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Two Intense Workouts at Hayes Valley's Informed Body

Though I am not a marathoner, it seems an increasing amount of my friends are. Training includes not only running ridiculous distances, but adding in ample cross-training to prevent injury. Tucked away in Hayes Valley, Informed Body is an intimate exercise studio specializing in Pilates, yoga, and personal training. Pilates may be a fine workout for overall fitness,  but Kettlebell and Gyrotonics are two completely different, wholly effective stretch and strength workouts ideal for the avid runner. 

Kettlebell

The idea of lifting a medieval cast-iron cannonball with a handle, rather than my usual soft, turquoise five pounders, was intimidating. Always up for a challenge, once I met Informed Body's Kettlebell instructor, Cecilia Tom, I was at ease. She's tiny, I'm 5'9”, if she can do this, I can do this.

In my introductory class we reviewed past injuries and Cecilia spoke of the principles of movement and strengthening skills. We began with some simple swings, breathing techniques, and mat and bar work; it's amazing how much difference five more pounds makes. I was already sweating and my heart rate was up — this workout should not be done postprandial after lunch at The Boxing Room.

With a background in martial arts, Cecilia has a relaxed approach to instruction. She is also a Z Health Movement Specialist who leverages neuroanatomy (the study of the physical structure and organization of the nervous system) in her teaching. Throughout my session she pointed out some bad posture habits I was unaware of, something I'm still keeping in mind.

Try Kettlebell if you're looking to improve athletic performance, lose weight, and for pain and injury rehab and prevention.

Gyrotonics

While Kettlebells were intimidating, the Gyrotonic machine was fascinating. A lifelong swimmer, I enjoyed the fluid, stretching exercises on the immense wooden machine with hanging weights and pulleys. This workout consists of a series of circular exercises based on principles extracted from yoga, dance, swimming, and tai chi. I was especially fond of the side and abdominal exercises — my body twisted to undiscovered places.

Taught by Artemis Anderson, who holds the fitness philosophy that movement keeps you young, healthy, and attractive, I was constantly reminded to engage my lower abs and never got annoyed. Artemis is patient and informative, and customizes your session based on weak areas and your body responses.

Try Gyrotonics for increased strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Increased circulation strengthens the nervous system, while hand-eye coordination stimulates the mind.

Jill Harris, owner, instructor, and aspiring synchronized swimmer of Informed Body, sought to create a focused atmosphere where clients can practice through private or small group classes. She incorporates classical Pilates with personal training, dance conditioning, massage, and alternative physical therapy to keep her clients strong, healthy and pain free.

Informed Body, 389 Grove Street between Gough and Franklin, (415) 626.1111

Samantha Durbin (sami.7x7@gmail.com) is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of FabSugar.com. Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for 7x7 Magazine and Gilt City.