Here are some snaps of my favorite things about San Francisco. On a cold, gray and rainy day in New York, it’s easy to catch oneself California dreamin’.
Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’
Traveling a lot can involve exercise (mainly in the form of lugging baggage), but it’s often hard to maintain a regular workout schedule when you’re constantly on the road. One way to stay in top shape while roaming is to incorporate The Bar Method into your fitness routine.
The Bar Method is an isometric interval training program that combines elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates. Each grueling, hour-long class is aimed at building the core and working
every major muscle group to exhaustion, then stretching deeply. Celebs such as Drew Barrymore, Dita von Teese and Anna Paquin rave over The Bar Method’s ability to burn fat and sculpt muscle.
One can find Bar Method studios in and around most major cities in the U.S. The cost is pricey, but less so than a personal trainer, and you get what you pay for — this is a workout that does work. It’s an almost zero-impact program that can be modified to fit physical limitations, and like yoga, can be practiced at any age. For the times when you don’t have access to a Bar Method studio, you can pack the Bar Method DVDs for a guided workout on the road. Gear required? Yoga wear (pants must extend below the knees) and socks — not much to fit in your bag.
Recently I visited four Bar Method studios over the course of 10 days and found each upscale, spa-like studio wonderfully consistent. Every class involves the same approach: a focused workout where the instructors constantly offer personal attention, pushing you to your capacity. There is no hiding in the back and phoning it in at the Bar —and that’s true in all classes, everywhere.
Here are the studios I visited and my observations of each:
The Bar Method Englewood — This studio is located in an affluent suburb of New York City. Classes here focus more on stretching than any of the other four studios I visited, with the instructors taking the time to fully explain each stretch and push students to put as much effort into stretching as they do into the isometric exercises. This has been the studio where I’ve been working out most regularly of late, and I’ve seen a dramatic leap in my flexibility as a result.
The Bar Method Vancouver — I visited this studio a few days into its grand opening as the only Bar Method location outside the U.S. This studio reaffirmed The Bar Method’s assertion that the classes are challenging for everyone, no matter what their fitness level. Because the studio and clientele were brand new, the studio offered mostly beginner/ basic classes. However, the goal is to perform the exercises with perfect form, and even if you’ve nailed that, the instructors offer advanced options to make basic moves more challenging. The result is that even an advanced student in a beginner class can get a good workout.
The Bar Method – Downtown San Francisco — I first started taking Bar classes at this location, which is constantly busy. Despite the flow of people coming and going from its glass doors, the Downtown San Francisco staff get to know all their students and their capabilities. Even after I’d been absent for months, upon my return, I was greeted by name by the staff. My instructor commented on my improved form since she’d seen me last — a telling sign of the personal attention each student receives. San Francisco classes seem to me to focus more on demanding butt exercises than other studios.
The Bar Method SoHo — The only Bar Method in New York City is the one where I saw the most men present; most Bar devotees and instructors are women. I often wonder why more guys don’t join Bar Method studios — it’s a great workout for everyone and the studios are hopping with super-fit ladies. My instructor in SoHo was McKenzie, visiting from the Downtown San Francisco studio (and she recognized me, too) — she led my class through a heavily butt-intensive workout typical of San Francisco instructors. It was great to see her in this new context, and a nice reminder that Bar instructors can be mobile, too, and get their travel workout at The Bar just like the rest of us.
It’s a little disconcerting to be posting so much Africa stuff when I’m so far away from there* … and back in San Francisco … so here are some snaps taken locally. One of my favorite places in any city, anywhere, is the Ferry Building, where organic meets om-nom-nom.
* But there are more Africa photos in the hopper, and they will be posted in the near future. Woop woop!
A few snaps of some of the more interesting vehicles spotted lately in the Bay Area …
Just a few snaps of what was goin’ down in the Mission District on Memorial Day. A big, free, sunny public party.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY.
San Francisco doesn’t have as expansive or as thrilling or as foreboding a skyline as a Hong Kong or a New York, but it does have a great skyline. Its buildings are sleek and cool and expressive, lots of them capped with interesting features.
(I write this while coming off a Ferry Building market-meal high: New York strip steak from Prather Meat Co., grilled pineapple and sweet fingerling potatoes from Farm Fresh to You … eating well is another big part of San Francisco’s aesthetic.)
I’ll keep adding to the collection as I continue to explore the city … so this is just Part One.
This week I caught an awesome-as-usual show by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, which performed “RockAria” at the Davies Symphony Hall. I’m a fan of the SFGMC — indeed, anyone who likes music, theater, drama — or, hell, 200 men — would be. I wish the pictures were a little less blurry, but hey, you still get the gist of the show. Rock On, Gay Men.
The Tourism Board of British Columbia brought something extremely cool to San Francisco for a couple weeks this April: urban ziplining at Justin Herman Plaza. It was all part of Tourism BC’s “British Columbia Experience,” a travel promotion that included aboriginal dance, an art installation, and a 680-foot zipline between two portable towers. The zipline was free of charge for the first 500 people per day to show up by 10 AM and get a wristband.
Having ziplined in a rainforest in Laos, I am a hyooooge fan of ziplining, and of course tried to get a wristband. The very cute dude from Whistler with the cool accent, manning the Tourism BC booth, told me that people started showing up at 8 AM to get in line. When I arrived the next morning at 8, though, all 500 people were already there, and the wristbands were gone. “They started getting here at 5 AM,” the Whistler hottie confirmed apologetically.
I was a bit bummed at missing the chance — because no way would I be willing to wake up that ridiculously early for 30 seconds of zip-thrills — but the whole scene was fun anyway, even if you just wanted to show up, hang out in the sunshine and watch the action.
It was the centerpiece to a cool festival atmosphere downtown, and overall an effective way to get people enthused about checking out BC. I thought it was a great idea for British Columbia Tourism to capitalize on all the attention brought on by the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and do these fun promotions. A friend from Canada told me they had urban ziplining in Vancouver during the Olympics, and that all these knuckleheads showed up hours in advance there, too. Guess it’s not just an American thing!
So, I guess now I’ll have to go to British Columbia myself soon and zipline for real. I also have to mention that it seems every person from British Columbia is super cute — either that, or the Tourism BC board totally knows how to promote a location. SOLD!