Ask A Local Trainer: The Best Ways To Get Fit In The South Bay

January 12, 2013 5:00 AM

Participants exercise as part of Belin Sport and Fitness’ four week boot camp, near Dupont Circle on October 19, 2010 in Washington DC. AFP/PHOTO Kimihiro Hoshino (Photo credit should read KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)

Ask any athletic trainer when the busiest time of the year is and the answer is almost always right after New Year’s, and for good reason. Many Bay Area residents think the best way to ring in the new year is by being more health conscious and more physically active. While fitness clubs can often be crowded with new and longtime members, there are plenty of benefits through group exercise classes and individualized instruction. One of the best fitness professionals in the South Bay is Al Painter of Integrate Performance Fitness. Here are his recommendations for the best ways to get fit in the South Bay.

Integrate Performance Fitness
2624 Fayette Drive, Suite D
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 941-9148

1. Lifting Weights

Lifting weights is great for building total body strength and fat loss. It is probably the best way to combat the effects of sitting at a desk all day and getting on top of low back pain. A group class is always great for motivation to help you stick to your resolutions. Classes usually conclude with a cool down session with stretching, aiding in tissue repair while reducing the risk of injury.

2. Hiking

Rancho San Antonio is one of the more popular spots in the Peninsula. This scenic Open Space Preserve in Cupertino offers nearly 25 miles of trails for hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians. The one drawback is that no dogs are permitted on the trails. But for families with children, a visit to the Deer Hollow Farm a few miles from the entrance can make for a very delightful occasion.

3. Cycling

There are a ton of great places to ride through Woodside on the road as well as very beginner-friendly mountain bike trails at Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto. One popular South Bay road-riding course is a loop that passes through the communities of Ladera, Portola Valley, Woodside and Menlo Park. Of course, it is always important to plan ahead and be prepared for inclement weather, particularly in the first three months of the year when there is always a chance of rain. Al Painter also conducts group outdoor rides, and these programs resume in April.

Related: The South Bay’s Best Ice Skating Spots

4. Indoor Cycling Class

Al says that the best indoor cycling classes are taught by people who have outdoor riding experience. There are a multitude of fitness clubs that offer classes throughout the East Bay and many feature instructor biographies on their websites. Most gyms offer a free or paid guest pass but always require signing a liability of release. Indoor cycling or any workout indoors can really pay off, especially if the weather prevents people from pursuing outdoor activities.

5. The Best Exercises are the Ones You Will Do

Lastly, Al has a personal word of advice that might very well be his most important tip: “Whenever someone asks me what the best exercises are, I always answer with ‘the ones you will do.’ You will have a much higher rate of success by choosing an activity if you enjoy doing it. You would never have a thoroughbred do plow horse work, and it is the exact same thing for us!”

Related: Take a Daytrip to Palo Alto

About Al Painter:

Al is the founder and owner of Integrate Performance Fitness in Mountain View, California. He has received recognition from local publications as Best Bay Area Personal Trainer and Northern California’s Best Health Club. A graduate of Santa Clara University, he also serves time as a fitness editor for

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on