Best of the East Bay - Fitness
I managed the three laps around the park in Dublin Ranch and the two circuits of lunges and push-ups. My breaking point came when Deborah Sandoval, the owner of Tri-Valley Adventure Boot Camp for Women, directed me and the four other students to frog-jump across the sand-filled volleyball pit.
After one jump from a squatting position, my thighs screamed. Still, I pushed myself to do two more frog jumps. Class ended a few minutes later, at 6:30 a.m. My lungs were filled with fresh morning air, the sun was just starting to fill the sky, and I felt very much like the few and the proud.
Boot camps are springing up all over the East Bay. They offer intensive coed or women-only courses that last several weeks and take place outdoors, rain or shine. Despite their hard-core reputation, boot camps are appropriate for students of all ages and fitness goals.
Tri-Valley Adventure Boot Camp for Women, (925) 518-3434, www.trivalleybootcamp.com ; Contra Costa Adventure Boot Camp, (925) 457-4587, www.contracostabootcamp.com ; Bay Area Boot Camp, (415) 567-7411, www.bayareabootcamp.com. —Martha Ross
Fitness Dance Class for Adults
At Karina Paz’s Latin Jazz dance class in Lafayette on Thursday mornings, exercise is joy, fun, grace, beauty, and awesome Latin music turned up loud. Paz incorporates moves from salsa, flamenco, jazz, and ballet into a class that not only provides great stretching and cardio but also a quick trip to a Latin American state of mind.
Latin Jazz, Rhythm Room, 3330 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-4801, www.rhythmroomdance.com. —Michaela Jarvis
Butt scorching is probably a better description for this workout. The Bar Method uses intense strengthening moves—inspired by ballet, yoga, and Pilates—and has won fans among Hollywood red-carpet divas and local women wanting to look trim in their power suits or when reporting for room-mom duties.
At a friendly and spacious studio in Walnut Creek, the classes last an hour and put students through a series of exercises with precise, repetitive moves that take place at the barre or on the floor and use the body’s own weight as resistance. Some of the moves leave your muscles trembling—especially after the 50th rep—but it’s all for the sake of burning fat, increasing stamina, and looking fabulous.
The Bar Method, 1946-A Mt. Diablo Blvd., (925) 933-1946, www.barmethod.com .
Deluxe Fitness Center You Don’t Have to Join
There’s no hefty membership fee required to work out at the classy, two-year-old sports and fitness center on Livermore’s East Avenue. That’s because the 71,000-square-foot Robert Livermore Community Center is open to anyone, including people who live outside Livermore.
The center has topflight exercise facilities: a double gymnasium for shooting baskets or playing volleyball; men’s and women’s locker rooms; a 25-yard outdoor pool that’s open all year; and studios offering a range of exercise classes to students of all ages. To get fit at the center, you just need to pay for the services you want to use—for example, $4 to swim in the pool or $45 for six salsa classes. The center also boasts some nice extras: a kids aquatic playground with a 22-foot-high waterslide, on-site babysitting services, and a café. In the surrounding Robert Livermore Community Park are tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, and baseball fields.
Robert Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Ave., Livermore, (925) 373-5700, www.larpd.dst.ca.us. —M.R.
I have a whole new respect for strippers. Pole dancing is physically demanding and uses muscles you never knew you had.
In the introductory class at Pole Time Studio in Lafayette, we started on the floor, learning such moves as Bad Kitty, which is similar to the yoga back arch known as the Cat, except this cat has one thing on her mind.
Then, with the Pussycat Dolls and Justin Timberlake blaring in the background, we learned how to slink across the room to the pole. There, we were taught to perform the Fireman Twirl, a move that starts out like Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain but soon loses its G rating. No question, pole dancing will tone your body and build core strength. You’ll also start to feel pretty sexy doing some of the moves.
Pole Time Studio, 1008-A Oak Hill Rd., Lafayette, (925) 212-1044, www.poletimestudio.com . —Keeley Dawson
More Reader Picks
Renaissance ClubSport, 2805 Jones Rd., Walnut Creek, (925) 938-8700, www.clubsports.com/renaissance.
Debbie Lindsay, Tribez, 111 Town and Country Dr., Ste. G, Danville, (925) 362-8600, www.tribezsalon.com.
VQ Fit Pros, (925) 969-1595, www.vqfitpros.com .
Angie Catton, World Yoga, 1530 S. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-9642, www.world-yoga.com , and Renaissance ClubSport, 2805 Jones Rd., Walnut Creek, (925) 938-8700, www.clubsports.com/renaissance.
After a session with Renaissance ClubSport nutritionist Laura Bartron, you’ll know how to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. But you’ll still face challenges once you hit Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and even Whole Foods. So many choices, especially of products that boast of being “healthy” and “lite.” Some of those claims are misleading, says Bartron. So she now takes clients on tours of Walnut Creek grocery stores to show them how to be smart food consumers. Here are some of her shopping tips.
Read the fine print: In big, bright letters, a package might boast that the bread is “whole grain.” As with every packaged food, Bartron suggests that you read the fine print in the ingredients listing and the nutrition panel. You might find high concentrations of sodium, sugar, and fat. With particular regard to that “whole-grain” bread, you might find that one of the first ingredients listed is “enriched flour.” Says Bartron: “That means it was originally made from whole grain, and then it was so processed that they needed to enrich it because they stripped all the nutrients from it.”
Be wary of “nonfat”: If you want to indulge in a sweet dairy treat, “you’re better off going with the real thing: all-natural ice-cream,” she says. The nonfat and reduced-calorie yogurts and ice creams are overly processed and high in sugars. Likewise, other nonfat products, even salad dressings, are high in sugar and preservatives.
Seasonal? Local? If you’re dying for tomatoes in November, don’t deny yourself the hothouse imports from South America. At the same time, tomatoes harvested in Brentwood in the summer will taste better—and be better for you. “If you buy seasonal, local produce, it’s going to have more nutrients than something shipped from far away,” she says.
To set up store tours with Bartron, call (925) 942-6366 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours are $65 per person or $35 per person in groups of up to three. You don’t need to be a ClubSport member.