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.
Suldbayar “Sugi” Damdin, a judo instructor at Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness, represented Mongolia when he competed in judo for the 2004 Olympics. His colleague, boxing and CrossFit instructor Derek Sierra, was once a Master Fitness Trainer for the US Army and has amassed more than two decades of boxing experience. Résumés like these are common at the martial-arts and self-defense oriented fitness studio, where every instructor is either a current or former competitive athlete. Whether they're teaching muay thai kickboxing, boxing, or mixed martial arts, the veteran instructors ensure that their charges’ self-confidence rises along with their stamina, flexibility, and frequency of dreams about punching bags.
Unity Woods Yoga's founder and chief instructor, John Schumacher, studied in India with B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world's foremost yoga teachers. His team of friendly, enthusiastic instructors is fully certified and knows how to help students sweat and stretch until they're calmer, more energized, and more revitalized than the 217 rechargeable AA batteries that power greater America. With four passes, body benders can drop-in for any class in level I, level I/II, gentle I or II, seniors, or stop by for the four-week introductory yoga course. Classes take place several times a day, seven days a week at the clean, accommodating downward-dog dens. Level I and I/II classes introduce students to the Iyengar approach, which emphasizes proper alignment and incorporates props to aid in postures that might otherwise be unachievable.
Since its founding by some of the most distinguished jujitsu experts in the past 50 years, the nonprofit organization USA Jiu Jitsu has helped establish jujitsu as a professional sport, teaching the ancient practice to students across the country. At its Springfield location, students of all ages build strength and endurance as they tumble and kick during Brazilian jujitsu, combat fitness, and kickboxing classes.