The gym looks like equal parts Olympic training facility and old warehouse—here, exercisers hoist themselves up rows of pull-up bars, grunt around a collection of kettlebells, and hop through jump-rope routines. On a power-lifting platform, a lifter explodes from a squat, hoisting a plate-loaded bar up to his shoulders and then dropping under it to catch the weight over his head. Elsewhere, athletes do dips on gymnast rings and build a sweat on rowing machines.
This low-tech setting is typical of all true CrossFit gyms. Though the equipment may be basic, the results are not: CrossFit workouts develop all measures of physical fitness—from power to cardiovascular endurance—through workouts that are broad, general, and inclusive. This approach is often described as specializing in not specializing: it develops physical fitness in ways equally beneficial to everyone, from professional mixed martial artists and police officers to weekend softball players.
CrossFit gyms typically start clients in a foundational program where trainers teach the basic movements, such as the squat, dead lift, and pull-up. Every exercise is scalable to a version that clients can complete—a pull-up, for example, can be scaled back to a negative pull-up, a static hang, or body-weight row with gymnast rings. It can also be scaled to a more challenging version, such as the kipped pull-up. After students learn CrossFit's basic movements, they move on to open group classes, which follow the ever-changing WOD, or Workout of the Day. These workouts are short and intense, and they foster camaraderie through frequent team circuits. In addition to supervising WOD class, trainers coach members on nutrition, advocating a caveman-style diet of low-glycemic carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins such as raptor meat.
The happy welcome from The Face Place’s babbling indoor fountain is echoed by licensed aesthetician Julie Lynn Council, who makes her clients feel at home in a spa filled with the aroma of scented candles. The sound of running water continues into the dimly lit treatment rooms, where Julie, armed with Hungarian-made Éminence Organic Skin Care products, nourishes any skin type with targeted products such as a coconut cleanser for dehydrated skin or strawberry-rhubarb serum for strawberry-shaped pores. To complement the spa’s traditional facials and peels, Julie performs more advanced procedures such as micro-current treatments and LED light therapy, a rejuvenating service that relies on the anti-aging powers of LED lights to banish wrinkles and hyperpigmentation from the skin. The Face Place’s petite menu also offers Cry Baby semipermanent mascara to thicken lash lines.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At Altamonte Springs Body Contouring, technicians overseen by the medical director, Doctor of Chiropractic Ken Ross, firm and tighten faces and bodies without resorting to surgery. First, clients undergo an in-depth one-on-one consultation that determines how to custom tailor their treatments. They might qualify for a face-lifting microcurrent facial, a skin-sloughing microdermabrasion, or a collagen-boosting and tightening ultrasound or radio-frequency facial. Clients might also get an ultrasonic fat-reduction treatment designed to help clients to lose weight without dieting excessively or pushing their car to work every morning. The technicians track each client's progress throughout their treatments. The treatments are noninvasive and require no downtime.
Each Eye Doctor’s Optical Outlets location is doctor-owned, uniting the staff with a common vision to sharpen sight and boost eye health. Eye examinations reveal prescriptions and uncover any other ocular problems. After patients choose a new set of lenses, the in-house technicians get to work crafting them in the shop’s own lab rather than sending them off to be made during a summer camp’s arts and crafts day. Sundry designer frames border eyes in looks from Giorgio Armani and Marc Jacobs to Nike and Harley Davidson, and there is usually a trio of technicians in the shop, enabling multiple clients to summon help with a single pigeon call.
At Dance Centers of Orlando, instructors work to foster an atmosphere of inclusion and support, helping kids to develop a strong sense of self-confidence to complement their fancy footwork. In each of the three studios, instructors fuse choreographed routines, dance combinations, and technical exercises into curricula focused on styles ranging from ballet and tap to hip-hop and martial arts. The studio's Marley sprung floors support little twinkle toes, helping to prevent injury. As the youths hone their skills, their parents can observe their progress on closed-circuit TVs or search the web via free WiFi to find the best ways to make nutcrackers come to life.