Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi?no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.
The low thrum of an electric bass. The clean jangle of an electric piano. At School of Groove, owner Christopher Vuk presides over instructors as they fill the space with music and help students through scales, rhythms, and eventually full pieces on a wide range of instruments. The teachers have played music alongside musicians including Herbie Hancock, John Mayer, and Paul Simon, and guest rock musicians occasionally lead sessions to impart their skills or explain why they think every smashable guitar is full of candy. In private lessons and group sessions, hands-on practice illuminates the processes of improvising, writing, and recording music. Students at the school can also join a band, where they'll write their own music, build teamwork skills, and perform at venues such as Hard Rock Cafe and Ryles Jazz Club.
As one of a growing network of yoga studios in Boston, Bikram Yoga on Boylston Street attracts customers looking for a little heat. That’s one of the main differences between this style of yoga, popularized by the namesake Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s: lots and lots of heat. Rooms are cranked to over 100 degrees, and 90-minute sessions get steamy enough to require two towels (which are thankfully provided). This Back Bay location also provides lockers, showers and mats for rent, though it’s best to bring your own. Drop-ins are welcome, though many folks are longtime bikram lovers, and enjoy working through the 26 poses and various breathing exercises while the heat swims all around them.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
As a player and coach of the dynamic, fast-paced sport of ice hockey, Derek Arledge knows firsthand about the importance of training and conditioning. Now brandishing certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American Council on Exercise, Derek trains everyone from youngsters to pro athletes, helping them get fit safely, using proper form and technique. Hockey players receive sport-specific conditioning with camps that include on- and off-ice exercises to prepare for crucial game situations such as casting the perfect spell when attempting a hat trick.
Next Level Fitness has four studio locations throughout the Boston area, but those aren't the only places its trainers do their work. The trainers also travel, showing up at clients' homes, offices, and gyms with equipment and exercise regimens ready. Whether clients are participating in a summer boot camp or a corporate fitness workshop, they can be sure that trainers are leading them in a workout that's appropriate for the group's fitness level.