It was the early 1980s, and after devoting about a decade of her life to fitness, Zayna Gold felt like her body was beaten up. Over time, she began noticing that her high-intensity gym workouts were hurting her body as much as—if not more than—they were helping it. Her husband, Clark, was having the same problem. An avid weightlifter and runner, he found the physical wear and tear was starting to prevent him from maintaining his physique. Zayna recalled teaching Pilates early on in her career, and how it worked her entire body with low-impact movements. She returned to the lengthening and strengthening classes, and by 1989, she and Clark founded Boston Body Pilates.
Their mat, equipment, and barre classes each call upon low-impact stretches and resistance moves that strengthen the core, elongate muscles, and promote overall muscle tone. Zayna's signature program, Brand New Body, challenges students to complete 30 Pilates or barre classes over 2–3 months; and upon completion, they may notice significant changes to their figure. The schedule also includes spinning classes, in diverse variations such as Zen Spin and Spin Bootcamp. In any class, Zayna and her large team of instructors inspire their students to establish a mind-body connection, helping them to feel both physically and mentally stronger, much like solving a crossword puzzle carved in stone.
At Inner Strength Studios, seasoned instructors such as E-RYT 500 instructor Roman Szpond lead vinyasa yoga sessions for beginners, experts, and kids as young as five. Classes ranging from 60 to 90 minutes are held in heated rooms within Innerstrength's Boston studios, which were recently renovated after the Watertown location suffered fire damage. Aspiring teachers can take Innerstrength's 200-hour training program, which instills advanced yoga knowledge through classes, workshops, and a rollercoaster ride through a giant lotus. The studios also provide a slate of other services, such as personal training and massage therapy sessions.
Fitcorp's trainers have big shoes to fill. Founder Gary Klencheski earned his exercise technician certification from the American College of Sports Medicine and served on the Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports for 20 years. Klencheski's passion and expertise trickle down through each of his gyms' eight facilities, where each personal trainer has a degree in exercise science, a nationally accredited certification, and the charisma of a dictator holding pompoms.
The gym's array of fitness services includes cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as group Pilates, yoga, boot-camp, and Zumba classes. Massage and acupuncture sessions keep the body in high gear, and an onsite nutritionist offers nutrition tips developed by registered dietitian Amy Boyce.
Light streams in through the studio windows, bouncing off the painted brick walls and illuminating the yogis—each like a cat arching its back in a sunbeam—stretching on the hardwood floor. At Shiva Shakti Yoga Center, instructors, each with at least 500 hours of training, tailor each 60- to 90-minute yoga class to accommodate the needs of students of all experience levels. Drawing on such methods as hatha, Vinyasa, vigorous, restorative, and Anusara, the dynamic of fluid sessions help strengthen muscles and center minds for yogis of all kinds. The studio also hosts occasional workshops with guest teachers to keep bodies limber through varied regimens.
Waverley Oaks Athletic Club was founded in 1979 as a racquetball club by a family focused on fitness. Over the years, they added on to the club, creating a 55,000-square-foot facility with modern workout equipment, fitness classes, and amenities such as a nursery and heated indoor pool. In addition to its four regulation-size racquetball courts, Waverley Oaks now also houses facilities for volleyball, basketball, and spinning. Strength training and cardio rooms provide dumbbells of up to 120 pounds and more than 10 types of cardio machines. Groups can stretch their muscles in yoga classes or prepare for community theater roles as Jean-Claude Van Damme in kickboxing classes.
At Bikram Yoga Waverley, it's always summer—at least, it feels that way. The sultry studio stays hot no matter the season, thanks to its full slate of Bikram yoga classes. The studio's team of seasoned instructors each received certification in the signature 26-pose hot yoga style that mimics the sultry heat found in India during its annual relocation to the sun. The studio itself sports a purpose-built heating system and floors designed to stay hygienic and forgiving. During classes, students sweat away equal parts calories and self-doubt, reshaping physiques while honing mental intangibles including patience, determination, and willpower.