A ballroom dancer for more than 20 years, Richard Green understands how the body communicates. His work in ballet and modern dance instilled in him a deep fascination with structural alignment, muscular energy, and balance, as well as a comprehensive understanding of how the body heals from injury. Today, at Massage Therapy Works, he helms a large staff of highly trained massage therapists who customize each treatment chosen from a long list of therapies. Thai bodywork increases lymphatic drainage through massage and passive yoga poses, helping decompress joints and increase range of motion, while sports massages help active individuals prevent or recover from injuries sustained on the field or while acting out slow-motion replays. Meanwhile, classic techniques such as deep tissue and therapeutic massage assist in the removal of physical tension and mental stress and oncology massage helps bodies better manage symptoms of cancer treatment through gentle strokes, energy work, and guided meditation.
During afternoons at Together in Motion, children, accompanied by their parents, safely crawl through tunnels, practice somersaults, or explore a Parthenon made completely out of padded building blocks atop a cushioned floor. Evenings, however, turn the tables, allowing grownups to take over the space to fling dodgeballs at opponents or rehearse martial arts strikes in time for their kids' Bring Your Ninja to School Day. Weekend nights find thumping dance soundtracks traveling through the rooms, as black-light parties for teens and tweens celebrate birthdays and raise funds for nonprofits.
Though they admit disparate age groups, these classes and events provide a venue for guests to connect through movement. Together in Motion's facility rents its rooms to independent organizations—Social Boston Sports and Arlington Martial Arts among them—that encourage exercise and camaraderie. From the Latin-inspired beats of adult-centric Zumba classes to the musical motor-skill activities of Movin' Groovin' Tots, all of the programs foster both communal support and a healthy sense of self-confidence.
Recognizing that there is a strength in numbers, Borealis Yoga strives to create a compassionate sense of community among all of its students so that the members can draw support and encouragement from each other as they further their practice. This practice is ideal for any ability level since the instructors lead an array of classes that embrace yoga styles intended for adults as well as children. Gently paced sessions emphasize stretches and a sense of introspective calm while the more physically engaging classes incorporate asana sequences or core-strengthening exercises on top of the fundamental poses. Regardless of the intensity of the class, every session incorporates mindful breathing exercises and meditation in addition to the physical asanas.
On its website, Redline Fight Sports boasts that it is not a typical, low-intensity health club. Rather, it is a 5,000-square-foot facility designed to train fighters and fitness enthusiasts who want to train like fighters but do not want to interact with large slabs of meat. Its coaches—most fighters themselves—preach purposeful and practical training, where natural movements replace rote exercises to help boost strength, speed, flexibility, and stamina. For example, instead of sitting at a bicep-curl machine, a student in the popular Fighter-Fit class may slug an uppercut bag or whip into a teardrop knee bag. This choreography of punches and kicks takes place in the training area, where heavy bags and lightweight striking bags hang, some on a custom, 40-foot rail system that slides them to and fro. In a back cage room, grapplers can train over fully matted floors and walls, even practicing throws on a crash mat.
A regulation-sized sparring ring is available for dedicated boxing training, and free weights work to boost strength capacity. An air exchanger circulates fresh oxygen into the gym, which also rents towels for its fighters in training.
There are more black belts in Mass BJJ's Acton and Arlington studios than even the biggest of Johnny Cash's walk-in closets. Though in this case, they're tied around the waists of expert martial arts trainers, who teach the finer points of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to both kids and adults. This particular martial art form focuses on getting an opponent to the ground, where size doesn't matter and proper fighting technique reigns supreme.
While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu inspired Mass BJJ's name, it isn't the only discipline taught atop their red padded floors. In fact, the instructors encourage students to mix different classes to get a well-rounded martial arts education. To that end, they lead kick-boxing, MMA, and general strength-conditioning classes.
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.