The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
Courtney and Corey Nappa complement each other’s skill sets well. Courtney has a wealth of business experience and a passion for beauty, and Corey has years under his belt as a personal trainer and fitness-center manager. They realized that they could combine their skills into an ideal health-club experience, and Ten X Club was born.
On the fitness end of the business, instructors hold group Pilates, yoga, and spin classes. Cardio and weight-lifting rooms feature equipment from manufacturers such as Nautilus and Precor. A kids’ playroom keeps tykes entertained while parents shed sweat. On the other end of the spectrum, the sleekly appointed salon features hair services, mani-pedis, and spray-tanning services in a quiet environment, the air perfumed with the scent of hair products. Here, too, members can send their kids to the playroom while they enjoy grownup relaxation time with beautifying services, adult conversation, and the freedom to eat animal crackers any way they choose.
“It’s the challenging fits—either spectacles or contact lenses—that drive me," writes optician John Parrelli on his website. Since opening his first shop in 1978, these challenges have included cataract sufferers who were left without binocular vision following surgery. Parrelli and his team of lens specialists experimented with different materials, designs, and indices of refraction until they could fabricate a lens thin and strong enough to restore these patients’ sight.
Today, Parrelli Optical has grown to six locations, where optometrists inspect patients' vision with a comprehensive, 15-point eye-health assessment and complete visual analysis. Through digital corneal photography, they're able to diagnose corneal disease and increase the precision and comfort of prescriptions. The locations also host a wide selection of designer frames, ideal for experimenting with different styles, such as wearing 20 frames at once.
At Inner Strength Studios, seasoned instructors such as E-RYT 500 instructor Roman Szpond lead vinyasa yoga sessions for beginners, experts, and kids as young as five. Classes ranging from 60 to 90 minutes are held in heated rooms within Innerstrength's Boston studios, which were recently renovated after the Watertown location suffered fire damage. Aspiring teachers can take Innerstrength's 200-hour training program, which instills advanced yoga knowledge through classes, workshops, and a rollercoaster ride through a giant lotus. The studios also provide a slate of other services, such as personal training and massage therapy sessions.
Intent on sharing the physically, mentally, and spiritually rejuvenating benefits of yoga with students of all experience levels, the instructors at Yoga Now offer an eclectic schedule of classes that draw inspiration from many different styles. The sustained, powerful stretches of Forrest-inspired yoga and the seamlessly flowing asana sequences of Vinyasa yoga offer a more physically challenging, rigorous experience. On the other end of the spectrum, the gently paced Restorative classes emphasize relaxation. Regardless of the style, every class at Yoga Now is intended to help students improve their mind-body connection.