100 California (at Davis), 434-5080
303 Second St. (at Folsom), 543-7808
350 Bay (at Powell), 395-9595
1850 Ocean (at Ashton), 334-1400
1645 Bryant (at 16th St.), 437-4188
1200 Van Ness (at Post), 776-2200
3741 Buchanan (at Bay), 563-3535
2145 Market (at Church), 864-0822
This basic fitness chain provides an affordable alternative to fancier and more conceptual city gyms and exercise clubs, and most locations offer a respectable range of classes and facilities. But check before you head out because, despite the name, not each location is open 24/7.
150 Greenwich (at Sansome), 433-2200, www.sfbayclub.com
If you're fickle about your sporting choices, the Bay Club has plenty of options to flit among, with an aquatic center and facilities for Pilates, circuit training, basketball, squash, and tennis. Bay Clubs also offer useful amenities that are uncommon elsewhere: childcare, laundry service, and Financial District shuttle.
1300 Sutter (at Van Ness), 440-1800, www.bodytonicSF.com
Workouts and classes for both body and soul are available at this beautiful facility, which boasts 20,000 square feet of floor space for circuit training; exercise classes such as kickboxing, step, and cycling; and mind/body classes such as Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and Feldenkrais.
Bootcamp San Francisco
1052 Jackson (mailing address), 921-8537, www.bootcampsf.com
These six-week courses (four days a week for six weeks) take "privates" outside for intensive cross-training sessions geared toward toning -- double-quick -- whether one is beginning to get in shape or needs to blast past the present plateau.
Cathedral Hill Plaza Athletic Club
1333 Gough (at Geary), 346-3868, www.chpacinc.com
Swimming and tennis feature alongside classes in Feldenkrais, Pilates, Iyengar yoga, sculpting, and various forms of aquatic fitness and cross training in this luxurious (but not greedily so) club. Free pass available on the Web site.
1 Sansome (at Sutter), 399-1010
450 Golden Gate (at Larkin), 876-1010
Embarcadero Center 2 (at Davis), 788-1010
1755 O'Farrell (at Fillmore), 749-1010
950 California (at Mason), 834-1010
535 Mason (at Post), 337-1010
350 Third St. (at Folsom), 512-1010
Whether you are getting into racquet sports, aquatics, or volleyball, toning up solo through circuit training, or joining a like-minded group in a mind/body class, Club One has elaborate options that vary from location to location. Schedule a free visit through the Web site.
Cole Valley Fitness
957 Cole (at Parnassus), 665-3330
This facility serves a stylish, hilly, and gastronomically tempting neighborhood with straight-ahead, non-gimmick equipment and space for serious cardiovascular and weight training (i.e., no dance or other sorts of classes).
1000 Van Ness (at O'Farrell)
61 New Montgomery (at Mission)
This national chain with a Hollywood reputation is one of the more fun clubs around, with fairly new, Internet-savvy equipment, creative classes (cardio striptease, anyone?), and friendly workouts for all levels.
638 Stanyan (at Page), 221-6932
1874 Market (at Laguna), 431-4693
2300 Clement (at 24th Ave.), 387-9000
555 Buckingham Way (at Stonestown Shopping Center), 681-2145
2529 Van Ness (at Union), 771-0445
This national franchise of fitness centers for women of all sizes and abilities has grown in popularity in recent years due to its demanding 30-minute workout system, which includes exercises on water-based hydraulic machines that provide double-positive push and pull resistance for rewarding results with less overall time.
1001 Brannan (at Division), 552-4653
2301 Market (at Noe), 626-4488
The muscle gym originally birthed almost 40 years ago in California's Venice, Gold's is now the largest franchised gym in the world (three-million-plus members) and keeps up-to-date with tech-savvy offerings such as online workout planning and modern weights and equipment. Gold's seems to have lost a bit of its intimidating, iron-pumping bulldog image a bit over the years, too (which is a positive, in our opinion).
Golden Gate Fitness
More than 60 classes a week (with consumer-friendly names like "Love Your Ass" and "Kick Some Booty") and a complete gym area keep this Sunset facility active with members of all ability levels. This club has also just introduced a health science program to help integrate diet and nutrition with physical regimens.
2830 Polk (at Union), 292-5444
2324 Chestnut (at Scott), 292-8470
2450 Sutter (at Divisadero), 474-2699, www.gorillasports.com
Dave Fox's nine-year-old Gorilla Sports (which offers a free guest pass online) pioneered the Kwando workout, a hybrid of tae kwon do and aerobics. Gorilla is noted as a strong center for classes and instruction in boxing and kickboxing, but it also has such mind/body staples as Pilates and Yoga. The Polk Street location, in the renovated Alhambra Theatre, screens films while you work out.
Pacific Heights Health Cub
2356 Pine (at Fillmore), 563-6694, www.ph2c.com
PH2C keeps a limited membership (and relatively limited hours) to prevent the overcrowding all too common at fitness centers below the Heights. A complete renovation two years ago has the place looking very fresh. Health screening and physiological testing help set members up for top-notch personal strength and toning training.
315 Sutter, 3rd Floor
Owner Jennifer Stacey founded the first classical Pilates centers in the Bay Area in 1989. An exercise physiologist, she has taught Pilates for 15 years. Peak Performance has been named "Best of the Bay Area," "The premiere Pilates studio in the City," and "The top spot for Pilates" by the press. It is known for high quality, experienced teachers, respect for the classic method, and integration of medical knowledge into programs.
1 Post (at Montgomery), 781-4600
345 Spear (at Folsom), 495-1939, www.pinnaclefitness.com
Quick-fix folks beware: Pinnacle (a division of Bally's) believes more in the power of extending your life by years than in relieving your body of a few pounds quickly, and its numerous mind/body and traditional sports offerings reflect that philosophy. Chiropractic evaluations available.
Valencia St. Muscle & Fitness
333 Valencia (at 14th St.), 626-8360, www.valenciastreetmuscle.com
Serious exercise happens in this building, and Valencia St. Muscle & Fitness welcomes those with Amazonian goals, from developing the endurance and skills for a triathlon to bulking up hard-core with some power-lifting maneuvers. Free one-week pass available on the Web site.
855 Sacramento (at Stockton), 576-9622
169 Steuart (at Howard), 957-9622
4080 Mission (at Alemany), 586-6900
360 18th Ave. (at Geary), 666-9622
333 Eucalyptus (at 20th Ave.), 242-7100
220 Golden Gate (at Leavenworth), 885-0460, www.ymca.net
Of course, the "Y" locations vary in atmosphere and quality, with the Embarcadero branch at the top of the heap for its strong aquatics program, a cardio room with a spectacular view of the bay, and group classes including Nia, boot camp, and yoga. But the Chinatown location underwent a massive renovation last year, and every S.F. Y has a positive to offer.