The multiple YMCA locations in metropolitan Chattanooga serve more than 37,000 members a year and fulfill the mission of uniting guests regardless of gender, age, faith, background, abilities, or income. Founded in London in 1844, the YMCA spread to its Chattanooga home in 1871 and continues to operate with help from local community volunteers as stalwart as I Love Lucy syndicators. Each location caters to the needs of children, teens, seniors, and families with afterschool programs and fitness-based activities. Cardio machines pump hearts, racquetball courts host fun competitions, and pools allow goggles to fulfill their original purpose: snapping the face with their elastic band to make a diver jump off the blocks faster. A sauna and steam room heat clients up after they cool down in the pools, and parents can drop their young children off at the nursery before participating in group fitness classes.
It's hard to get out rock climbing regularly. Basketball courts don't fit in the average home. The facilities at The Rush Fitness let everyone get in an exciting workout, though, with climbing walls, pools, athletic courts, and more. At 23 locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Dalton, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point and Greenville, skilled trainers preside over those amenities. They also lead more than 500 group exercise classes, which might touch on everything from yoga to Zumba. Those classes, as well as the requisite array of free weights and cardio equipment, have helped the chain win a range of "best gym" awards.
Hot Yoga Plus's spacious studio is a monument to all things yoga. Instructors lead a wide array of sessions designed to include practitioners of all ages and abilities. They demonstrate meditation, stretching, and windmill-dunk techniques in calming yin-yoga classes and help build strength and stamina in energetic power-yoga classes. Despite the name, studios are both heated and nonheated, and students who want to take their practice further can enroll in teacher training sessions and work towards certification.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr's only venue for her Pure Barre workouts?a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches?was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and eight years later, Pure Barre spread its franchises to what is now more than 160 locations across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, physiques can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The total-body workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers to regain their desired shape without leading the daycare's piggyback carpool. High-energy, intimate classes with small amounts of attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to derive the deepest possible burn from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills. Pure Barre also offers private barre-ties, DVDs, equipment, designer exercise apparel, and more.
Sports Barn's mammoth and diverse schedule of more than 120 weekly group classes leaves little room for excuses. Nationally certified instructors, including a former triathlete and a six-sigma black belt, teach just about every type of fitness class imaginable—from high-energy kickboxing and dance aerobics to mind-centering yoga and Pilates—for people of any experience level. Students challenge multiple muscle groups in high-intensity, low-impact CRCTBRKR (or Circuit Breaker) classes, which melt calories with strength training and compound-joint exercises. To further direct guests toward their weight-loss goals, an on-staff dietitian and attentive personal trainers devise personalized programs and custom-fitting donut-proof vests.
Among other amenities, the centers boast an indoor pool and two heated outdoor pools. Patrons can relax after their workouts in a hot tub or sauna, or book a soothing massage.
Covered in jagged faces and colorful tape, the climbing spaces at Urban Rocks Gym challenge mountaineers of all skill levels. More than 100 top-rope and lead-climbing routes rise up to 35 feet, with both relaxed vertical paths and grip-testing overhangs. A separate kids' wall offers lower altitudes for aspiring climbers, bolstering their confidence once they reach the top. Topped by an amphitheater-like roof, the 3,000-square-foot top-out-bouldering area enables participants to live out their dream of becoming a stalactite with a 60-degree wall, overhanging arêtes, and a maximum height of 14 feet. Those returning to the gym will find that its routes are regularly recalibrated, with 15 new top-rope routes and 25 new boulder problems every week.