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Reader writers attempt to tone up

A short guide to health and fitness

Cannabis Fitness Training
Cannabis Fitness Training

High on fitness

Patrick Henderson

  • Pyles Peak
  • Corner of Golfcrest and Navajo Drives
  • Mission Trails
  • Cowles Mountain is a very popular, very crowded hike — especially if you’re taking it from the Golfcrest/Navajo staging area. However, it’s easy to get the feeling of being alone in nature by continuing onto Pyles Peak after you reach the Cowles summit. At 1379 feet, Pyles is the second highest peak in Mission Trails Regional Park. Since the hike doesn’t get even five percent of the traffic of Cowles Mountain, there will be lots of moments of just you, the view, and the chaparral. There are two lookout points that give a good view of the park’s coastal side and, on a clear day, the actual coast. All told, the combined length of Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak is about 5.3 miles from Golfcrest/ Navajo.
  • Cannabis Fitness Training
  • As San Diego adjusts to life post-cannabis legalization, many locals are finding ways to add marijuana into all aspects of their life, including exercise. Fitness trainer Kendra Solow says THC and CBD both can have beneficial effects on the body before, after, or during exercise, depending on the type of training. It might help you get into a yoga pose more fully or help cool down from a vigorous exercise. Solow’s $110 per hour sessions are strictly BYOCannabis, but she can offer advice on which strains will go best with which type of workout.
  • Grassland Trail/Old Mission Dam
  • 2 Father Junipero Serra Trail
  • Mission Trails Regional Park
  • Located on the Santee side of Mission Trails near the Kumeyaay Lake Campground, the Grasslands Trail goes over the San Diego River into a grassland area that looks like wide open space (if you ignore the freeway or power line towers in the background.) The trail passes some grinding rocks, used by the Kumeyaay to grind acorns into flour, and can loop over to the Old Mission Dam, a fun and historically important place to climb around. The trail can be up to 4.3 miles or as short as a mile depending on how much of a workout you want. It’s mostly flat, so it’s a good hike for families. The trail is especially photogenic in the late afternoon when the sun makes the windblown grass shine.
  • Ultimate Dodgeball
  • 851 Showroom Place
  • Chula Vista
  • Some people get a little jumpy about exercise. For those people, a trampoline park like SkyZone in Chula Vista is just the ticket. Although the place makes most of its bank from birthday parties, monthly memberships starting at $20 allow people to jump at least 60 minutes a day. The trampolines allow people to practice jump shots they wouldn’t otherwise make, but SkyZone is best known for Ultimate Dodgeball, a version of the popular and painful schoolyard sport that allows players a better chance to jump out of the way.

Pedal Power

Siobhan Braun

  • Bayshore Bikeway
  • Broadway Pier - Coronado Ferry
  • Embarcardero-Coronado
  • Loop around San Diego Bay on the Bayshore Bikeway. The trail takes you past dozens of interesting spots, including the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base (where you might spot some Navy Seals training), Silver Strand State Beach, and the Hotel Del. The 24-mile-long trail weaves through downtown San Diego, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and Coronado. Thirteen miles of the ride is on a paved, vehicle free path. For a shorter, more family-friendly ride, turn around in Imperial Beach to avoid the on-street bike lanes. If you’re lucky, when you whiz through the section of trail adjacent to the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, you might even catch a glimpse of the lone pink flamingo that has made a home in its waters.
  • The San Diego River Bike Path
  • West Point Loma Avenue
  • Ocean Beach
  • Away from the hustle and bustle of busy roads, the San Diego River Bike Path takes you on an adventure that is one part nature and one part urban jungle. Leaving from OB’s Dog Beach, bikers can travel four miles to Sefton Park in Mission Valley. The ride takes you under graffiti-covered bridges and through blankets of wildflowers. It gives birdwatchers glimpses of colorful local fauna against the tranquil backdrop of the San Diego River. The path is secluded and well paved, making it a peaceful ride. However, you will run into homeless people living around the path. I’ve biked the trail several times and have never had an unpleasant experience, but I would recommend riding with a partner.
Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge
  • Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge
  • 12655 Sunset Drive
  • Escondido
  • You have probably spotted the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge from out your car window while riding on the 15 freeway in Escondido. It’s an impressive sight, looming above the water. At 990 feet in length, it is the world’s longest stress ribbon bridge. It was created in order to provide a scenic passageway for families and cyclists between the north and south ends of the lake. In total, the trail is a leisurely 3-mile trek. An added bonus: Lake Hodges is a popular location for migratory birds traveling on the Pacific Flyway, making this bike ride ripe for birdwatching. Bridge gates are open 6am to 9pm daily.
  • Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail
  • Via De La Valle and Highway 101
  • Solana Beach
  • The Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail is an art lover’s paradise. Sprinkled throughout with whimsical art installations, this 1.7-mile ride is an easy way to take in one of San Diego’s funkiest little beach communities. The trail runs alongside Highway 101. Along the way are dozens of fun sights to take in — crescents embedded in the path that feature moon-themed poetry, a sunburst stained-glass mosaic by artist Amber Irwin, and two ornate arches with over 1000 handmaid tiles depicting scenes from local history. The Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail is part of a larger project, Rails-to-Trails, which covers 44 miles of bicycle and walking trails throughout the county. These trails were created as a way to encourage fun, safe ways for San Diegans to get out and explore.
  • Pacific Coast Highway Bikeway
  • Del Mar
  • The Pacific Coast Highway Bikeway draws cyclists from around the world. Extremely adventurous riders take PCH all the way up the California Coast. But for a simpler day ride, start in Del Mar and make your way to Camp Pendleton and back down again. Most of the route offers dedicated bike lanes plus ocean views and breezes. It’s the stuff of movies, or perfectly curated Instagram feeds. Make sure to bring along your ID, as you will not be permitted to ride through Camp Pendleton without a government-issued photo ID.

Flying ax yoga bowling

Ian Anderson

Axe Thro Co.
  • Axe Thro Co.
  • 4428 Convoy Street
  • Kearny Mesa
  • If you were throwing axes in public in 2017, odds are you would have been arrested. Three years later, a dozen different ax-throwing businesses have popped up between North Park and San Marcos, offering the chance to throw hatchets at a wooden bullseye without fear of reprisal. This follows a national craze that has spread across the U.S. in just four years. It’s easy to imagine yourself heaving an ax as hard as you can in some cathartic act of pine wood destruction. However, Jimmy Rose, the ax thrower behind the city’s newest ax throwing center, Axe Thro Co., points out that while throwing accurately requires solid core strength, it takes more finesse than muscle. Multiple leagues have already sprung up for those interested in tournament play, though if you just want to show up and compete, $25 will get you an hour playing a game that’s similar to darts, but more satisfying.
  • iFly Indoor Skydiving
  • 2385 Camino Del Rio North
  • Mission Valley
  • 3178 Vista Way
  • Oceanside
  • By forcing air up a tube at wind speeds up to 140 miles per hour, iFly indoor skydiving centers in Mission Valley and Oceanside simulate the conditions of a skydiving freefall, minus the fall. In fact, when you step into that tube, you don’t fall at all, you float. The wind lifts you up so you may spin, flip, and dance on air. But don’t expect to leap straight into aerial pirouettes. You can lose control with the slightest hand movement, so stable belly flying is the first of many skills you must acquire before you may enter the tube without an instructor. That typically takes 30-40 flights, and since a pair of intense one-minute turns start at $50, it takes true commitment and core strength to master one move that can’t be replicated jumping out of a plane: flying! Fortunately, for an extra $20, your instructor will help you fly 40 feet to the top of the tube.
  • Lawn Bowling
  • El Prado at Balboa Drive
  • Balboa Park
  • An ancient game more closely related to bocce than ten pin, lawn bowling is what you may have noticed people playing just inside the Laurel Street entrance to Balboa Park, on the left before you cross the bridge. That would be the San Diego Lawn Bowling Club, keepers of the manicured pair of 120-foot square bowling greens that have been in use since 1932, and which once hosted Queen Elizabeth. In return for upkeep, members gain access to greens and clubhouse, stocked with bowls: the 3- to 4-pound balls players roll with a swing-and-squat motion. Bowls bulge a bit on one side, so they roll with a natural curve. Rather than knock down pins, the goal is to curl your bowls closest to the jack, a smaller white ball rolled ahead down a 14-foot lane, or rink. It’s $219 to join, then $4 to use the greens, but the club is planning open play events this summer to boost involvement in this engrossing game.
  • Morley Field Disc Golf Course
  • 3090 Pershing Drive
  • North Park
  • Throwing a frisbee becomes more active than you’d expect when you’re doing so at a disc golf course. For example, completing the winding, 19-hole Morley Field course takes you on a several mile walk through trees, over creeks, and across grassy fields. Established in 1978, it was one of the world’s first courses for disc golf, which operates much like regular golf, except the “holes” are actually pole-mounted baskets. Every hole here is a par 3 or 4, and the baskets are frequently moved so the course stays fresh, even for frequent players. It’s $4 to play all day ($5 on weekends), and while you’ll notice experienced players drawing from a quiver of a dozen or more frisbees — each suitable for different throwing lengths and trajectories — newbies can make do with a $1.50 rental frisbee. Dogs are allowed, on leash.
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • (Various locations)
  • Not all yoga is alike. All my early yoga classes were vinyasa, an active flow style that coordinated breath and movement for a very physical workout. Bikram, better known as hot yoga, proved even more intense, in a heated, sweaty studio no less. Kundalini was lighter, but I found the chanting and meditation trying my patience instead of relaxing me. Finally, I landed on Iyengar, the bowl of yoga porridge that’s just right. It’s a more gentle form that focuses more on alignment and balance. You may still build strength, but using walls, ropes, blankets, blocks, and straps, the poses of an Iyengar class are more about stretching you out, improving your posture, and bringing both sides of your body into harmony. There aren’t many dedicated Iyengar studios in greater San Diego, but when you find one, classes hover around $20 each. Well worth it to walk out of class feeling taller.

Stupid Fun

Dryw Keltz

  • Nobel Canyon Mountain Biking
  • Mount Laguna
  • Located in Cleveland National Forest, the Nobel Canyon Trail runs from the top of Mount Laguna all the way down to Pine Valley. It drops a whopping 2244 feet in elevation in just a hair under ten miles. You are starting at about 5515 feet and end at 3733. Near the top, the ride is filled with single-track trails that weave riders through thick enclaves of pine trees. The terrain transitions to chaparral about a third of the way down and becomes somewhat rocky and treacherous as sections such as the legendary “Stairway to Hell” begin to appear. The bottom third is primarily sand and rocky desert terrain that isn’t too far removed from parts of local rides such as Tecolote Canyon and Mission Trails. A full-suspension mountain bike, a helmet, and confidence in your abilities are all recommended for this epic ride.
  • Mission Trails Rock Climbing
  • Mission Trails Regional Park
  • If you want a more proximate (and easier) alternative to climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, look no further than Mission Trails Regional Park. Besides being perhaps the best dirt trail hiking and biking option within city limits, the park has a dedicated climbing area to satisfy those who yearn to scale large rocks. If you enter the park on the Father Junipero Serra Trail from Mission Gorge Road, the climbing area is located up the hill to your right, just after you pass the Visitor’s Center. There is an official “Climber’s Loop” trail that runs alongside the climbing area as well. On many days, you can see the climbers scaling the rock walls from the Father Junipero Serra Trail. The west-facing mountainside is divided into three different climbing areas (Main Wall/Limbo /Middle Earth), and each offers a selection of climbing routes. If you are heading out in the hotter months, bring plenty of water and keep your eyes peeled for the local rattlesnakes. They love the rocks as well.
  • Vavi Kickball Leagues
  • Pacific Beach/Ocean Beach/North Park
  • In search of a more participatory form of ‘80s nostalgia than binge-watching episodes of Stranger Things? Consider joining a Vavi kickball league. While Vavi (a local sport and social club) offers a myriad of sports options for adults (volleyball, soccer, and tennis, among others) nothing is quite as much fun as the silly throwback kickball leagues. Dodgeball comes close, but the sheer anger and head-hunting associated with the gameplay of that sport makes it seem more appropriate for endlessly enraged adults circa 2020. Kickball, at its core, is athletic competition in its most dumbed-down and participant-friendly form. It’s baseball and softball minus bats and, more often than not, skill. I played in one of these leagues a while back; it was stupid fun and a great excuse to get a little exercise on a weekday evening. Registration is as low as $80 for an eight-game season.
  • Sweetwater
Sweetwater Bicycle Jump Park
  • Bicycle Jump Park
  • 6057 San Miguel Road
  • Bonita
  • Del Mar got a concrete pump track in 2019, and early this year Bonita opened its very own bicycle jump park. These are good days for area cyclists looking to push their skills into the airborne region. The new Sweetwater park is all dirt as well, so the cyclists won’t have to worry about skateboarders crowding the space. As far as features go, the park has jump lines that range from beginner to expert, flow trails, and skill and pump sections. There is also a dedicated kids’ section to help future X-Gamers get their tail whips down. The park sits on four acres of land and utilizes a packing material known as Soil-Tak to help keep the dirt on the berms and jumps as close to the smoothness of concrete as possible.
  • South Mission Beach Volleyball
  • Mission Beach
  • The courts at the southern end of Mission Beach are an incredible place to play volleyball. Besides the gameplay, you have an ocean to cool off in just steps away and, if you linger into the evening, epic sunsets at your visual disposal. Players with incredible skills use these courts, but if you are just lingering and looking to get into a game, you can usually find a crew in the beginner to moderate range. If you have a large crew of your own, the best bet is to arrive early and try to stake out your own court. Remember, Monday through Friday after 10 am, all courts must accept challenges. Anybody who wants to play gets to play. Just make sure you’re ready for the deep and potentially burning sand. It can toast your feet and swallow your jumps.

Sharks, bikes, and pickleball

Mary Beth Abate

  • Aerial yoga at Trilogy Sanctuary
  • 7650 Girard Avenue
  • La Jolla
  • Take your yoga practice to new heights with Trilogy Sanctuary’s aerial yoga class, which uses long, hammock-like loops of fabric to let you hang, swing, dangle, and rock your way through a series of asanas, guided by a certified aerial yoga instructor. Ranging from floating and gentle stretching to strength-building and dynamic dance-like classes, aerial yoga is accessible to all ages, body types, and experience levels. Beginners should start with Aerial Yoga L1 and Aerial Healing L1, while more advanced practitioners will enjoy Aerial Fitness, Aerial Lyra, Aerial Strength and Aerial Flips and Tricks.
  • Pickleball
  • Balboa Park and various locations
  • Fast-paced and easy to learn, pickleball is a racquet game mash-up of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, played as singles or doubles teams. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country: at least twenty parks, racquet clubs and rec centers across the city now have pickleball courts, including five new indoor ones at the Balboa Activity Center and nine at the Balboa Park Municipal Gymnasium. Try it out for yourself at one of the open play sessions available at courts all over San Diego County, some of which have free clinics and loaner paddles for beginners.
Swim with sharks in La Jolla
  • Swim with sharks
  • La Jolla Shores
  • The waters off La Jolla Shores attract scores of leopard sharks during the warmer months, especially in the shallow stretches just off the La Jolla Tennis Club and near the Marine Room Restaurant. At peak times of year, groups of a few to hundreds of sharks hang out in four to five feet of water, making up-close viewing easy. And while sidling up to a five-foot long shark might seem frightening, leopard sharks have tiny mouths, and although they are carnivorous, they won’t bother humans. Bring your own mask, snorkel, fins, and possibly a wetsuit, or rent equipment from one of the nearby shops.
  • Bicycle racing at the Velodrome
  • 2850 Pershing Drive
  • Balboa Park
  • Satisfy your need for speed at the San Diego Velodrome every Tuesday and Friday evening from mid-April through September as you scorch the 333-meter cycle track on a fixed-gear (and brakeless) track bike with some of San Diego’s best cyclists. New to bike racing? Learn the ropes at track classes held Mondays and Wednesdays from March through September. Once you complete the six-week session, you’ll be eligible to race in the Friday night series or take advanced classes. There’s also an introductory racing program for youth from ages 7-17 on Monday evenings beginning in March.

Infectious enthusiasm

E. V. Hepworth

F45 Training
  • F45 Training
  • 1240 Tenth Avenue
  • Downtown
  • Their website states, “The F stands for Functional training, a mix of circuit- and HIIT-style (high-intensity interval training) workouts geared towards everyday movement. 45 is the total amount of time for sweat-dripping, heart-pumping fun.” These ever-changing F45 group workouts change those who think they aren’t gym people. For 45 minutes, your only job is to do the exercise at your current station — pushing yourself mentally and physically — until the beep tells you to stop and move on. These workouts challenge even those who think they’re in shape. Quick corrections and compassionate modifications, however, are available from the watchful trainers, making it suitable for all physical levels. And hot damn, it really is a sweaty, breathless good time. Lanae, BJ, Sal, and all the trainers at the San Diego Downtown location are consistently motivational, inclusive, friendly, and supportive.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • (Various locations)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu evolved from Jiu-Jitsu, which itself was started amongst Buddhist monks in India looking for a compassionate approach to self-defense. It’s considered first and foremost to be a martial arts form, but most who practice it experience welcome side effects such as humility and an increase in respect towards themselves and others. A ground-fighting style, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is based on getting your opponents in submission positions, then using various techniques to immobilize them. After 3-5 minutes spent grappling with an opponent, you’ll be left physically depleted and mentally invigorated, having used most of the muscles in your body, including your brain. Beyond physical fitness, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will teach you the “gentle art” of protecting yourself against someone who is bigger and stronger.
  • Orangetheory Fitness
  • (Various locations)
  • Orangetheory Fitness workouts were designed by a Pilates instructor who realized her students were still needing to hit the gym to burn fat. So she created workouts designed around the model that “12 minutes in the Orange Zone is all you need to charge your metabolism and create the Orangetheory afterburn.” The Orange Zone is when your heart rate is between 84 to 91 percent of its max; the Orangetheory afterburn is based on the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The idea is that working out at a certain intensity will have you still burning calories after you exercise, supposedly for as long as 36 hours. The hour-long workouts are cardio intense, with at least 30 minutes on the treadmill and rower; strength-training exercises taking up the rest of the time. The group energy here feels crucial to keeping everyone motivated and moving.
Zumba Fitness with Rosie Velez
  • Zumba Fitness with Rosie Velez
  • 1079 3rd Avenue
  • Chula Vista
  • Colombian-based Zumba Fitness is a dance workout rooted in Latin music, with dance moves ranging from Salsa to Reggaeton plus Hip-Hop. Rosie’s classes at Chula Vistas Body’s in Motion are even better, since she incorporates R and B, belly dance, and contemporary styles, and also pulls from her knowledge of exercise science. Her infectious enthusiasm, easy-to-follow instruction, and professional-level choreography guarantee some of the most fun possible while burning up to 800 calories during the hour-long class. Sweat with her Mondays at 7:15 pm, Wednesdays at 6:15 pm, and 10 am Saturdays. Bonus: she’s also a personal trainer! So double-up on your exercise with a group workout session before Zumba classes, or check out her schedule online for more days/times.

Play at every age

Leorah Gavidor

Megan McCullough, ranked second in worldwide iCompeteNatural, runs EveryBODY’s Fit in Oceanside.
  • Work out with a female bodybuilder at EveryBODY’s Fit
  • 560 Greenbrier Dr
  • Oceanside
  • San Diego is a stop on the circuit for several bodybuilding competitions — and home to some of the world’s top competitors. Megan McCullough, ranked second in worldwide iCompeteNatural, runs EveryBODY’s Fit in Oceanside. She’ll show you how to build muscle naturally and pose for competition, or give you expert workout tips designed for your body type. “You can transform yourself however you want. Face your fears, get on stage once and do the bikini competition. Or you can aspire to keep going and choose the lifestyle.”
  • San Diego Circus Center
  • 2050 Hancock Street
  • Middletown
  • San Diego Circus Center owner Jean-Luc Martin welcomes beginners to come and see what they might enjoy. To explore your acrobatic potential, he recommends Active Flexibility, Silks and Trapeze, or Tumbling and Handstands. “By the end of class, you can learn to do a handstand into a front roll.” Passive Flexibility is more advanced; that’s the contortion class. Tramp Wall — running up a vertical wall and performing tricks while rebounding from a trampoline — helps develop core and back muscles. “Acrobatic movement is not too hard,” says Martin. “It’s about getting moving.” Drop-ins $25 (call for availability). First-timers: arrive 15 minutes early to register. Free trial membership.
  • Qualcomm Sports, Fitness & Aquatics Complex
  • 4126 Executive Drive
  • La Jolla
  • San Diego residents can sign up for seven (consecutive) days of free access to the heated Olympic size pool, NBA regulation basketball gym, fitness classes, strength and cardio training equipment, Expresso bikes, and more. Try out JBarre, Zumba, Core and Balance, or Functional Interval Training. Hit the pool for the Master’s aquatics program or lap swim. Bonus: complimentary babysitting is included in memberships and during the trial period. If you enjoy working out there, memberships range in price from $36-$120 monthly.
  • Butt, gut, and strut with your mutt
  • (Various locations)
  • Of course the only fitness company in the country to incorporate hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping, yoga, trail running, upper & lower body classes, and boot camp classes with dogs is in San Diego. Every Saturday morning, meet Dawn Celapino from Leash Your Fitness at a different park or location around the county for a physically and mentally stimulating workout designed for humans and canines (four classes, $72). Or join a monthly Sunday hike ($13) for an Insta-cute, endorphin-inducing good time. All breeds welcome.
  • San Diego Soccer Women
  • (Various locations)
  • Soccer for women over 30. Find and join local recreational leagues, or meet up for beginner/refresher training Saturdays in Poway. Ladies from San Diego’s teams have formed delegations to attend international events, including the Global Goals World Cup associated with the United Nations. They head to Norway this year for a tour and friendly competition. Founder Brandi Mitchell advocates for “play at every age,” setting up soccer activities to include women in their 70s and 80s. Ever tried walking soccer?

Expect your muscles to complain

Elizabeth Salaam

Trapeze High
  • Trapeze High
  • 2470 Melru Lane
  • Escondido
  • Depending on your level of comfort with heights, jumping off a platform onto a swinging trapeze bar will either be terrifying or exhilarating. Adrenaline junkies and daredevils can get their fix at San Diego’s only flying trapeze school. You’ll learn all the safety guidelines, basic swing, trick positions, and dismounts. As you progress, you can get trickier and try a catch with an experienced flyer. Take a 90-minute lesson on your own or grab a group of 10 adventurous friends for a group experience. Class packages and Frequent Flyer memberships are also available. All levels, Saturday and Sunday 10 am and 12 noon.
World Beat Cultural Center
  • World Beat Cultural Center
  • 2100 Park Boulevard
  • Balboa Park
  • West African dance classes provide a serious workout, a cultural experience, and increased neural connectivity all at once. All dancing integrates rational, musical, kinesthetic, and emotional brain functions simultaneously, and when you add the live drums and vibrant energy of African dance classes at World Beat, it becomes a next-level experience. And if it weren’t for the sweating and the rapid heartbeat and the shaking muscles you never knew you had, you might even forget you’re working out. Sundays, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
  • Mission Bay Aquatic Center
  • 1001 Santa Clara Place
  • Mission Bay
  • Standup paddleboarding can be as peaceful or as aerobic as you want it to be. At Mission Bay Aquatic Center, beginners can take a class to learn standup paddling basic skills or sign up for a standup paddleboard obstacle course class to learn and practice advanced maneuvers. For those who are comfortable on their own, single board rentals go for $28 (for 2.5 hours), or you can sign on as a member for $29 per month, which gives you one 2.5-hour rental per day.
  • Aqua Adventures
  • 1548 Quivira Way
  • Mission Bay
  • Kayaking offers an experience unlike any other on the water. The vessel’s low profile allows you to get up close and personal with the wildlife that inhabits San Diego’s bays. Get a peek at otters, fowl, and fish while you traverse the calm waters of Mission Bay in a single or tandem kayak. Aqua Adventures lessons start at $55, or enjoy 90-minute rentals for $20 (single kayak) or $25 (double kayak). Keep an eye on their calendar for full moon paddles, sunset paddles, and holiday paddles as well.
  • Aerial Revolution
  • 5730 Napa Street
  • If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from fabric, this is a good place to start. The schedule at Aerial Revolution is packed with classes ranging from beginner to advanced to performance level for adults and youth. Learn basic climbs, foot and wrist locks, inversions, hip keys, and other fundamentals of aerial dance. Aerial silks training is no joke. Expect your muscles to complain. $26 for a single class or $20 with a 20-class package pass.

Home runs over the border

Matthew Suárez

Futbol 7Xolos
  • Futbol 7Xolos
  • Aguascalientes 12027
  • Hipodromo, Tijuana
  • “We played against Fernando Arce and Diablito Nuñez once,” says my brother, who plays in a fútbol siete — seven-a-side — soccer league in Tijuana on Tuesday nights. Arce and Juan Carlos ‘Diablito’ Nuñez are retired soccer players who helped take Xolos to the Mexican championship in 2012. They are now frequently spotted playing in a non-professional setting. “It’s not only the retired pros that make it competitive, but a lot of teens from Chula also come to play,” continues my brother. The league takes place in the field behind the stadium where the Xolos team usually practices. The full field is divided into three smaller fields to make matches of 7 vs 7. Matches cost around $23 USD per team to pay for the referees. League winner not only takes the trophy but also scores a cash price.
  • Surfing Baja
  • K-38
  • South Rosarito
  • The first time I surfed was in Baja back in 2010 with two out-of-work pilots from Hawaii, friends of my brother. I didn’t know anything about Baja then and neither did they; we simply drove south. Past Rosarito, we found a small gated beach that seemed nice. We paid 50 pesos ($2.50) to park and to use the shack-like bathroom. There was absolutely no one but us, the ocean, and the gatekeeper with his family. Turns out we were near one of the many famous surf spots in Baja, K-38, named for being near the 38 kilometer marker on the highway. Despite having worldwide recognition, surf spots in Baja remain mostly empty. When crossing the border, you only see one or two cars that have surfboards on their rooftops. That means that dozens of spots are open, spots such as Punta Abreojos, Cerritos Beach, San Miguel, Baja Malibu, and more. It’s easy to find an Airbnb in any of these locations and spend days surfing without much wave competition.
  • Public Tijuana Sports Complex
  • Multiple Locations
  • Tijuana
  • There are a couple of dozen sports fields spread throughout the city, managed by the Instituto Municipal del Deporte en Tijuana (IMDET), the branch of government in charge of sports and activities. They are all free, except for minimal parking fees. Places like La Benito, a small sports complex with baseball fields for minors in which home-runs cross over the border, or “El CREA” the biggest sports complex, which includes an Olympic-sized pool, full-size fields, everything for track & field, but only one gated tennis court. It’s situated on the Vía Rápida on the way to the San Ysidro Ready Lane. For tennis, I found “La Veinte,” a large complex situated next to Tijuana’s jail. It houses eight tennis courts, four cement basketball courts, eight handball courts, two pools, a baseball field, a soccer field, and a bunch of stray dogs (that love my extra tennis balls).
  • Bol Bol Bowlingand More
  • Av. Via Rapida Poniente #15035
  • Colonia San Jose, Tijuana
  • The first time I stepped foot inside this TJ bowling alley, a live banda was playing on a stage in the middle of lanes 14-18. Everybody was drunk and dancing, which made the pins fall by themselves. I’m not sure if they switched management, but it’s different now. I’ve been going almost every Thursday for the past year, and now I mostly encounter serious bowlers. The graphics on the screen are still from the late ‘90s but the lanes are polished, well kept, and they are always making small improvements. The biggest advantage is the price. From Monday to Friday, three lanes go for 200 pesos (around $11 USD) with the shoe rental included. The best offer is three hours for $8, valid only Monday to Wednesday from 9 pm to midnight. This being the only bowling alley in Tijuana, the tournaments get competitive.
  • La Officina - Fight Club
  • Av. Revolución 1260
  • Zona Centro, Tijuana
  • “I’m just training my security guards right now,” says Brandon Gushiken, a Hawaiian retired MMA fighter living in Tijuana. He opened a fight gym in Colonia Libertad in 2012 but shut it down to spend time at the bar he opened in 2018 in the middle of Avenida Revolución. Behind blue curtains from the main bar, a fight club scene is revealed. Amateur MMA and boxing fights take place every month inside a caged octagon or a classic boxing ring. When there’s no fight going on, the ring stays up. You are welcome to climb in the ring, put on comically oversized boxing gloves, and fight your buddies to get the blood flowing before a night out in Tijuana.
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Cannabis Fitness Training
Cannabis Fitness Training

High on fitness

Patrick Henderson

  • Pyles Peak
  • Corner of Golfcrest and Navajo Drives
  • Mission Trails
  • Cowles Mountain is a very popular, very crowded hike — especially if you’re taking it from the Golfcrest/Navajo staging area. However, it’s easy to get the feeling of being alone in nature by continuing onto Pyles Peak after you reach the Cowles summit. At 1379 feet, Pyles is the second highest peak in Mission Trails Regional Park. Since the hike doesn’t get even five percent of the traffic of Cowles Mountain, there will be lots of moments of just you, the view, and the chaparral. There are two lookout points that give a good view of the park’s coastal side and, on a clear day, the actual coast. All told, the combined length of Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak is about 5.3 miles from Golfcrest/ Navajo.
  • Cannabis Fitness Training
  • As San Diego adjusts to life post-cannabis legalization, many locals are finding ways to add marijuana into all aspects of their life, including exercise. Fitness trainer Kendra Solow says THC and CBD both can have beneficial effects on the body before, after, or during exercise, depending on the type of training. It might help you get into a yoga pose more fully or help cool down from a vigorous exercise. Solow’s $110 per hour sessions are strictly BYOCannabis, but she can offer advice on which strains will go best with which type of workout.
  • Grassland Trail/Old Mission Dam
  • 2 Father Junipero Serra Trail
  • Mission Trails Regional Park
  • Located on the Santee side of Mission Trails near the Kumeyaay Lake Campground, the Grasslands Trail goes over the San Diego River into a grassland area that looks like wide open space (if you ignore the freeway or power line towers in the background.) The trail passes some grinding rocks, used by the Kumeyaay to grind acorns into flour, and can loop over to the Old Mission Dam, a fun and historically important place to climb around. The trail can be up to 4.3 miles or as short as a mile depending on how much of a workout you want. It’s mostly flat, so it’s a good hike for families. The trail is especially photogenic in the late afternoon when the sun makes the windblown grass shine.
  • Ultimate Dodgeball
  • 851 Showroom Place
  • Chula Vista
  • Some people get a little jumpy about exercise. For those people, a trampoline park like SkyZone in Chula Vista is just the ticket. Although the place makes most of its bank from birthday parties, monthly memberships starting at $20 allow people to jump at least 60 minutes a day. The trampolines allow people to practice jump shots they wouldn’t otherwise make, but SkyZone is best known for Ultimate Dodgeball, a version of the popular and painful schoolyard sport that allows players a better chance to jump out of the way.

Pedal Power

Siobhan Braun

  • Bayshore Bikeway
  • Broadway Pier - Coronado Ferry
  • Embarcardero-Coronado
  • Loop around San Diego Bay on the Bayshore Bikeway. The trail takes you past dozens of interesting spots, including the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base (where you might spot some Navy Seals training), Silver Strand State Beach, and the Hotel Del. The 24-mile-long trail weaves through downtown San Diego, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and Coronado. Thirteen miles of the ride is on a paved, vehicle free path. For a shorter, more family-friendly ride, turn around in Imperial Beach to avoid the on-street bike lanes. If you’re lucky, when you whiz through the section of trail adjacent to the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, you might even catch a glimpse of the lone pink flamingo that has made a home in its waters.
  • The San Diego River Bike Path
  • West Point Loma Avenue
  • Ocean Beach
  • Away from the hustle and bustle of busy roads, the San Diego River Bike Path takes you on an adventure that is one part nature and one part urban jungle. Leaving from OB’s Dog Beach, bikers can travel four miles to Sefton Park in Mission Valley. The ride takes you under graffiti-covered bridges and through blankets of wildflowers. It gives birdwatchers glimpses of colorful local fauna against the tranquil backdrop of the San Diego River. The path is secluded and well paved, making it a peaceful ride. However, you will run into homeless people living around the path. I’ve biked the trail several times and have never had an unpleasant experience, but I would recommend riding with a partner.
Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge
  • Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge
  • 12655 Sunset Drive
  • Escondido
  • You have probably spotted the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge from out your car window while riding on the 15 freeway in Escondido. It’s an impressive sight, looming above the water. At 990 feet in length, it is the world’s longest stress ribbon bridge. It was created in order to provide a scenic passageway for families and cyclists between the north and south ends of the lake. In total, the trail is a leisurely 3-mile trek. An added bonus: Lake Hodges is a popular location for migratory birds traveling on the Pacific Flyway, making this bike ride ripe for birdwatching. Bridge gates are open 6am to 9pm daily.
  • Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail
  • Via De La Valle and Highway 101
  • Solana Beach
  • The Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail is an art lover’s paradise. Sprinkled throughout with whimsical art installations, this 1.7-mile ride is an easy way to take in one of San Diego’s funkiest little beach communities. The trail runs alongside Highway 101. Along the way are dozens of fun sights to take in — crescents embedded in the path that feature moon-themed poetry, a sunburst stained-glass mosaic by artist Amber Irwin, and two ornate arches with over 1000 handmaid tiles depicting scenes from local history. The Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail is part of a larger project, Rails-to-Trails, which covers 44 miles of bicycle and walking trails throughout the county. These trails were created as a way to encourage fun, safe ways for San Diegans to get out and explore.
  • Pacific Coast Highway Bikeway
  • Del Mar
  • The Pacific Coast Highway Bikeway draws cyclists from around the world. Extremely adventurous riders take PCH all the way up the California Coast. But for a simpler day ride, start in Del Mar and make your way to Camp Pendleton and back down again. Most of the route offers dedicated bike lanes plus ocean views and breezes. It’s the stuff of movies, or perfectly curated Instagram feeds. Make sure to bring along your ID, as you will not be permitted to ride through Camp Pendleton without a government-issued photo ID.

Flying ax yoga bowling

Ian Anderson

Axe Thro Co.
  • Axe Thro Co.
  • 4428 Convoy Street
  • Kearny Mesa
  • If you were throwing axes in public in 2017, odds are you would have been arrested. Three years later, a dozen different ax-throwing businesses have popped up between North Park and San Marcos, offering the chance to throw hatchets at a wooden bullseye without fear of reprisal. This follows a national craze that has spread across the U.S. in just four years. It’s easy to imagine yourself heaving an ax as hard as you can in some cathartic act of pine wood destruction. However, Jimmy Rose, the ax thrower behind the city’s newest ax throwing center, Axe Thro Co., points out that while throwing accurately requires solid core strength, it takes more finesse than muscle. Multiple leagues have already sprung up for those interested in tournament play, though if you just want to show up and compete, $25 will get you an hour playing a game that’s similar to darts, but more satisfying.
  • iFly Indoor Skydiving
  • 2385 Camino Del Rio North
  • Mission Valley
  • 3178 Vista Way
  • Oceanside
  • By forcing air up a tube at wind speeds up to 140 miles per hour, iFly indoor skydiving centers in Mission Valley and Oceanside simulate the conditions of a skydiving freefall, minus the fall. In fact, when you step into that tube, you don’t fall at all, you float. The wind lifts you up so you may spin, flip, and dance on air. But don’t expect to leap straight into aerial pirouettes. You can lose control with the slightest hand movement, so stable belly flying is the first of many skills you must acquire before you may enter the tube without an instructor. That typically takes 30-40 flights, and since a pair of intense one-minute turns start at $50, it takes true commitment and core strength to master one move that can’t be replicated jumping out of a plane: flying! Fortunately, for an extra $20, your instructor will help you fly 40 feet to the top of the tube.
  • Lawn Bowling
  • El Prado at Balboa Drive
  • Balboa Park
  • An ancient game more closely related to bocce than ten pin, lawn bowling is what you may have noticed people playing just inside the Laurel Street entrance to Balboa Park, on the left before you cross the bridge. That would be the San Diego Lawn Bowling Club, keepers of the manicured pair of 120-foot square bowling greens that have been in use since 1932, and which once hosted Queen Elizabeth. In return for upkeep, members gain access to greens and clubhouse, stocked with bowls: the 3- to 4-pound balls players roll with a swing-and-squat motion. Bowls bulge a bit on one side, so they roll with a natural curve. Rather than knock down pins, the goal is to curl your bowls closest to the jack, a smaller white ball rolled ahead down a 14-foot lane, or rink. It’s $219 to join, then $4 to use the greens, but the club is planning open play events this summer to boost involvement in this engrossing game.
  • Morley Field Disc Golf Course
  • 3090 Pershing Drive
  • North Park
  • Throwing a frisbee becomes more active than you’d expect when you’re doing so at a disc golf course. For example, completing the winding, 19-hole Morley Field course takes you on a several mile walk through trees, over creeks, and across grassy fields. Established in 1978, it was one of the world’s first courses for disc golf, which operates much like regular golf, except the “holes” are actually pole-mounted baskets. Every hole here is a par 3 or 4, and the baskets are frequently moved so the course stays fresh, even for frequent players. It’s $4 to play all day ($5 on weekends), and while you’ll notice experienced players drawing from a quiver of a dozen or more frisbees — each suitable for different throwing lengths and trajectories — newbies can make do with a $1.50 rental frisbee. Dogs are allowed, on leash.
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • (Various locations)
  • Not all yoga is alike. All my early yoga classes were vinyasa, an active flow style that coordinated breath and movement for a very physical workout. Bikram, better known as hot yoga, proved even more intense, in a heated, sweaty studio no less. Kundalini was lighter, but I found the chanting and meditation trying my patience instead of relaxing me. Finally, I landed on Iyengar, the bowl of yoga porridge that’s just right. It’s a more gentle form that focuses more on alignment and balance. You may still build strength, but using walls, ropes, blankets, blocks, and straps, the poses of an Iyengar class are more about stretching you out, improving your posture, and bringing both sides of your body into harmony. There aren’t many dedicated Iyengar studios in greater San Diego, but when you find one, classes hover around $20 each. Well worth it to walk out of class feeling taller.

Stupid Fun

Dryw Keltz

  • Nobel Canyon Mountain Biking
  • Mount Laguna
  • Located in Cleveland National Forest, the Nobel Canyon Trail runs from the top of Mount Laguna all the way down to Pine Valley. It drops a whopping 2244 feet in elevation in just a hair under ten miles. You are starting at about 5515 feet and end at 3733. Near the top, the ride is filled with single-track trails that weave riders through thick enclaves of pine trees. The terrain transitions to chaparral about a third of the way down and becomes somewhat rocky and treacherous as sections such as the legendary “Stairway to Hell” begin to appear. The bottom third is primarily sand and rocky desert terrain that isn’t too far removed from parts of local rides such as Tecolote Canyon and Mission Trails. A full-suspension mountain bike, a helmet, and confidence in your abilities are all recommended for this epic ride.
  • Mission Trails Rock Climbing
  • Mission Trails Regional Park
  • If you want a more proximate (and easier) alternative to climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, look no further than Mission Trails Regional Park. Besides being perhaps the best dirt trail hiking and biking option within city limits, the park has a dedicated climbing area to satisfy those who yearn to scale large rocks. If you enter the park on the Father Junipero Serra Trail from Mission Gorge Road, the climbing area is located up the hill to your right, just after you pass the Visitor’s Center. There is an official “Climber’s Loop” trail that runs alongside the climbing area as well. On many days, you can see the climbers scaling the rock walls from the Father Junipero Serra Trail. The west-facing mountainside is divided into three different climbing areas (Main Wall/Limbo /Middle Earth), and each offers a selection of climbing routes. If you are heading out in the hotter months, bring plenty of water and keep your eyes peeled for the local rattlesnakes. They love the rocks as well.
  • Vavi Kickball Leagues
  • Pacific Beach/Ocean Beach/North Park
  • In search of a more participatory form of ‘80s nostalgia than binge-watching episodes of Stranger Things? Consider joining a Vavi kickball league. While Vavi (a local sport and social club) offers a myriad of sports options for adults (volleyball, soccer, and tennis, among others) nothing is quite as much fun as the silly throwback kickball leagues. Dodgeball comes close, but the sheer anger and head-hunting associated with the gameplay of that sport makes it seem more appropriate for endlessly enraged adults circa 2020. Kickball, at its core, is athletic competition in its most dumbed-down and participant-friendly form. It’s baseball and softball minus bats and, more often than not, skill. I played in one of these leagues a while back; it was stupid fun and a great excuse to get a little exercise on a weekday evening. Registration is as low as $80 for an eight-game season.
  • Sweetwater
Sweetwater Bicycle Jump Park
  • Bicycle Jump Park
  • 6057 San Miguel Road
  • Bonita
  • Del Mar got a concrete pump track in 2019, and early this year Bonita opened its very own bicycle jump park. These are good days for area cyclists looking to push their skills into the airborne region. The new Sweetwater park is all dirt as well, so the cyclists won’t have to worry about skateboarders crowding the space. As far as features go, the park has jump lines that range from beginner to expert, flow trails, and skill and pump sections. There is also a dedicated kids’ section to help future X-Gamers get their tail whips down. The park sits on four acres of land and utilizes a packing material known as Soil-Tak to help keep the dirt on the berms and jumps as close to the smoothness of concrete as possible.
  • South Mission Beach Volleyball
  • Mission Beach
  • The courts at the southern end of Mission Beach are an incredible place to play volleyball. Besides the gameplay, you have an ocean to cool off in just steps away and, if you linger into the evening, epic sunsets at your visual disposal. Players with incredible skills use these courts, but if you are just lingering and looking to get into a game, you can usually find a crew in the beginner to moderate range. If you have a large crew of your own, the best bet is to arrive early and try to stake out your own court. Remember, Monday through Friday after 10 am, all courts must accept challenges. Anybody who wants to play gets to play. Just make sure you’re ready for the deep and potentially burning sand. It can toast your feet and swallow your jumps.

Sharks, bikes, and pickleball

Mary Beth Abate

  • Aerial yoga at Trilogy Sanctuary
  • 7650 Girard Avenue
  • La Jolla
  • Take your yoga practice to new heights with Trilogy Sanctuary’s aerial yoga class, which uses long, hammock-like loops of fabric to let you hang, swing, dangle, and rock your way through a series of asanas, guided by a certified aerial yoga instructor. Ranging from floating and gentle stretching to strength-building and dynamic dance-like classes, aerial yoga is accessible to all ages, body types, and experience levels. Beginners should start with Aerial Yoga L1 and Aerial Healing L1, while more advanced practitioners will enjoy Aerial Fitness, Aerial Lyra, Aerial Strength and Aerial Flips and Tricks.
  • Pickleball
  • Balboa Park and various locations
  • Fast-paced and easy to learn, pickleball is a racquet game mash-up of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, played as singles or doubles teams. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country: at least twenty parks, racquet clubs and rec centers across the city now have pickleball courts, including five new indoor ones at the Balboa Activity Center and nine at the Balboa Park Municipal Gymnasium. Try it out for yourself at one of the open play sessions available at courts all over San Diego County, some of which have free clinics and loaner paddles for beginners.
Swim with sharks in La Jolla
  • Swim with sharks
  • La Jolla Shores
  • The waters off La Jolla Shores attract scores of leopard sharks during the warmer months, especially in the shallow stretches just off the La Jolla Tennis Club and near the Marine Room Restaurant. At peak times of year, groups of a few to hundreds of sharks hang out in four to five feet of water, making up-close viewing easy. And while sidling up to a five-foot long shark might seem frightening, leopard sharks have tiny mouths, and although they are carnivorous, they won’t bother humans. Bring your own mask, snorkel, fins, and possibly a wetsuit, or rent equipment from one of the nearby shops.
  • Bicycle racing at the Velodrome
  • 2850 Pershing Drive
  • Balboa Park
  • Satisfy your need for speed at the San Diego Velodrome every Tuesday and Friday evening from mid-April through September as you scorch the 333-meter cycle track on a fixed-gear (and brakeless) track bike with some of San Diego’s best cyclists. New to bike racing? Learn the ropes at track classes held Mondays and Wednesdays from March through September. Once you complete the six-week session, you’ll be eligible to race in the Friday night series or take advanced classes. There’s also an introductory racing program for youth from ages 7-17 on Monday evenings beginning in March.

Infectious enthusiasm

E. V. Hepworth

F45 Training
  • F45 Training
  • 1240 Tenth Avenue
  • Downtown
  • Their website states, “The F stands for Functional training, a mix of circuit- and HIIT-style (high-intensity interval training) workouts geared towards everyday movement. 45 is the total amount of time for sweat-dripping, heart-pumping fun.” These ever-changing F45 group workouts change those who think they aren’t gym people. For 45 minutes, your only job is to do the exercise at your current station — pushing yourself mentally and physically — until the beep tells you to stop and move on. These workouts challenge even those who think they’re in shape. Quick corrections and compassionate modifications, however, are available from the watchful trainers, making it suitable for all physical levels. And hot damn, it really is a sweaty, breathless good time. Lanae, BJ, Sal, and all the trainers at the San Diego Downtown location are consistently motivational, inclusive, friendly, and supportive.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • (Various locations)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu evolved from Jiu-Jitsu, which itself was started amongst Buddhist monks in India looking for a compassionate approach to self-defense. It’s considered first and foremost to be a martial arts form, but most who practice it experience welcome side effects such as humility and an increase in respect towards themselves and others. A ground-fighting style, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is based on getting your opponents in submission positions, then using various techniques to immobilize them. After 3-5 minutes spent grappling with an opponent, you’ll be left physically depleted and mentally invigorated, having used most of the muscles in your body, including your brain. Beyond physical fitness, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will teach you the “gentle art” of protecting yourself against someone who is bigger and stronger.
  • Orangetheory Fitness
  • (Various locations)
  • Orangetheory Fitness workouts were designed by a Pilates instructor who realized her students were still needing to hit the gym to burn fat. So she created workouts designed around the model that “12 minutes in the Orange Zone is all you need to charge your metabolism and create the Orangetheory afterburn.” The Orange Zone is when your heart rate is between 84 to 91 percent of its max; the Orangetheory afterburn is based on the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The idea is that working out at a certain intensity will have you still burning calories after you exercise, supposedly for as long as 36 hours. The hour-long workouts are cardio intense, with at least 30 minutes on the treadmill and rower; strength-training exercises taking up the rest of the time. The group energy here feels crucial to keeping everyone motivated and moving.
Zumba Fitness with Rosie Velez
  • Zumba Fitness with Rosie Velez
  • 1079 3rd Avenue
  • Chula Vista
  • Colombian-based Zumba Fitness is a dance workout rooted in Latin music, with dance moves ranging from Salsa to Reggaeton plus Hip-Hop. Rosie’s classes at Chula Vistas Body’s in Motion are even better, since she incorporates R and B, belly dance, and contemporary styles, and also pulls from her knowledge of exercise science. Her infectious enthusiasm, easy-to-follow instruction, and professional-level choreography guarantee some of the most fun possible while burning up to 800 calories during the hour-long class. Sweat with her Mondays at 7:15 pm, Wednesdays at 6:15 pm, and 10 am Saturdays. Bonus: she’s also a personal trainer! So double-up on your exercise with a group workout session before Zumba classes, or check out her schedule online for more days/times.

Play at every age

Leorah Gavidor

Megan McCullough, ranked second in worldwide iCompeteNatural, runs EveryBODY’s Fit in Oceanside.
  • Work out with a female bodybuilder at EveryBODY’s Fit
  • 560 Greenbrier Dr
  • Oceanside
  • San Diego is a stop on the circuit for several bodybuilding competitions — and home to some of the world’s top competitors. Megan McCullough, ranked second in worldwide iCompeteNatural, runs EveryBODY’s Fit in Oceanside. She’ll show you how to build muscle naturally and pose for competition, or give you expert workout tips designed for your body type. “You can transform yourself however you want. Face your fears, get on stage once and do the bikini competition. Or you can aspire to keep going and choose the lifestyle.”
  • San Diego Circus Center
  • 2050 Hancock Street
  • Middletown
  • San Diego Circus Center owner Jean-Luc Martin welcomes beginners to come and see what they might enjoy. To explore your acrobatic potential, he recommends Active Flexibility, Silks and Trapeze, or Tumbling and Handstands. “By the end of class, you can learn to do a handstand into a front roll.” Passive Flexibility is more advanced; that’s the contortion class. Tramp Wall — running up a vertical wall and performing tricks while rebounding from a trampoline — helps develop core and back muscles. “Acrobatic movement is not too hard,” says Martin. “It’s about getting moving.” Drop-ins $25 (call for availability). First-timers: arrive 15 minutes early to register. Free trial membership.
  • Qualcomm Sports, Fitness & Aquatics Complex
  • 4126 Executive Drive
  • La Jolla
  • San Diego residents can sign up for seven (consecutive) days of free access to the heated Olympic size pool, NBA regulation basketball gym, fitness classes, strength and cardio training equipment, Expresso bikes, and more. Try out JBarre, Zumba, Core and Balance, or Functional Interval Training. Hit the pool for the Master’s aquatics program or lap swim. Bonus: complimentary babysitting is included in memberships and during the trial period. If you enjoy working out there, memberships range in price from $36-$120 monthly.
  • Butt, gut, and strut with your mutt
  • (Various locations)
  • Of course the only fitness company in the country to incorporate hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping, yoga, trail running, upper & lower body classes, and boot camp classes with dogs is in San Diego. Every Saturday morning, meet Dawn Celapino from Leash Your Fitness at a different park or location around the county for a physically and mentally stimulating workout designed for humans and canines (four classes, $72). Or join a monthly Sunday hike ($13) for an Insta-cute, endorphin-inducing good time. All breeds welcome.
  • San Diego Soccer Women
  • (Various locations)
  • Soccer for women over 30. Find and join local recreational leagues, or meet up for beginner/refresher training Saturdays in Poway. Ladies from San Diego’s teams have formed delegations to attend international events, including the Global Goals World Cup associated with the United Nations. They head to Norway this year for a tour and friendly competition. Founder Brandi Mitchell advocates for “play at every age,” setting up soccer activities to include women in their 70s and 80s. Ever tried walking soccer?

Expect your muscles to complain

Elizabeth Salaam

Trapeze High
  • Trapeze High
  • 2470 Melru Lane
  • Escondido
  • Depending on your level of comfort with heights, jumping off a platform onto a swinging trapeze bar will either be terrifying or exhilarating. Adrenaline junkies and daredevils can get their fix at San Diego’s only flying trapeze school. You’ll learn all the safety guidelines, basic swing, trick positions, and dismounts. As you progress, you can get trickier and try a catch with an experienced flyer. Take a 90-minute lesson on your own or grab a group of 10 adventurous friends for a group experience. Class packages and Frequent Flyer memberships are also available. All levels, Saturday and Sunday 10 am and 12 noon.
World Beat Cultural Center
  • World Beat Cultural Center
  • 2100 Park Boulevard
  • Balboa Park
  • West African dance classes provide a serious workout, a cultural experience, and increased neural connectivity all at once. All dancing integrates rational, musical, kinesthetic, and emotional brain functions simultaneously, and when you add the live drums and vibrant energy of African dance classes at World Beat, it becomes a next-level experience. And if it weren’t for the sweating and the rapid heartbeat and the shaking muscles you never knew you had, you might even forget you’re working out. Sundays, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
  • Mission Bay Aquatic Center
  • 1001 Santa Clara Place
  • Mission Bay
  • Standup paddleboarding can be as peaceful or as aerobic as you want it to be. At Mission Bay Aquatic Center, beginners can take a class to learn standup paddling basic skills or sign up for a standup paddleboard obstacle course class to learn and practice advanced maneuvers. For those who are comfortable on their own, single board rentals go for $28 (for 2.5 hours), or you can sign on as a member for $29 per month, which gives you one 2.5-hour rental per day.
  • Aqua Adventures
  • 1548 Quivira Way
  • Mission Bay
  • Kayaking offers an experience unlike any other on the water. The vessel’s low profile allows you to get up close and personal with the wildlife that inhabits San Diego’s bays. Get a peek at otters, fowl, and fish while you traverse the calm waters of Mission Bay in a single or tandem kayak. Aqua Adventures lessons start at $55, or enjoy 90-minute rentals for $20 (single kayak) or $25 (double kayak). Keep an eye on their calendar for full moon paddles, sunset paddles, and holiday paddles as well.
  • Aerial Revolution
  • 5730 Napa Street
  • If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from fabric, this is a good place to start. The schedule at Aerial Revolution is packed with classes ranging from beginner to advanced to performance level for adults and youth. Learn basic climbs, foot and wrist locks, inversions, hip keys, and other fundamentals of aerial dance. Aerial silks training is no joke. Expect your muscles to complain. $26 for a single class or $20 with a 20-class package pass.

Home runs over the border

Matthew Suárez

Futbol 7Xolos
  • Futbol 7Xolos
  • Aguascalientes 12027
  • Hipodromo, Tijuana
  • “We played against Fernando Arce and Diablito Nuñez once,” says my brother, who plays in a fútbol siete — seven-a-side — soccer league in Tijuana on Tuesday nights. Arce and Juan Carlos ‘Diablito’ Nuñez are retired soccer players who helped take Xolos to the Mexican championship in 2012. They are now frequently spotted playing in a non-professional setting. “It’s not only the retired pros that make it competitive, but a lot of teens from Chula also come to play,” continues my brother. The league takes place in the field behind the stadium where the Xolos team usually practices. The full field is divided into three smaller fields to make matches of 7 vs 7. Matches cost around $23 USD per team to pay for the referees. League winner not only takes the trophy but also scores a cash price.
  • Surfing Baja
  • K-38
  • South Rosarito
  • The first time I surfed was in Baja back in 2010 with two out-of-work pilots from Hawaii, friends of my brother. I didn’t know anything about Baja then and neither did they; we simply drove south. Past Rosarito, we found a small gated beach that seemed nice. We paid 50 pesos ($2.50) to park and to use the shack-like bathroom. There was absolutely no one but us, the ocean, and the gatekeeper with his family. Turns out we were near one of the many famous surf spots in Baja, K-38, named for being near the 38 kilometer marker on the highway. Despite having worldwide recognition, surf spots in Baja remain mostly empty. When crossing the border, you only see one or two cars that have surfboards on their rooftops. That means that dozens of spots are open, spots such as Punta Abreojos, Cerritos Beach, San Miguel, Baja Malibu, and more. It’s easy to find an Airbnb in any of these locations and spend days surfing without much wave competition.
  • Public Tijuana Sports Complex
  • Multiple Locations
  • Tijuana
  • There are a couple of dozen sports fields spread throughout the city, managed by the Instituto Municipal del Deporte en Tijuana (IMDET), the branch of government in charge of sports and activities. They are all free, except for minimal parking fees. Places like La Benito, a small sports complex with baseball fields for minors in which home-runs cross over the border, or “El CREA” the biggest sports complex, which includes an Olympic-sized pool, full-size fields, everything for track & field, but only one gated tennis court. It’s situated on the Vía Rápida on the way to the San Ysidro Ready Lane. For tennis, I found “La Veinte,” a large complex situated next to Tijuana’s jail. It houses eight tennis courts, four cement basketball courts, eight handball courts, two pools, a baseball field, a soccer field, and a bunch of stray dogs (that love my extra tennis balls).
  • Bol Bol Bowlingand More
  • Av. Via Rapida Poniente #15035
  • Colonia San Jose, Tijuana
  • The first time I stepped foot inside this TJ bowling alley, a live banda was playing on a stage in the middle of lanes 14-18. Everybody was drunk and dancing, which made the pins fall by themselves. I’m not sure if they switched management, but it’s different now. I’ve been going almost every Thursday for the past year, and now I mostly encounter serious bowlers. The graphics on the screen are still from the late ‘90s but the lanes are polished, well kept, and they are always making small improvements. The biggest advantage is the price. From Monday to Friday, three lanes go for 200 pesos (around $11 USD) with the shoe rental included. The best offer is three hours for $8, valid only Monday to Wednesday from 9 pm to midnight. This being the only bowling alley in Tijuana, the tournaments get competitive.
  • La Officina - Fight Club
  • Av. Revolución 1260
  • Zona Centro, Tijuana
  • “I’m just training my security guards right now,” says Brandon Gushiken, a Hawaiian retired MMA fighter living in Tijuana. He opened a fight gym in Colonia Libertad in 2012 but shut it down to spend time at the bar he opened in 2018 in the middle of Avenida Revolución. Behind blue curtains from the main bar, a fight club scene is revealed. Amateur MMA and boxing fights take place every month inside a caged octagon or a classic boxing ring. When there’s no fight going on, the ring stays up. You are welcome to climb in the ring, put on comically oversized boxing gloves, and fight your buddies to get the blood flowing before a night out in Tijuana.
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