Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women’s-only gym’s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym’s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym’s complimentary daycare, whose staffers stay in touch with each other via two-way talk radios, rather than by sending them regular flocks of carrier pigeons.
With a drove of dedicated instructors, Synergy imparts peace upon its practitioners through myriad mat classes. Both introductory yoga and Pilates courses––such as yoga for every body, gentle Prana flow, and Mat I pilates––cater to balance-seeking beginners, with a focus on building core strength and overcoming pipe-cleaner envy. In upper-level lessons (including Mat II Pilates and Vinyasa yoga), aspiring Stretch Armstrongs can fine-tune their flexibility with more challenging poses. Specialized classes such as Pilates for Golf help limberize link lovers by bestowing more powerful swings and bogey-erasing Jedi mind tricks. Classes take place in Synergy's 4,000-square-foot sanctuary, where natural wood floors complement expansive sage walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows let stretchers draw real-life inspiration for poses like the tree and the shy centaur. Synergy also fosters a supportive atmosphere for students of all abilities, complete with a relaxing lounge where classmates are encouraged to meet after their scheduled class, to socialize and read each other’s fortunes over cups of tea or coffee.
The staff at Top Shape Fitness, led by principal trainer George Tyler, believes that expert guidance is key to workouts. To that end, the fitness center focuses entirely on personal-training sessions and group fitness classes. The company's freakishly strong roots lie in its signature cardio kickboxing class, known as GT Box. In these sessions, trainers blend kickboxing movements with dumbbell training, plyometrics, and other toning exercises. Elsewhere on the weekly schedule, Latin music plays during Zumba sessions, minds and bodies meld in yoga classes, and TRX suspension classes employ equipment developed by US Navy SEALs.
Deemed the 2006 Small Business of the Year by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, The Colosseum Gym helps men and women to reach new health heights by using a smorgasbord of machines and free weights or enlisting the nutritional counseling and powerlifting tips of a professional. With more than 24 certified personal trainers on staff, the gym strives to toughen physiques of all exercise experience levels through arduous yet rewarding programs, such as strength-and-conditioning workouts that involve surprise 3 a.m. sprints across local lake surfaces. Additionally, a full-time physical therapist can target strained appendages with rehabilitative moves and heat packs. The Colosseum Gym bolsters its community as well as its members, hosting nonprofit initiatives that have benefited the Special Olympics, cystic fibrosis research, and the Howard County School System.
In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
After navigating through the plethora of weightlifting and cardio equipment, guests at 40,000-square-foot Meadow Mill Athletic Club stand before a glass wall protecting them from the ricocheting squash balls speeding back and forth on 16 courts. Meadow Mill’s team of squash instructors leads personal sessions and group clinics on the indoor racket sport for youths and adults, and more seasoned players compete in tournaments often held at the facility.
Just beyond the workout floor and racket courts lie separate fitness studios, in which guests tone their bodies in yoga, Pilates, and 17 spin classes per week, led by certified trainers, who also tailor fitness programs to meet clients' needs in one-on-one sessions. Youth and toddler programs introduce kids as young as 18 months old to fitness with playful movements in Mini Movers, basic skills in Ballet, and fitness-focused games in Toddlercise, such as Pin the Javelin on the Donkey. Furthering demonstrating a dedication to health and wellness, an onsite therapist treats overworked muscles with acupuncture, stretch, and massage treatments.