At American River CrossFit, you'll see people from varied backgrounds, ages, and fitness levels all working hard in the name of fitness. Whatever their mastery level of the moves, they sweat and persevere through intense sessions led by highly knowledgeable coaches who help them achieve their long-term goals. Instructors aren't there just to shout directions and wrestle non-compliant barbells to the floor, though. They're also a source of constant encouragement and support. The center's air of inclusiveness helps motivate members and also keeps beginners engaged as they ramp up their CrossFit abilities. The facility also offers an introductory class so that newcomers can explore the gym, learn about CrossFit methodology, and participate in a mini workout to find out what CrossFit sessions entail.
CrossFit studios pulse with high-intensity workout routines. As students undergo varied exercises from the scheduled Workout of the Day, a shoal of coaches circumnavigates the floor, guiding movements, ensuring safety, and stopping any public displays of affection between star-crossed kettlebells. Combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and track-and-field techniques, CrossFit aims to build the kind of resilience, strength, and versatility that lends itself to every athletic endeavor, equipping students with the stamina to conquer any challenge they might face. Instructors scale each workout up or down to accommodate individual levels of fitness or exercisers recovering from restrictive injuries.
Each day, the trainers at CrossFit Sacramento challenge their members with a new workout, wringing sweat from every muscle with exercises based on high-intensity, functional movements. Other than a pair of Livestrong bikes and a few rowing machines, they've kept their black-and-yellow gym free of most traditional gym equipment. Here, gymnastics rings dangle from frames, climbing ropes hang from the ceiling, and rows of medicine balls and kettlebells line the walls. The instructors can modify the workouts to match almost any ability level, accommodating both hardcore fitness fanatics and those who haven't ever worked out. The challenging routines change frequently to keep minds from getting bored and fluttering out of skulls midworkout—for example, one day students might heave kettlebells and hop onto boxes, and the next they might climb ropes and blast through reps of push-ups.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The trainers at Muay Thai Lao Kickboxing Academy impart martial arts knowledge from both nations at the academy's Sacramento and Elk Grove locations, where punching bags line concrete walls and wait patiently for flurries delivered by padded fists. A full schedule of morning, afternoon, and evening kickboxing classes welcomes men, women, and children ages six and up. Kick-boxers of all skill levels can participate in muay-thai training to achieve a variety of personal goals, such as shedding weight or walking the path of muay-thai champion.
Though now spread over the United States with 27 locations, Crunch gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment and not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty years later, Crunch gyms' fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.