The music is bumping, the moves are rhythmic, and up to 1,000 calories are burning away. That's just a bit of what Zumba classes are like at ZASS Fitness. In their new studio replete with a new floor, amped-up air conditioner, and extra ceiling fans, certified instructors lead fun, fitness-oriented dance classes. Inspired by Latin dance moves, Zumba enhances cardio, sheds weight, and tones muscles. The instructors also love Zumba because it increases flexibility and encourages self-expression through movement. To augment the festive vibe, the studio hosts parties for kids that include one hour of fitness dancing and another hour for partying.
American Kempo Karate Academy founder Mark DiNino is an eighth-degree black belt—and a father. In fact, three of his own children train at the academy, meaning the South Shore native shares many of the same hopes and concerns as other parents of AKKA students. But he also understands the benefits children can reap from the academy's program, which since 1995 has improved fitness and increased self-confidence, discipline, and concentration. Of course, kids aren't the only one's who can benefit from a boost in self-esteem, which is why AKKA also offers an adult program, where grownups can achieve similar gains and release stress brought on by their job or lack of homework.
Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
If someone attacked a student of America's Best Defense Easton, they’d be in for a devastating surprise, probably in the form of a fist to the face or a knee to the groin. The gym’s black-belt instructors make sure students know how to defend themselves, offering a variety of programs that specialize in self-defense and fitness. They lead specialty krav maga classes that teach students the same fighting style used by Israeli Defense Forces, which focuses on subduing one or multiple attackers quickly and efficiently, whether they are unarmed or wielding weapons. Instructors also specialize in muay thai kickboxing, kids' karate, and adult martial-arts programs that blend styles such as karate, muay thai, grappling, and wrestling.
Maxx Training Center's philosophy is that everyone is an athlete, "from the housewife to the construction worker to the cyclist to the football player." That's why their expert trainers lead a variety of classes that focus on refining the techniques of individual fighting styles or on incorporating those techniques into general fitness classes. Guests can learn to spar in boxing, muay thai, or Brazilian jiu jistu classes, which are led by master fighters and professionals. They can also opt for a well-rounded workout and using punching and kicking routines in the strength and conditioning classes.
Since ancient times, Thai students, fighters, and artists have performed the wai kru ritual to honor the teachers who make their study possible. Composed of everyone from Navy boxers to championship jujitsu fighters, the staff of martial-arts instructors at Wai Kru gym knows the value of experience. Kru John, for instance, has traveled to Japan, Brazil, and Thailand to hone his muay thai kickboxing expertise, attending more than 20 training camps throughout Asia and earning a certification from the Thai government.
Training guests as diverse as beginning boxers and professional MMA fighters, both of Wai Kru's locations bolster training regimens with cardio machines, weights, and open mat space. Each gym also sports a boxing ring and a 24-foot octagon, so shaped to avoid having to vacuum peanut shells from a 90-degree corner.