Each class at StudioFit is unique because each of the certified instructors choreographs an exercise routine set to a custom mix of heart-pumping music and lights. They welcome students of all fitness levels for spinning, cardio-kickboxing, and Zumba classes held within a spacious mirrored studio. In spinning classes, exercisers straddle stationary bikes as they pedal along to different resistances. In kickboxing, they make their ways through boxing techniques that fuel cardio workouts. In Zumba classes, dancers move to Latin-based rhythms and music, shaking their hips and performing cardiovascular dance moves more fun than the power-walking man.
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.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
Los Angeles’ Spectrum Athletic Club is a three-story full-service gym, located at the Howard Hughes Center near the 405. The spacious club offers clean, updated equipment in addition to a wide variety of exercise classes, and free parking is available in the adjacent lot. The first floor houses the lobby, a café that serves healthy post-workout fare and a large pool that offers aquatic classes. There’s also a Kids Club, where members can leave their children while working out. Well-appointed locker rooms feature keyless lockers and unlimited towel service, which come in handy on the second floor, where you’ll find the majority of weightlifting equipment and group exercise rooms. Options include yoga, dance, cycling and kickboxing, each helmed by upbeat instructors and pulsing with motivating music. The third floor has numerous cardio machines outfitted with personal TVs and cable, and offers wide views of the rolling Los Angeles landscape.
The atmosphere is charged with energy at the Kinetic Cycling studio, where flat-screen TVs play music videos and surround-sound speakers blast upbeat tunes. Soft lights beam up from the floor, bathing the rows of students pedaling away on stationary bicycles in blue and purple. During classes, an energetic instructor sits atop a bike in front of students, guiding them through the challenging workouts while providing inspiration and motivation.
David Barton, dubbed "The Man Who Made Working Out Cool" by the New York Times, builds gyms that are as much about design as they are function. Walking into a David Barton Gym is like entering a dreamscape. The Collins location evokes a futuristic version of Atlantis: workout equipment appears to be at the bottom of the ocean beneath neon blue lighting and a wavy metallic ceiling, presided over by an imposing skeleton of an ancient sea creature chained to the wall. Where as the Astor Place location resembles an art museum, decked out in bold fuchsia lighting, Victorian-era furniture, damask wallpaper, and graffiti-style art work.
Though the décor varies from place to place, the focus on fitness does not. At each David Barton Gym, members can hit treadmills or lift weights. They can also work up a sweat in group fitness classes, which mix familiar workouts with more unusual offerings. After stretching and strengthening in yoga and Pilates, they can head to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears intensive, after which they'll receive a complimentary vial of the blood, sweat, and tears shed throughout the boot-camp-style sessions.