A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Since 1973, each of Sport&Health's clubs has aimed for full fitness coverage with programs for every taste and family member. Guests can spark positive lifestyle changes with workouts and wellness services, or engage in a variety of sports. Each facility houses different athletic amenities for games and laps, from pristine swimming pools to squash and racquetball courts. The camaraderie of group classes such as Zumba and Les Mills BodyPump barbell routines complement scores of club equipment meant for exercising solo—or with the guidance of a certified personal trainer. The clubs also emphasize kid-friendly activities with arts and crafts, Kidz Klub childcare, and youth certification courses that teach teens the ins and outs of training. Depending on the location, spa treatments can knead tension from muscles and paint one's favorite kettlebell with a layer of Shellac.
Driven to share her passion for yoga with others, Quiet Mind Yoga’s director Rita Maximilian left her career in business development and education-policy reform to become a yoga instructor. She and her dedicated instructors guide students of all fitness levels through a variety of yoga classes—with a focus on the Iyengar and Ashtanga practices—at Columbia Heights’s first yoga studio. They help newcomers build a foundation for their practice during beginner sessions by walking pupils through standing and seated postures, and challenge more advanced students in intermediate-level Vinyasa classes that connect postures with athletic transitional movements, culminating in the secret yogi handshake. As a member of Live Green, Quiet Mind Yoga's studio provides environmentally friendly props, mats, and blankets to help students enhance their yoga practice while giving Mother Nature the day off.
Hot Yoga's name is a simple representation of a complex art. There, yogis gather students in warm rooms for 60- to 80-minute stretching sessions that limber up the body, purge toxins from the blood stream, and accelerate the natural healing process. They teach primarily Vinyasa-style yoga, which connects asana through flowing movements supported by deliberate breathing exercises. Beyond classes, the instructors also keep guests stretched and sweltering in private lessons or group yoga parties.
In addition to simple lessons, Hot Yoga's staff also unlocks the art of instruction itself, offering both a 200-hour and 500-hour registered-yoga-teacher certification in accordance with the teaching standards of the Yoga Alliance. These lessons involve both classroom time with senior instructors and personal study, and culminate in a test in which yogis must be able to describe what the bottoms of their feet look like when upside down and backwards.
Owner and studio director Valerie Grange believes that you can "discover your true self through the healing power of a regular yoga practice and mind-body holistic therapies." She created Buddha B Yoga as a place where students of all experience levels can further their mental and physical well-being. Along with a team of diverse and experienced instructors, she leads students through various styles of yoga on the sunny studio's gleaming bamboo floors. In Vinyasa classes, students link continuous, flowing postures with the deep-breathing Ujjayi technique, or turn stiff muscles into pliable play-doh during Yin and Yang yoga's sun salutations. Demonstrating their passion for the earth, the staff promotes veganism and hosts workshops to raise funds to help rescue animals and spirit animals in need.
A team of friendly gurus runs each club. Fitness buffs of all buffness levels feel welcome in the fun and accommodating atmosphere at Washington Sports Clubs. During your two weeks, you get access to all the professional equipment, group exercise classes, locker rooms, and facility amenities offered (some group exercise classes require a reservation). Different clubs have on-site features such as pools, Pilates and yoga, babysitting services for a tag-along papoose, electricity, and more. Search for the club that suits your checklist here.
Northwest Sport & Health is the sort of facility where it’s possible to get a reasonably-priced workout in, without having to fight through long lines at machine stations, crowded classes or intimidating surroundings. The Tenleytown gym is filled with regular folks, each just trying to keep fit and trim using high-quality cardio and weight machines. For a more one-for-all approach, group fitness classes are also offered, including Zumba, yoga, Pilates and cardio kickboxing. There are also a number of six-week specialized fitness programs, along with personal training options from knowledgeable and trained staff. Spacious dressing rooms and convenience to the Metro are other pluses, and on-site childcare facilities make it a breeze for parents to work in some quick cardio.
Stroga Strength and Yoga is the perfect name for Doug Jefferies’ fitness studio, as his goal is to help clients reach optimal levels of wellness through a combination of strength conditioning and yoga_. The studio sprawls out within the L'Aiglon building, an early 20th-century construction accented by stained-glass windows and extensive woodwork. Inside the immense yoga space, ivory chandeliers drip from an intricately carved ceiling of the same hue, and periwinkle walls alternate with floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe up to 100 yogis in natural light. An azure ceiling painted with puffy white clouds tops the open-concept fitness area, which accommodates group classes for up to 20 students or up to one massively over-stuffed teddy bear.
LA Boxing’s fight-centric gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
The lack of fixed-plane machines in the weight-training studio may seem unconventional and surprising at first, but the reason for the omission is a simple one: BodySmith Training Gym believes that each client should be paired with a customized workout routine based on the guidance of a personal trainer, rather than one based on waiting in line for the treadmill. The personal trainers—all armed with certifications—work with guests to achieve their fitness goals using kettlebells, free weights, and cardio machines such as the outrun-a-charging-bull machine. Guests can also sign up for a number of group fitness classes, such as yoga, boxing, or boot camps that motivate using military-style discipline and lots of compliments.
Mint Club Spa Retreat's expert Pilates instructors lead core-fortifying, muscle-lengthening workouts in a small group atmosphere. Reformer Pilates fuses the foundational characteristics of mat exercises with the resistance benefits of the reformer apparatus, enabling a more dynamic workout and an increased number of potential exercises. In an intimate group atmosphere, exercisers will employ the resistance powers of the reformer's pulleys, springs, and bratty children for a full-body workout that helps to enhance the body’s control over its own movements. Building long, lean muscles and strengthening the core, Pilates also helps to boost the meat suit's posture, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Check online for updated class schedules; reformer classes are new at Mint's Downtown location and classes will be added in late March and early April.
To the fitness experts who run The P Spot Fitness Studio, pole dancing is much more than an art of seduction—it’s a means to a healthier mind, body, and spirit. Within their 2,000-square-foot space, instructors use the discipline’s sultry swings, dips, and lifts to sculpt tight physiques in pole fitness classes. They also deploy fast-paced aerobics and exotic dance moves in Hot in Heels classes, getting blood pumping without screaming “Fire!” into IV drips. But lifestyle makeovers don’t end after class; a full slate of health services such as nutritional counseling, weight-loss camps, and a boot-camp getaway in the Caribbean weaves wellness into all aspects of life.
City Fitness Gym promotes healthier lifestyles in a community environment with cardio and weight equipment, communal fitness classes, and personal-training sessions. The cardio area houses a cross-section of calorie-busting machines such as Life Fitness treadmills, a Versa Climber machine, and Concept II Rowers. A full free-weight room comes stocked with balance boards, medicine balls, and kettlebells, accompanied by weight machines to help clients add some definition to their frames.
A full schedule of classes, including Pilates, yoga and body-sculpting sessions as well as one-hour personal-training that helps clients map out their fitness goals without having to watching old VHS tapes of Pumping Iron.