Elite Bodies owner and certified trainer J. Ellis Jones utilizes his training as a kickboxer, a football player, and a tae-kwon-do expert to temper his clients’ mental fortitude and physical prowess on weights and exercise machines. Whereas one-on-one or boot-camp sessions tone and hone muscles, professional nutrition and weight-loss counseling melts fat cells like they're a snowman reading a steamy love letter under a lamp. To ensure long-term success, Elite Bodies' certified personal trainers customize clients' individual programs and track their progress along the way. Full-length mirrors allow guests to keep tabs on their form, and unlike a restaurant staffed by lazy robots, the small, private studio ensures that patrons never have to wait for machines.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Bryan “The Brooklyn Bad Ass” Ortiz of Brooklyn Bad Ass Fitness dons many hats—the headband of a certified personal trainer, the cushioned headgear of a boxing instructor, and the top hat of a fitness-book author. Dedicated to a no-nonsense approach to fitness, Bryan conducts morning and evening weekday boot camps that whip up to 20 students into shape with intense interval training, eschewing monotonous fitness routines such as treadmill running or elephant lifting. To complete lifestyle changes, Bryan outfits guests with meal plans, customizing diets to match energy requirements. Bryan’s Wedding Body boot camp, personal-training sessions, and weight-loss challenges can all be customized to suit guests’ specific fitness goals.
An accomplished track athlete in her native England, Carol "Kick Fever" Glasgow discovered martial arts upon her emigration to the U.S. She eventually earned a third-degree black belt and started teaching cardio-kickboxing classes that help students develop proper form and real self-defense skills as they pound away at heavy and speed bags. Her high-energy workouts burn calories and sculpt the body of each participant while improving flexibility, coordination, and balance. Carol also shepherds students through personal-training sessions that include a medical evaluation and fitness assessment and also serves as a personal shopper with a right cross ready for surly mannequins.
Sunlight spills through the windows of InTone Pilates, pushing through lush plants to warm students' muscles as they bend and stretch. Here, instructors teach fitness as a means to transform the body, mind, and spirit, stressing the value of relaxation as much as exertion. Each instructor designs one-on-one workouts and small-group routines, tailoring isometric exercises to participants’ needs as they demonstrate how to use specialized equipment such as Pilates Reformers, towers, and trapezes. During classes, the teachers walk their pupils through efficient, low-impact moves to target the abs and back, helping students build enough strength and balance to bench-press a hippo while walking a tightrope.
The white walls, paper lanterns, and polished hardwood floors make up most of Studio Maya's austere space. During the week, lifelong dancer Maya Jocelyn hosts fitness classes for women and men, drawing on the conditioning techniques used by dancers and the modern science of sports medicine to draw up the blueprints of her own signature exercise routines. On weekends, when she's not sculpting bodies, she transforms the space into an artists' haven, inviting actors to rehearse, painters and photographers to exhibit their work, and mimes to overcome creative hurdles and learn to think outside the box.