When you walk into Mirror Image Fitness, you might wonder if you've accidentally wandered into a swanky living room. A far cry from the typical big-box gym atmosphere, the intimate fitness club welcomes guests with soft lamplight and a stone fireplace. The walls are decorated with framed artwork and black-and-white damask wallpaper, which, along with rich wood furniture, lends the space a cozy, home-like vibe. Walking in, you might find a DJ spinning tunes or a throng of members relaxing on the white leather sofas in the lounge area before a class or a personal-training session. Potted trees and plants flank the sun-drenched cardio machines, making the workout feel like a peaceful jog along a nature trail or through David Attenborough’s limousine.
The club is the brainchild of Derek Norman, who learned about discipline and motivation while going through training camp with the San Diego Chargers. Norman's fitness philosophy promotes the unique needs and goals of each member as well as the skills of his trainers, whose specialties range from yoga to boxing.
In a spinning class, the goal is simple: pedal as much as you can. This an easy goal to achieve at PEDAL Spin, thanks to classes that combine energizing music and visuals to make riding a stationary bike even more fun than the real thing. Different instructors inject their own personalities into their classes, ensuring that no two workouts are quite the same. But regardless of who's leading them, spinning classes always boost the heart rate, build strength in the core and legs, and provide an excuse to break out the ol' riding hat.
A triathlete since 2004, Brandon Hament knows cycling's physical rigors and benefits firsthand. At The Cycle Annex - the indoor cycling facility Brandon has run since 2007 - his crew of instructors imbue beginners with pedal-pumping confidence at introductory sessions during which pupils first familiarize themselves with their bike before hopping on and burning calories. For cycling students of all levels, Brandon's team lead more intensive workouts such as the Ultimate 90, a combination of core and strength training that segues into an hour of riding. An abdominal workout on yoga mats follows cycling during AB 20 sessions, while interval cycling gives way to running and stretching during brick workouts. In between exercises, guests can hydrate with complementary gulps of The Cycle Annex's oxygenated, filtered water.
The certified instructors at Pilates Sculpt Studio forge strong muscles and mind-body connections through the system of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates. Pilates, the son of two gymnasts, devoted his lifetime to studying fitness. He eventually developed his signature Pilates method as a way to help heal old injuries and correct poor postures. His exercises and stretches, using the body as resistance, are especially useful for people who sit at their desks all day or sleep on lava rocks at night.
At the helm of Equilibrium Fitness' studio is Annabelle Rosemurgy, an equestrian and former Olympic athlete whose performances required enough core strength to pull off a handstand atop her horse during competitions. In her studio, she helms a team of certified instructors that leads a host of amped up Pilates routines and RealRyder indoor cycling classes.
Fifty five-minute SPX Pilates classes initiate novices into the intense practice, designed to keep on incinerating calories hours after the sessions end. The studio’s bread and butter, however, are the SPX and Systeme Dynamique classes—variations on the Pilates method—that use circuit training to target extra weight in the hips and thighs and isolate muscle groups all over the body to sculpt, tone, burn fat, and increase flexibility. Even the studio's indoor cycling sessions target core muscles, strengthen the upper body, and torch calories, getting legs pumping on RealRyder bikes that allow riders to steer and lean, simulating the real cycling experience of avoiding potholes and the maneating Sarlaccs that live inside them.
Erin, a certified group fitness trainer and master personal trainer, created her own workouts geared toward resistance training, stability ball exercise, dance, and specific muscle-conditioning programs. For a time, her pound-dropping moves were on display with a show on NBC’s Exercises TV on Demand. She now offers her skills in a group setting and during personal-training sessions, and helps kids stay in shape with a specialty program geared toward them. All her classes are for men and women and held in rooms that are either glow-in-the-dark or dark with colored lights, creating a party atmosphere.