When it comes to martial arts, Krav Defense founder and head instructor Anthony Santopadre has done it all. He began studying karate and judo 25 years ago, then earned his first and second black belts in the art of jujitsu. After 10 years of training, Santopadre decided to expand his horizons and belt collection yet again, studying for and receiving his third black belt in kung fu.
It was during his kung fu education that Santopadre discovered krav maga. The instinctive movements, practical techniques, and realistic training scenarios appealed to Santopadre, so he immersed himself in the discipline and became a certified level-three instructor through the Krav Maga Security Federation in Israel. He shares his ability to disable assailants and wrestle nuts away from squirrels in a variety of classes, including fitness-focused cardio sessions and ground-fighting classes that focus on takedowns and submissions. The techniques of krav maga are tools for self-defense that can be effectively carried out by men, women, and children.
Ultimate Gym's trainers first kicked open its doors in 1986, and their no-nonsense attitude toward hard work and smart training have endured since then. Trainers challenge students through cardio and muscle-toning drills in boot camps, yoga, and Zumba sessions, and a staff, led by coach Billy Reuter, uploads self-defense maneuvers into feet and fists in their Ultimate Fighting Solutions classes for kids and adults. Layered on a foundation of Krav Maga, which was developed and battlefield tested by the Israeli Defense Forces, the system blends moves from across the martial-arts spectrum to train people to defend against real-world scenarios. After churning out new muscles, guests can visit the onsite chiropractor to manage pain, recover from an injury, and turn their heads back toward the front after a boxing match.
After a performance of The Nutcracker, Cirque Du Soleil, or the Radio City Rockettes, it’s not uncommon to see the dancers head down to teach a class at Nancy's Dance Factory. Led by Nancy Hayden, the artistic director, the team at Nancy's Dance Factory has been enriching students’ lives with dance for more than 35 years. They specialize in a variety of dance styles, ranging from ballet and tap to tumbling, pointe, hip-hop, and contemporary. Nancy's Dance Factory welcomes boys and girls as young as 2.5 years old.
Members of Synergy Fitness Clubs thrive on choice. Choice of location? There are nine. Choice of activity? Instructors lead classes in almost any form of exercise imaginable, such as power sculpt, full-body circuits, and intense cycling. To make sure that members are making the choices that will help reach their fitness goals the fastest, the clubs are staffed with more than 100 lifestyle coaches. These pros are continually educated in their fields of specialty—which might mean nutrition counseling, yoga, or boxing.
A wide slate of equipment and amenities makes it as easy as possible to fit in workouts. Most locations are open 24 hours, and while parents lift free weights or dance a beautiful tango with a Precor elliptical, their kids can hang out in a free childcare room.
Nicole Tzen, Inner Balance’s owner and a certified holistic practitioner, wants to do more than treat illness; she strives to empower clients to take control of their own health. That’s why, in addition to offering integrative-healing services such as massage therapy, acupressure, and reiki healing, she hosts a range of yoga classes to bolster clients’ fitness. This balance between mind, body, and spirit is also seen in the wellness center’s Peaceful Minds program, in which licensed holistic practitioner Amy Mahoney provides free massage therapy, reiki healing, and yoga and meditation instruction for combat veterans.
World-renowned fighter Tiger Schulmann and his staff of certified instructors motivate jabs from knees, legs, and feet during calorie-blasting kickboxing classes. Schulmann crafted his style with techniques from mixed martial arts and street self-defense, concocting each kick to improve students' strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and the ability to fight back against vigilante soccer teams. The studio's martial-arts mavens also help novice kickers craft a customized diet plan during a nutrition consultation, and more modestly clothe naked fists in a pair of complimentary training gloves. Once students master beginning moves, they can advance to other martial-arts challenges, such as high-kicking their way out of a room made of Jello.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Towns Sports International's network of fitness loci, welcomes exercisers to a number of equipment-stocked facilities to help attain perspiration-soaked fitness goals at a convenient location. Strength-training gear such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls filled with black holes mold muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Calories simmer and move to cooler climates after sessions on cardio machines ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draw from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, to keep members from jazzercising without a spotter. Each location thanks exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features, such as babysitting, though Passport memberships do not include pool access.