About 20 miles away at Hercules (Calif.) Fitness Gym, kids ages 3 and up work with personal trainers and CrossFit instructors Lesha Capitanich Kastl and Bryan Kastl on running and squatting skills as their parents take pictures.
"Parents want their kids to be introduced to a gym and have the tools for exercising later on," says Jackson, co-owner of Forma. His gym has about 50 young clients, ages 6 and up, whose parents pay up to $75 an hour for these one-on-one sessions.
With nearly 20 percent of children obese or at risk of becoming obese, according to the 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, many parents are desperate to get their kids active.
But there are other reasons, besides weight management, why parents are footing the bill for professional fitness services. Kids like Zakery, who plays ice hockey, want a competitive edge over their peers.
"We're giving him all the tools he needs to succeed," says Nelson Galambos, Zakery's dad. "Not only does it keep him busy and out of trouble, he excels. It's a wise investment."
Galambos also says it will pay off for Zakery not only physically but mentally.
"He will notice a difference when he competes against kids his age and older kids," he says.
Zakery asked for a trainer, and Galambos says that he wouldn't push Zakery to use one to improve his hockey skills if Zakery didn't want it. The family hopes the extra help might lead to a scholarship for Zakery, who would like to attend a top-tier school on the East Coast such as Boston University.
Others, including 17-year-old Matthew Haupmann, work out with personal trainers to boost their self-esteem and improve their physiques. Haupmann has been working with trainer Kirk Michals for more than a year. A skinny kid when he first arrived at All in One Fitness in Walnut Creek, Haupmann has gained 32 pounds of muscle.
"I feel a lot more confident now that I have a bigger body and more muscle," says Haupmann, adding that the exercise has helped him focus in life in general.
His trainer, Michals, sees the change in Haupmann's personality.
"When kids train, they become more open when they become more active. Matthew has really opened up a lot. If he didn't find this, he might have not found an outlet," Michals says.
His mom, Emma Andreoli, says Haupmann was never into sports so she wanted to get him active somehow. Having him come to All in One Fitness has helped Haupmann find his exercise niche. She thinks he will enjoy exercising like this for the rest of his life, and now Haupmann is training with Michals to get fit in order to become a firefighter.
"He's found something (working with a trainer) that he likes, and it's worth it to me," she says.
Back in Hercules, eight young children surround Kastl and her husband during the CrossFit class. CrossFit — a cross-training program developed for adults but tweaked for these children — has the kids running around, using suspended rings and playing games for 30 minutes.
Sierra Thompson, 3, is engaged in the activities, although she likely doesn't even know she's exercising. She does squats before her turn at "duck, duck, goose" and keeps up with the older kids as they run around the workout area.
Sierra's mom, Staci Thompson, used to teach physical education at a local school. She's worried about current obesity rates for children and adults as well as cuts to physical education classes at schools.
"I think it's important to get kids exercising at an early age," she says. "I want Sierra to have a healthy lifestyle and be healthy."
Carol Jorgensen, guardian to 4-year-old Khamani McGhee, says she models fitness for him by working out herself at Hercules Fitness Gym. Experts say parents and guardians are the best role models for their children's future habits, and little guys like Khamani will learn that exercise is fun through classes like CrossFit.
And classes, training and gym time are considered safer in some parents' minds than letting kids play outside. Thompson noted that when she was a child, she used to play with friends outside, leaving the door unlocked all day. Now, she says, "I lock the door right when I go inside. It's just not the same as it used to be out there."