Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Mossa routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At Prana Yoga, students gather beneath the wings of swans, which float across the studio's wall toward the inspirational quote "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." Here, such wisdom surfaces from within as minds clear and muscles strengthen. During the signature Vinyasa flow class, the temperature rises to loosen tight muscles and oust squatting toxins. Students match deep, relaxing breaths with a series of ancient poses as teachers, such as studio cofounder Carrie Herscovici, circulate the room, lighting candles and gently adjusting bodily alignment. Drawing from her training with power-yoga superstar Baron Baptiste and Indian sage Senthil Kumar, Carrie inspires her students to surmount both physical challenges and mental unrest, strengthening the body while bringing peace to the mind. In addition to leading classes, she donates 10% of the studio's profits to charity and operates a clothing boutique that helps shoppers integrate yoga into their everyday lives and bow-tie collections.
When viewed through the wall of mirrors at Bikram Yoga Rochester, the studio's wood-paneled ceiling and walls seem to go on forever. In 105-degree heat, a team of experienced instructors leads students through intensive yoga poses that systematically engage the entire body. Students can watch themselves twist and bend during 90-minute classes selected from the studio’s schedule. The temperature of the steamy studio space is engineered to soothe muscles, loosen joints, and encourage detoxification, and provides a challenging setting for students to launch bodies into modifiable postures that accommodate all skill levels from novice to expert and even pregnant women. In addition to yoga, Bikram Yoga Rochester also employs a certified holistic health and nutrition coach, massage therapist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist.
Over her 16 years of dedication to her yoga practice, studio owner Molly Huff has gathered a deep understanding of body mechanics, a 700-hour teaching certification through the Esther Meyers Yoga Studio in Toronto, and a belief that yoga can benefit students of all shapes and sizes. Her methods, as well as those of her fellow certified instructors, are rooted in the hatha-yoga tradition. Her classes focus on grounding students in the foundational postures and breathing techniques to foster growth in their practice. Since classes are kept on the smaller side, with about 8–15 participants per session, the instructors are able to cater to students of all experience levels. This range of instruction spans from true beginners to savvier stretchers attempting full-on pretzels—literally, students roll dough into a pretzel and bake it in the oven attached to their yoga mat.
As instructors move through the flowing postures of the Vinyasa style of yoga, the studio’s vintage oak floors gently creak in time. The constant movement builds up an internal heat in students' cores, reminiscent of the sunlight pouring through picture windows and reflecting off the yellow walls. These open sessions invite practitioners of any ability, although beginner level and advanced courses gear lessons to more specific needs and mats not quite ready to unroll all the way. Mighty Yoga’s mission is to openly welcome those seeking the gifts of yoga practice, lavished on not only the body in the form of increased flexibility, but also on the mind in the form of increased calmness. That’s why the studio’s instructors constantly repay those gifts by hosting donation-based workshops that give back to local, national, and international charities.
Awarded Best Martial Arts School in the Family Times' 2012 Besties Awards, Five Star Martial Arts teaches kids and parents alike the rapid-fire movements of martial arts. During youth programs, students aged 4 and older build stamina, dexterity, and intelligence through disciplined instruction at the hands of seasoned masters. Alongside typical belt rankings, badges and stars reward younger students as they master flurries of kicks and punches. Adult students find their own fitness rewards during cardio kickboxing, which blends an international potpourri of martial arts moves with calisthenic and aerobic foundations to form an explosive full-body workout that targets and tones major muscle groups across the body.
Trainers pair their fitness expertise with motivational attitudes, working one on one with students to help them on their path towards achieving personal wellness goals. Classes unfold within Five Star Martial Arts' recently expanded studio. There, new equipment and installations including a Tumbl Trak, a massive foam pit, and a collection of polyplus climbing ropes help trainers add complex gymnastics-inspired exercises to their already sizable arsenal of workouts.