Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations, allowing professional athletes and exercise newbies to gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At Xtra Fitness, there's never downtime to wonder what machines are free or which exercise you should be doing. That's because the gym doesn't have memberships—it's entirely dedicated to the X-Circuit training program, led by owners Steve and Vanessa Herrick. The program puts students through a 45-minute circuit that incorporates both cardio drills and resistance work, challenging them to heft kettlebells, ropes, and their own bodyweight in between running or plyometrics. Two degrees of intensity accommodate guests of different fitness levels, and the trainers closely supervise each circuit, ensuring that everyone gets individual attention without having to raise their hand during a pushup. To stave off boredom, Steve and Vanessa also develop new circuits regularly.
NASM-certified personal trainer Chris Pietsch helps keep clients focused on their fitness goals, helping them power through workouts in the gym and stay motivated at home. Besides planning workouts that suit individual fitness levels and preferences, Pietsch also creates custom meal plans to help clients keep their diet on track.
Beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers will all find a challenge at Exhale! Pilates & Yoga. Instructors with high-level certifications lead sessions that include cardio karate, slow-flow yoga, and TRX, a class in which dangling straps hold students’ limbs or suctioned tentacles in order to increase the level of resistance training. The instructors also specialize in Pilates lessons, which they provide to solo students, duos, and groups. Pilates has been known to boost energy and coordination, straighten posture, and calm the mind.
A certified health specialist, Shane Yama longed to provide people of all ages and incomes access to affordable and effective workouts. So, with a degree in exercise science, he founded For U Fitness. Today, Shane and his team of a dozen or so certified personal trainers travel from Seattle to Spokane to Portland to residents custom training plans. Taking into account the client's age and fitness abilities, the trainers design sports performance, strength training, and even “mature adult” workouts to help customers meet their goals.
It may seem counterintuitive to up your energy by expending it at boot camp, but Coach Cassie knows better. The fitness instructor creates outdoor boot-camp routines that not only exhilarate, but also burn calories and tone muscles—what she calls Pulse Boot Camp. It's a fitting name since her mash-up of strength training, running, core work, and other exercises gets pulses racing.