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.
Music industry veterans Stan Denis and Paul Benedetti, both fathers of ambitious child musicians, spent years commiserating about the dismal, calcified state of music education. Deciding to do something about it, the two founded Rock School Music, determined to mix the principles of classical pedagogy with a heavy dose of kid-directed originality. Rather than focusing on scales and hoary old etudes, their instructors encourage students to bring in music they actually enjoy listening to, helping aspiring rockers play their favorite songs and recommending technical drills that directly improve their ability to play the studied piece.
In addition to private lessons, the studio's Rock School program arranges young jammers into bands based on their skill levels, before giving them a weekend practice space and sponsoring regular rock concerts for friends and family. Rock School Music’s studio, furnished with plush leather chairs and a wood-paneled front desk, inspires visitors to pursue their musical dreams with its framed band posters and fern plants that resemble Slash.
Though the locally owned ABC Sports and Fitness has been in business since 1989, its sparkling rows of modern fitness facilities make it seem brand new. Past its rows of circuit machines and strength-training equipment lies a full gymnasium with a cushioned indoor track, where instructors lead more than 80 fitness classes throughout the week. Within a private cycling studio, 30 professional indoor bikes bustle and hum during group spinning sessions. Changing rooms house sleek wooden locker rooms and a sauna, along with showers where guests can belt out commercial jingles in privacy. While visiting the gym, members can also take advantage of onsite childcare facilities, professional tanning booths, and regular senior-citizen community group meetings.
While E Studio Hot Yoga may never reach the size of General Electric—one of the companies for which owner Emily has led corporate fitness efforts—it's still an ambitious undertaking. A team of instructors leads the center's classes, which range from ballet-barre workouts set to upbeat music to power-yoga sessions held in a 90-degree studio. Like a crutch with a manufacturing error, the schedules at both the Clifton Park and Latham locations are flexible; classes take place seven days a week, with a variety of morning and evening classes held throughout the week.