Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies 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 in cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, bolster flexibility during yoga, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
At the Gold's Gym Northwest locations, instructors lead water-aerobics classes within 25-yard salt-purified pools before cooling off in spacious hot tubs. The gyms also boast innovative cardio cinema theaters, where popular films and concession-stand advertisements flicker across massive flat screens as guests peddle away on treadmills and elliptical machines. After lively rounds of racquetball, members can unwind in steam rooms and saunas or sip on replenishing smoothies at the juice bar. During the week, the gyms keep round-the-clock hours.
Vision Quest Sport and Fitness promotes a five-pronged approach to fitness, covering cardiovascular, progressive resistance, proper diet, supplementation, and personal training. Like any decent clock factory, the clubs are open 24 hours a day, and each keeps its own schedule primed with group classes such as boxing, yoga, spinning, and hip-hop fitness. Body Sculpt sessions fashion forms with weights and bands, and Total Body Conditioning uses lighter weights and higher repetitions to create lean, mean muscle mass.
Members take part in complimentary wellness seminars from fitness experts to fine-tune their bodies, and teams of affiliated massage therapists, chiropractors, and nutrition gurus save skeletons and muscles from harmful injury.
Licensed massage therapist, personal trainer, and nutritional consultant, Karla—who has also worked with chiropractors and naturopathic healers—has experience with a myriad of wellness programs. That’s why she founded fitSpa, a wellness co-op that tends to all aspects of health and beauty. From healing massage and body work, to wellness-building personal training, Zumba, and metabolic conditioning, as well as Hatha and power yoga, Karla and her staff restore bodies to a natural balance.
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.
One has been a martial artist for more than 35 years; the other has been a bus driver for almost as long. Instructors at Lakeview Yoga and Wellness Center, Vidal Bitton and Joyce MacFarlane know what it's like to balance a busy schedule with the demands of staying healthy. Vidal's approach to yoga incorporates his knowledge of tae kwon do, hapkido, and tai chi, especially as to how physical exertion can lead to painful injury. Joyce also practices yoga with a mind toward healing—her years behind the wheel of a school bus have resulted in several spinal injuries. By juggling a demanding job that can take physical tolls, Joyce's empathy and spirit shine through in each class she teaches.
Along with the other instructors, Vidal and Joyce bring their distinct backgrounds to hot and power yoga classes that strengthen muscles and boost flexibility. The mind and spirit are considered just as vital; on-staff wellness practitioners augment the effects of yoga with services such as massage, acupuncture, personal training, and therapy.