In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes envisioned a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage children 4 months old?12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent-and-child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents magazine.
You might see "Motown" or "80s" on the schedule, but InSync Cycle Studio is not a dance venue. These events still involve plenty of legwork, though—students pedal aboard stationary bikes as invigorating music blares all the while. During these sessions, they'll surmount imaginary hills with real resistance, or zoom through long straightaways at high speeds. Some might be marathoners, and others might be first-timers. It doesn't matter to the instructor at the head of the class, who makes sure that everyone's workout is suited to their experience.
Typically, these instructors are the ones in charge of the music. Most classes aren't themed, but follow a mix of tunes that mesh with the teacher's taste. Some will even time the rhythm of their inclines and sprints to match the song, which is why "Flight of the Bumblebee" has been banned forever. Regardless of the soundtrack, each low-impact lesson helps to tone muscle and build endurance in a communal, encouraging space.
It's hard to be bored at the MAC. With three locations and a host of unique fitness programs, the fitness center has something for even the most indecisive of exercisers. Want to swim in the saltwater lap pools? Play squash on one of the courts? Take part in a MAC training camp? Or start a specialty regimen in the Kinesis, TRX, or Pilates Reformer studio? Committed to a comprehensive wellness program, staffers offer complimentary consultations for new members, as well as nutritional programs. The trainers at MAC Wellness help guests reach their fitness goals while having fun. Athletes looking to restore pre-injury prowess can also dip into one of the therapy pools or whirlpools with a personal trainer.
Designed by founder and renaissance woman Lynne Brick and her accomplished husband, Victor, Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick's health clubs share a fitness cornucopia of group classes, personal-training sessions, and women’s health tips. They stock their workout facilities with premium cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as offer amenities that may include pools, childcare services, and volcano-free saunas. Each of the seven locations sports its own personality, including the Owings Mills and Belvedere facilities, which operate as all-female communities.
The Brick's also employ a team of certified instructors, who lead more than 30 types of group fitness classes, allowing students of all skill levels access to sessions that range from low-impact workouts, such as BodyVive, to more intense courses, such as the kickboxing-inspired BodyCombat classes.
Fit Body Boot Camp's 60-minute classes melt away the brain's useless boredom centers while facilitating speedy fitness results. Experienced instructors lead the group in a variety of ornery body challenges such as light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, core work, and team training exercises. Classes convene in a large, open studio that features big windows and a full array of fitness-attracting equipment, including jump ropes, free weights, and glowing bicep-whistles. Campers are encouraged to come to five days a week; the classes are offered Monday through Friday at 5:30 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. (30-minute class), 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. For less extreme participants, thrice-weekly attendance may also yield a sizeable crop of results. Nutritional coaching is included in the program to improve at-home habits. Since Fit Body is an ongoing program, students can join classes at any time and at any personal fitness level. Bring a water bottle and reserve a spot ahead of time, as class sizes are limited to avoid overcrowding and back-to-chest sweat terrors.