With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let the Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling.
For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
The certified instructors at 12th Street Fitness motivate their clients with an ever-changing workout of the day, which keeps exercises from getting monotonous and weeds out any cardboard cutouts masquerading as real humans. Within their 5,500-square-foot, open-floor-plan gym space, they fit this workout into boot-camp sessions and group fitness classes. Each boot-camp class follows an exercise circuit through the gym's equipment, which includes weight-training gear, treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. For a more personalized fitness experience, instructors also provide one-on-one personal training and nutrition counseling.
At CrossFitRace, small groups gather throughout the week to shed calories during sessions of CrossFit. CrossFit workouts challenge participants of all ages and skill levels with constantly varied, functional movements executed with a high level of intensity. The facility's accomplished instructors emphasize good form and technique during classes, each of which focuses on a Workout of the Day—or WOD—as posted on CrossFit.com.
Rooted in the fundamentals of CrossFit, Xcel Fitness's programs aim to push participants with challenging, dynamic workouts. They introduce beginners to the workout in CrossFit Fundamentals classes and provide easily scalable sessions for those more experienced. But just because Xcel focuses on the power of CrossFit, it doesn't mean they forgo variety. The gym also offers classes in spin, yoga, and mixed-martial-arts training, allowing them to provide something for everyone—they even offer classes for kids.
Because Snap offers 24-hour access, you don't have to let The Man tell you when you can avail yourself of the gym's top-of-the-line Matrix-brand cardio and strength equipment. Arrive at Snap super late and pretend you're working out in an Edward Hopper painting, or pound the treadmill at four in the morning and get pumped to host a morning shock-jock radio show. Even if you exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere will provide a refreshing change of pace from any meat-market gym or tough elementary schoolyard.