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 at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Thumping music and flashing, colored lights infuse a spin class at Studio RPM with the energy of a night on the town. The powerful bass can't drown out the instructors' enthusiasm, however. The mic-wearing teachers lead their classes on excursions into unseen landscapes, leaping imaginary gullies and climbing intangible hills, the effort simulated by the Livestrong cycles on which each student is mounted. They welcome students of all ability levels, since the low-impact, cardio-focused exercise lends itself well to those who suffer from joint problems.
Beyond spinning, the staff also teaches regular yoga classes, covering extensive series of asana in each 75-minute course. They delve into Vinyasa, hatha, and warm yoga sequences, focusing on improving agility, increasing flexibility, and revealing snowmen disguised as humans, respectively. For a more high-intensity session, they lead boot camps, which incorporate weight lifting and plyometrics into cardio-heavy routines.
Family is important to the purveyors of Platinum Gym. So, while their members break a sweat on Precor cardio and strength machines, the kids can remain nearby and safe in the onsite kid's club. The gym is so family-friendly, in fact, that kids 10 years and up can use the equipment when supervised and join their parents during a select number of group classes.
Speaking of classes, the 16,000 square foot health club offers instruction in workouts such as Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, and spin. And, members can also pamper their weary muscles with massage therapy or highlight their hard work by bronzing newly buff bodies in tanning beds and booths.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Studio One Wellness takes several approaches to physical well-being and fitness. Rather than emphasize one style of working out, the team provides visitors with an eclectic assortment of classes intended to keep them engaged while providing invaluable exercise. The schedule includes everything from heated yoga and mat Pilates to cardio kickboxing and dance-inspired Zumba sessions. Additionally, the studio provides spa services in the form of traditional massages, facials, and skincare treatments, as well as Endermologie, which minimizes the appearance of unwanted cellulite.
Equipment: Strength equipment, treadmills, Arc Trainers, StairMasters
Students should bring: Bottle of water, towel, fitness clothing, tennis shoes
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 25+ people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking garage
Body Club's trainers help produce healthier, more athletic members using every inch of their 23,000-square-foot studio. They work up sweats in one-on-one sessions on machines and also lead group fitness classes in a 3,800-square-foot studio that's big enough for no one to notice that one guy doing the chicken dance during Zumba. As a team, they teach everything from TRX and Pilates to coed pole-dancing classes. But the gym also keeps the important things in mind: child-care services are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., helping parents make more time for workouts.