Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women’s-only gym’s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym’s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym’s complimentary daycare, whose staffers stay in touch with each other via two-way talk radios, rather than by sending them regular flocks of carrier pigeons.
Though it was originally designed only for starship evacuations and hikes through goblin-infested forests, the buddy system is also an excellent way to stay in shape, as today's deal proves. For $20, you get an hour-long personal training session (a $60 value) and two-month membership (a $168 value) to Federal Hill Fitness, a Baltimore magazine top gym. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Designed by founder and renaissance woman Lynne Brick and her accomplished husband, Victor, Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick's health clubs share a fitness cornucopia of group classes, personal-training sessions, and women’s health tips. They stock their workout facilities with premium cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as offer amenities that may include pools, childcare services, and volcano-free saunas. Each of the seven locations sports its own personality, including the Owings Mills and Belvedere facilities, which operate as all-female communities.
The Brick's also employ a team of certified instructors, who lead more than 30 types of group fitness classes, allowing students of all skill levels access to sessions that range from low-impact workouts, such as BodyVive, to more intense courses, such as the kickboxing-inspired BodyCombat classes.
If instead of attending galas, Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre joined a yoga class, the venue would probably look a lot like MV Fitness. Inside a Mount Vernon mansion, stationary cycles face floor-to-ceiling windows beneath a vintage chandelier that is warmly reflected in an ornately framed mirror hung above the fireplace. Enormous wooden french doors open onto rooms full of weight machines and cardio equipment, potted plants filling lungs with fresh oxygen as members get into shape. In between punching bags and wall-mounted weightlifting machines, pop art and stained-glass windows add to the antique space's genuine allure. As Baltimore magazine wrote in its Top Gyms of 2012 column, besides the personal trainers and drop-in group fitness classes, “you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier gym out there.”
The state-of-the-art gyms offer experienced workouteers and more leisure-inclined visitors a fun and encouraging environment to blast body fat and tone tummies. The Hunt Valley Express location offers quick cardio and strength-training equipment for the unfussy athlete, while the Timonium and Harbor East locations will impress even the most distinguished gym designer. Both locations boast aquatic centers complete with a lap pool; two warm-water therapy pools for relaxing, float training, or injury rehabilitation; and a 104-degree coed whirlpool. The Harbor East locale offers more than 50 group classes each week, and Timonium offers more than 100 classes in everything from yoga, Pilates, and Zumba to kickboxing and spinning. Both gyms house more than 100 pieces of cardio and strength equipment, nearly all equipped with personal entertainment systems. The Harbor East location boasts four squash courts for fierce battles of paddling domination, and both locations offer Internet cafes and kids clubs where pre-Olympians participate in stimulating and creative activities under the watchful eye of the friendly MAC staff.
In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.