I’m the first to admit that I’m a workout whore. From marathons to mud runs to trampoline fitness (not my most graceful moment), I’ve spent years trying (almost) every workout in the city. But even though a shiny new studio pops up every day, there are a few that I keep going back to again and again...because they’re awesome. Here are my favorites.
If you want...cardio & strength training
Barry’s Bootcamp (SOMA) Oh Barry’s. I love you even though I fear you. Sprinting at breakneck speed on a treadmill, hoisting heavy weights until your muscles scream...all while not-so-subtly ogling your ultra-hot instructor. You’ll leave feeling like a limp dishrag, but will probably come back for more. Fave instructors: Erica, Alvin and Nicole
TRX Training Center (Russian Hill) Full-body toning with TRX straps plus high-intensity cardio intervals to get your heart rate up. Tons of modifications so you can customize the workout to your fitness level. Fave instructors: Lielan and Jamel
Polk Street Boxing Gym(Nob Hill) No scented candles or dry shampoo here. This boxing gym is old-school and hard-core, and so are its workouts. Circuit Training mixes bodyweight work with stuff like jumping rope and ladder crawls so you’ll feel like a total badass. Fave instructors: Simon and Hank
If you want...Spin
SoulCycle (Cow Hollow, SOMA) The mother of all cycling. Packed pitch-black classes, amazing music, punishing arm work with weights, and instructors that could double as motivational speakers. You’ll leave drenched in sweat and feeling strangely wonderful about life. Fave instructors: Kasey and Kamelle
BodyRok (Marina) A polished and intimate studio with candles, fast beats and weights for arm work (bonus: the studio also features Megaformer Pilates and combo classes). Fave instructors: Katie and Ashley
Crunch Polk Street (Russian Hill) There’s a reason The Ride fills up in a hot minute. Super dark studio, flashing lights, pulsing music, and high energy all around. Fave instructor: Jorge
If you want...Pilates
Burn (Russian Hill, Mission, Inner Sunset, Hayes Valley) I’m a Burn instructor, but I promise I’m not biased – this workout is seriously great and HARD. A heart-pumping mix of cardio, free weights, ab work and Pilates with a mounted springboard. And no two classes are the same, which keeps your muscles (and you) guessing.
Core40 (Nob Hill, SOMA, Lower Pac Heights) One word: LOVE. 40 challenging minutes on a state-of-the-art Megaformer until your obliques and legs are jelly (bonus: the studio also offers Spin and combo classes.) Fave instructors: Laura, Jon, Melody, Madison
Pilates ProWorks (Marina, FiDi) You want Pilates? You got it - whether it’s on the Reformer, infused into a barre class, paired with boxing or mixed with TRX. Love how they feature so many ways to work your core. Fave instructor: Skipp
If you want...barre
Pop Physique (Russian Hill, Mission) Beautiful studio with hardwood floors and chandeliers, and majorly tough workout with straps, squishy pink balls and light weights. Fave instructor: Kaitlin
Pure Barre (Marina, Sunset) Intense and fast-paced workout with weights, loops and a firm ball. The ab work is serious business, and the loud catchy music is amaze.
The Dailey Method (Cow Hollow, FiDi, Castro, Ingleside Terrace) Form and technique are everything at this OG studio which includes weights, a firm ball and a strap. Tiny pulsing movements will make your thighs, arms, and pretty much everything else tremble. Fave instructor: Katina
If you want...yoga
The Pad (Cow Hollow) A spacious and serene studio with a great variety of offerings, including sweaty power yoga, special yoga retreats, hip hop yoga and even outdoor yoga at Off the Grid in the Presidio (bonus: they also have Pilates). Fave instructors: Caitlin and Ellie
CorePower Yoga (SOMA) Welcome to Sweat City. A seriously tough workout in a gorgeous, brand-new space including hardwood floors and a mini Lulu boutique in the lobby. Power yoga with weights that leaves you drenched and glowing? Count me in (bonus: your first week is free)
BodyTemp Yoga (Marina) You know what you need after work on Friday (in addition to an entire bottle of wine)? A soothing candlelit hot yoga class, obvi. This is your place. During the rest of the week, head here for intense sculpting and power yoga.
If you want...to be outside
Basic Training (various locations) This outdoor boot camp is the best way to experience the beauty of San Francisco. Run up the Lyon Street Steps, lunge around the Palace of Fine Arts...plus the people and the community feel are just wonderful. Highly recommend. Fave instructors: Jenn and Alex
OnBoard SUP (Sausalito) Imagine doing downward dog, planks, and savasana on a floating stand-up paddleboard, watching seals and the sun rise over the bay. Gorgeous, peaceful, surreal...and a core workout to stay balanced (and dry). Warning: not for the faint of heart.
Run! (Everywhere) It’s hard to imagine a better city to run in. We’ve got Crissy Field, Embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, the Great Highway and so many more fun paths. Just grab your sneakers, hit the pavement, and go (check out my favorite stairs to run here).
Want to try any of these workouts before committing to a long-term relationship? Check out ClassPass – I’m a big fan.
And please note: I have not actually taken every single class in the city, nor have I met every instructor. I know there are many more awesome workouts and teachers out there, so please let me know your favorites in the comments below!