2021 Best of the East Bay: Fitness | Health + Wellness







Saber Jiu Jitsu Academy in Concord offers classes for all ages.




BEST SPORT ON THE UPSWING

Top golf courses for pros and novices alike.

While gyms closed their doors and sports organizations postponed their seasons, golf courses were among the few sites able to open again shortly after COVID hit. As a result, golf — one of the few socially distanced sports — has become more popular. Even though most courses were shut down for a few months in 2020, there was a 14 percent increase from the previous year in total rounds played in the United States — plus a record-breaking three million people played on a course for the first time.

In the East Bay, this golf craze was no different, as quarantine forced us to look for ways to spend more time outdoors. For newcomers interested in hopping on the bandwagon, acquire a set of clubs and head to one of the many beautiful courses in the region. In Walnut Creek, Boundary Oak and Diablo Hills are local favorites, as they are two of the top-rated public courses in all of Northern California. In Livermore Valley wine country, play at the Course at Wente Vineyards (the greens are immaculate) and Poppy Ridge (the sister course of Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach). playboundaryoak.com, diablohillsgolfcourse.com, wentevineyards .com, poppyridgegolf.com.







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Livermore’s Poppy Ridge features three nine-hole courses: the Merlot, the Chardonnay, and the Zinfandel.




Or check out Berkeley’s historic Tilden Park, which offers an enjoyable experience for players of all levels, plus a three-tiered driving range for practice. There are also plenty of private country club courses in the area that can’t be overlooked, such as Blackhawk, Round Hill, and Diablo— all championship courses that boast breathtaking views. tildenparkgc.com, black hawkcc.org, rhcountryclub.com, diablocc.org.







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CrossFit Danville




READERS ‘PICKS

GYM / SPORTS CLUB

CrossFit Danville, San Ramon, cfdanville.com.

The CrossFit Danville community brings so much joy to my life! Workouts of the day are challenging, and owner dusty ensures your form is quality while being your biggest fan. “Callie Perry, Danville.”

Runner-up | Oakwood Athletic Club, Lafayette, oakwoodathleticclub.com.







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Jewel




YOGA STUDIO

Jewel, multiple locations, joyayoga.com.

I love [Joya] because they made outdoor workouts safely available during the pandemic. Their hard work brought health and joy into a very dark time for many people. Everyone who works at the studio is kind, accepting, and encouraging. I’m a mom of two little ones, and my time at Joya is mine and it’s awesome. Thanks, joy! –Katherine Miller, Livermore

Runner-up | Just Be Yoga, Danville and Walnut Creek, myjustbeyoga.com.

CYCLING STUDIO

Jewel, multiple locations, joyayoga.com.

Runner-up | StarCycle, Danville, starcycleride.com/studios/danville-ca.







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The Bar Method




PILATES / BARRE STUDIO

The Bar Method, multiple locations, barmethod.com.

Runner-up | The Dailey Method, multiple locations, thedaileymethod.com.

DANCE STUDIO

The Ballet School Performing Arts, Walnut Creek, danceschoolwalnutcreek.com.

Runner-up | Funkmode, Concord, funkmode.com.

MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO

Saber Jiu Jitsu Academy, I agree, sabrebjj.com.

Runner-up | One Tribe Martial Arts Academy, Concord, onetribemartialarts.com.

VIRTUAL WORKOUT

The Bar Method, multiple locations, barmethod.com.

Runner-up | Beyond Fitness Online, Walnut Creek, beyondfitnessonline.com.

OUTDOOR GYM OR BOOT CAMP

Oakland Adventure Boot Camp, Oakland, oaklandbootcamp.com.

Runner-up | Unbound Training Company, Lafayette, unboundtrainingco.com.

TRAINING STAFF

Beyond Fitness Online, Walnut Creek, beyondfitnessonline.com.

Runner-up | NGU Personal Training, Walnut Creek, ngupersonaltraining.com.

EDITORS ‘PICKS

BEST HIKE TO A WATERFALL

Ohlone Wilderness Trail, Livermore

For a heart-pumping outdoor workout, head to Del Valle Regional Park to take the 13.1-mile round-trip hike to Murietta Falls, the Bay Area’s highest waterfall. It’s a difficult trek through backcountry, but the views are well worth the effort. Start at Lichen Bark picnic area and take the Sailor Camp Trail, which then becomes the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. While the falls are accessible all year round, save the experience for the winter or spring, when the weather isn’t as hot and there is guaranteed to be water. However, if you are into it for the exercise and beautiful scenery along the way, this trip is a great choice at any time. ebparks.org.

BEST PLACE TO SERVE IT UP

Lifetime Activities, Pleasanton and Walnut Creek

With two locations in the East Bay (six total throughout the Bay Area), Lifetime Activities is the place to go for most sports that require a racket. Along with Ping-Pong, pickleball, and badminton, the main highlight at both the Walnut Creek and Pleasanton spots is tennis, with more than 10 lighted courts, ball machine rentals, a practice wall, and full-service pro shops. Call ahead to make a reservation (you’ll get 45 minutes to an hour and a half on a court), register for lessons, or check out the adult and junior tennis leagues. lifetimeactivities.com.

MOST ANTICIPATED SPOT TO SWEAT

Yoga Flow, Walnut Creek

Calling all yogis, yoginis, and anyone else ready to get their sweat on. Yoga Flow, a popular family-run studio with three outlets in San Francisco, has just arrived at South California Boulevard in Walnut Creek. Focused on vinyasa yoga — a practice that involves transitioning between poses using breath — all classes are heated and fast-paced, and provide a full-body workout and moving meditation. While its offerings may seem challenging, the studio has plenty of classes and workshops for beginners (and kids) as well. So, after a stressful year, work on your strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. Just remember to breathe. yogaflowsf.com.

MOST INCLUSIVE GYM

Radically Fit, Oakland

As a gym for the LGBTQ + community, people of color, and folks who identify as big-bodied, Oakland’s Radically Fit creates a safe and empowering workout space for everyone. After falling in love with fitness, founder Luca Page wanted to share their passion with others and create a body-positive culture. Various class options include Expanding Through Dance, Trans / GNC Mind Body Alignment, and BBQ – Black and Brown Queerz. Radically Fit even ensures financial accessibility, as no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Memberships can be priced on a sliding scale, and reduced-rate personal training is offered. radicallyfitoakland.com.







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Get some laps in at the Richmond Plunge, a historic swim center.




BEST POOL FOR SWIMMING LAPS

Richmond Plunge, Richmond

Established in 1926, the historic Richmond Municipal Natatorium, commonly known as the Richmond Plunge, is the Bay Area’s largest and oldest heated indoor pool. After closing in 1978 due to deterioration, the building was further damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. However, after years of restoration, the swim center finally reopened its doors in 2010 — the pool is now 60 by 160 feet and features a beautiful mural of the Miller / Knox Regional Shoreline lagoon as its backdrop. Since then, the Plunge has remained a local favorite, with 13 lanes for lap swimming, swim lessons, aqua Zumba, swim teams, and more. Be sure to reserve a lane online in advance.ci.richmond.ca.us.

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