XO Fitness's Ryan and Karin Jennings, a husband-and-wife duo, lead a staff of certified trainers, including a former Team USA swimming coach. XO's team doesn't make clients teach themselves how to lift weights or participate in complicated workouts. Rather, the staff schedules clients for small-group or personal training sessions focused on both exercise and nutrition. The staff members design their trainings to meet distinct fitness goals, such as weight loss or lean-muscle gains. The studio also presents specialized classes for clients aged 60 and older, and helps new moms shed residual weight. XO Fitness also lends its expertise in providing adventure guidance, whether it's for running a marathon, participating in canoe or kayaking expeditions, or ding-dong ditching a belligerent world-champion sprinter.
Ryan’s marriage proposal was a little unusual. Rather than taking a knee and offering Karin a diamond ring, he stood proudly and offered her a seat—on a tandem bike. The duo has taken off on one adventure after another ever since, from tandem races to “extended field trips” across the United States with their kids in tow. But it wasn’t all fun and games for Team Jennings as they ventured from coast to coast. They also sleuthed around the nation’s gyms, knowing that they would soon settle down and open a true health club of their own, a club where members could receive individualized attention and assistance to achieve their health and fitness goals. They incorporated the knowledge they gleaned from that expedition when they launched XO Fitness.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes opened The Little Gym based on his new take on physical education. His curriculum emphasized motivating children to achieve instead of pressuring them to win. As a result, The Little Gym became a noncompetitive, positive, nurturing environment where young ones could develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Since then, The Little Gyms have sprouted up across the country. The programs and classes aim to help kids develop skills such as rhythm and coordination, and kids camps during winter, spring, and summer breaks prevent children from creating finger paintings that express the existential ennui they feel when school is out of session.
Curves houses a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with women's bodies to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and cope with arthritis. Instead of guests fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches each exerciser's abilities during their 30-minute workouts. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, machines use push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
At Bay Area Yoga, a medley of moldable mentors, all nationally registered with the Yoga Alliance, are on hand to help beginner benders and flexperts alike. Nirvana newbees looking to build on their basic abilities will benefit from the self-paced beginner class, which focuses on developing strength, flexibility, stamina, and concentration. More dexterous disciples can opt to flex an already malleable muscle in the advanced course, which combines precision of alignment with an awareness of the breath-body connection, or quiet a mind traumatized by work, school, and Gilbert Gottfried–narrated audio books in asana breath meditation. Loose-limbed guests stuck in rigid routines will appreciate the flexible class schedule, and Bay Area Yoga happily supplies students with any necessary class props such as mats, straps, blocks, and cupcakes carefully positioned just out of reach.
For 26 years, Titletown Fitness has been toning physiques and promoting general fitness with an array of amenities. Decorated with advanced cardio equipment, such as elliptical trainers and recumbent stationary bikes, Titletown gets hearts racing without the threat of wind burn in a spotless facility that welcomes patrons of all fitness levels. A full selection of free weights and strength-training machines gives body builders a chance to reinforce muscular foundations, and a 40-foot lap pool confers full-body swimming workouts along with the feeling of weightlessness. Members can take advantage of on-site childcare for an additional charge ($1.50/child), which lets little ones play under the watchful eye of chaperones.
J. Powell Dance Studio director Jim Powell uses his Arthur Murray Studios world-champion-instructor status to teach an array of precise rug-cutting techniques. The studio’s myriad styles of social, ballroom, and Latin dance call to clients eager to unveil rhythmic prowess at their wedding, holiday party, or two-weeks-notice meeting. One 45-minute private lesson customizes instruction to suit twinkling toes of all luminosities. Two 45-minute semiprivate sessions expand the pool of students only slightly, with an average of three to five couples paired with a proportionate number of coaches. Whether it’s a waltz, swing, samba, or salsa, the laudable instructors don’t simply teach steps but also project partner communication and symbiosis, so two swaying essences merge, and, like weekend nights in Vegas, blur indistinguishably together.