twist. It’s not just the typical mind-body fusion, but fusion of anything that adds leverage or more specific outcomes to a class.
Training for a specific outcome allows for different class durations. So, maybe you want to get cardio in today: We can design a 15-minute mobility or warm-up cross-training experience that revs up your mind and prepares your body for your workout. Our new programs are intended to get you connected, create community, and challenge you physically at whatever level you fall into.
Q: What are some new programs at 24 Hour Fitness?
A: We just rolled out POP Pilates [a Pilates class set to Top 40 hits]. Our members are going crazy for the new barre class, Bootybarre [a barre fusion class]—we can’t get it out the door fast enough. We’re also looking to offer more regenerative classes, more stretching and meditation types of classes.
Q: What do you do to stay healthy?
A: I’m a yogi, a flow junky. I meditate twice a day. It helps me stay exactly where I need to be and gives me energy. I have two children, so that’s important. I get my glow on from the inside out. 24hourfitness.com.
Pure Barre opened a Walnut Creek studio in April—its third East Bay location. Orangetheory Fitness added Dublin and Lafayette locations last year, and (as of press time) had locations planned for Alamo, Berkeley, Concord, and Emeryville.