The patter of fists against a punching bag. The bass clang of weights in racks. Cardio and resistance machines from Matrix, Life Fitness and Hammer Strength purr in Soleil Total Fitness’s 20,000-square-foot facility as visitors work toward fitness goals. During more than 45 group exercise classes in three studios, a hush falls over yoga pupils and sweat leaps from the brows of Zumba and kickboxing participants. In the spin studio, stationary bikes help torch calories, and in a boxing and mixed-martial-arts area complete with a 20-foot boxing ring, patrons learn to fend off the punching bag stalking them in their nightmares. The gym’s team of certified personal trainers, alternatively, can tailor workouts to patrons’ fitness goals, whether they are trying to make their high school’s baseball team or the Olympics.
When she was 15, Heather had already been dancing for a decade, and she vowed to one day open her own studio. Later, while in school for interior design, she took her first-ever pole-dancing class and found it was love at first twirl; she installed a pole in her own home that very afternoon. Though she worked for a while as a professional designer, she felt compelled to step away from decorating other people's homes to pursue her teenage dream, swathing her newly opened studio space in hot-pink paint and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Today, it's a go-to hub for novice dancers of all ages, sizes, and experience levels and for barber's poles looking to switch careers. While Heather and three other instructors teach belly dance, aerial technique, burlesque, and fitness classes, though Heather's main passion still lies with pole dancing. She finds it rewarding to watch as students—who currently include spinners in their 60s—break past mental blocks to do moves they never thought possible. She grins each time her students report that they're feeling stronger and healthier just doing everyday tasks, like buying anvils at the grocery store. "I don't feel like it's a job," she says, noting the supportive environment created by her students and the joyous bachelorette and birthday parties—where, she maintains, the older guests always turn out to be wilder than the 20-somethings. "It feels like I'm hanging out with friends."
At Brickhouse Cardio Club, an open floor space sets the stage for Zumba classes every day of the week. The floor—designed to ease joint and knee maladies—is merely one aspect of the club's comfortable and supportive atmosphere. At the club, patrons find a combination of dancing and aerobics classes that will help them with weight loss or body toning in the midst of a fun environment.
With titles that include kempo karate black belt, professional fitness trainer, and Pro USA Gymnastics coach, Joe Funaro and Andre LeRouge are experts when it comes to fusing their skills in the spheres of fitness and combat sports. It's this practice that they bring to their aptly named Fusion Mixed Martial Arts & Kickboxing studio, where they have developed programs that borrow from Brazilian jujitsu, karate, and muay thai kickboxing to promote fitness and self-discipline.
Royals Boxing Gym's personal trainers follow classical training regimens used by champion fighters for years, requiring hard work and discipline from their students as they practice against pads and spar with live or robotic opponents in the full-size boxing ring. The staff welcomes students of all stripes, from those who simply wish to get in shape to serious sportsmen. Some of their previous students have even gone on to compete in events such as the Golden Gloves.
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.