At Downward Dog Yoga & Fitness, ancient poses fuel challenging workouts and traditional calisthenics summon inner peace. That's because both types of exercise have a common goal: bolstering health by building community. During the studio's signature Vinyasa class, yogis of all levels stretch and bend together, learning from each other as they follow the cues of a friendly, experienced teacher. The mesmerizing vocals of Sting and U2 join the pre-modern chants of Krishna Das to inspire students during deep-breathing exercises, which focus the mind as they dissolve stress. The temperature rises to 90 degrees for hot yoga and hot Pilates, helping loosen tight muscles and drain toxins from the body. Hot yoga builds strength and flexibility with sitting, standing, and inverted poses, whereas hot Pilates targets similar goals with core-sculpting isometrics and a focus on bodily alignment. Trainer-led boot camps explore the other end of the fitness spectrum with jumping jacks and burpees, which melt more calories than a fondue party at Richard Simmons's house. To unwind after class, students can book a massage-therapy appointment with Hannah Zahs, who infuses Swedish and shiatsu strokes with soothing essential oils.
Pro-Fit Gym founder and athletic-development coach Aaron Larmore, whose clients have included a world-champion boxer and three professional baseball players, forges performance-enhancing programs for adults and young sports enthusiasts. Aaron's fitness values stem from his time at the Russian Kettlebell Challenges and the International Youth Conditioning Association, and his belief in motivating patrons through camaraderie and goal-based exercise plans. Alongside Pro-Fit's credentialed coaches, he oversees preseason athletic camps, adult fitness classes, and personal-training sessions that push patrons toward their physical peaks. Furthering patrons' general wellness, custom nutrition plans team up with gym routines, and one-on-one assessments with personal fitness coaches ensure that guests aren't sending a scarecrow stunt double to class. Pro-Fit's specialized training days can also prime participants for mainstream races, including the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Spartan Race.
Since launching their flagship 10-week program in 2001, the instructors at Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping have spurred more than 35,000 trainees across 42 locations toward their weight-loss goals. Classes burn fat and build lean muscle with fitness kickboxing and muscle-building with anaerobic bands. Coaches support trainees with a nutrition plan that breaks up food intake into six daily meals, increasing sustaining bodily energy and a sense of déjà vu. The founders of Farrell’s eXtreme Bodybuilding are so confident in their program that they offer a money-back guarantee for those dissatisfied with their results.
The coaches at Fit2Live—which include a former college-football conditioning coach and certified personal trainers—have watched more than 411 of their members lose more than 5,791 pounds as they went from leading a sedentary lifestyle to running a road race, competing in a triathlon, or completing a Tough Mudder. The motivating crew leads adult fitness programs including highly varied CrossFit classes and workouts designed specifically for men or women.
At Robin’s Nest Yoga Studio, certified instructors nurture students’ personal yoga practice with individualized attention. During both group and private sessions, yogis move about the room, modifying poses to suit varying skill levels. Teachers have stretched through at least 200 hours of training and bring their own personal styles to sessions, combining elements of meditation and strength training or blending sun salutations and poses that awaken the body and spirit, energizing students like a jog through a particle accelerator.
The schedule brims with one-hour classes that incorporate a variety of yoga styles, including hatha, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa. To mix it up each week, the studio hosts a Sunday sampler that features focused breathing exercises and posing fundamentals such as arm balances and hip openers.
The certified trainers at Sweat, A Body Transformation recognize that boredom is one of the biggest reasons people give up losing weight. To keep workouts fresh and interesting, they have developed rigorous boot camp–style classes in which students get to sample a smorgasbord of workouts. Each morning and evening session has participants flipping tractor tires, toning cores with kettlebells, or honing functional strength by painting Mr. Miyagi’s fence. The expert trainers eschew shouting and intimidation, opting instead for positive reinforcement. After classes, students can cool down inside the center’s fully equipped locker rooms.
A good gym should provide its members with plenty of challenges, as long as none of them involve getting to the gym itself. The trainers at 319 Fitness work one-on-one with clients at their easily accessible downtown location. As an added convenience, the facility adjoins an ample parking lot where members can leave their vehicles or flip tractor tires still attached to tractors. Inside, trainers teach clients how to operate equipment in personalized training sessions geared toward helping each member realize their individual fitness goals.