The hiss and clank of weight machines from manufacturers such as Cybex and Precor blend with the whir of recumbent cycles and treadmills to form the perpetual soundtrack at each of Dolphin Fitness Clubs’ 24-hour locations. To augment individual exercise regimens, nationally certified staffers teach aerobic classes throughout the week, with offerings ranging from classic step classes to low-impact yoga and pillow-fighting lessons.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Town Sports International's network of fitness loci, opens up a number of equipment-stocked facilities across New York to exercisers. Strength-training gear, such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls, molds muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Sessions on cardio machines, ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles, inspire burnt calories to pack up and move to cooler climates. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draws from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, ensuring that no member has to jazzercise without a spotter. Each location rewards exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features such as babysitting, saunas, and steam rooms.
When Drita D'Avanzo, a cast member of VH1’s Mob Wives, enlisted for one-on-one training at Evolution Boxing, she was fresh off a rooftop brawl. Hoping to unleash her simmering anger, she teamed up with Anthony, a boxing instructor. "I've got to turn over a new leaf," she explained on the show, "I'm taking it from the rooftop to the ring." As she threw punches, she began to experience release—and control. Upon leaving, she concluded, "Now I don't have to hit anybody."
D'Avanzo successfully channeled her aggression into an appropriate outlet. In doing so, she proved Evolution Boxing's commitment to serving individual needs, whether through group or personal instruction. Instructors classify boxers according to experience and tailor all subsequent instruction to drive toward goals. They equip children for playground brawls with anti-bullying classes, help women defend against attackers with self-defense classes, and help everyday working professionals knock out lunch thieves with the Blue Collar program.
Experienced and novice yogis alike are welcome at the Yoga Spot, where the friendly, experienced instructors lead classes in a relaxing, noncompetitive space. Group classes have the feel of a private session, thanks to the instructors' careful attention to each student. They lead a variety of yoga classes as well, from invigorating Vinyasa sessions to prenatal yoga.
The fitness instructors at Exotic Curves Pole Fitness Studio create design and lead sultry pole-dance classes in an effort to boost good health, chisel strong physiques, and bolster self-confidence. Owner and pole instructor Stephanie Mancuso, a dancer since age 7, forged the swirl-inducing dance studio close to her hometown, fusing her love for dancing, her enthusiasm for helping others, and her passion for vintage fireman poles. Utilizing knowledge of a variety of dance techniques—such as Zumba, belly dancing, and chair dancing—the studio’s staff provides a number of steamy outlets to foster streamlined silhouettes and release pent-up energy. Stephanie and her staff also host special events, such as bachelorette parties for brides-to-be and retirement shindigs for nostalgic polecats.
Passersby that peer inside the windows of CKO Kickboxing won’t see treadmills, ellipticals, or stairclimbers. Instead, they’ll spot rows of heavy bags lurching backward and sideways from the force of participants’ kicks and right hooks. The kickboxing-focused gym doesn’t need excessive equipment or a catalog full of workout programs—the high-intensity fitness regimen of kickboxing is more than enough to shape up CKO members. Students of all levels reap the system’s multifaceted benefits, burning up to 1,200 calories per class, releasing stress, and developing a six-pack more realistically than drawing on their midsections with a marker.