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 Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Whether you yearn to tone up, enhance athletic performance, or completely revamp an unhealthy lifestyle, the certified personal trainers, collegiate and pro athletes, and nutritional counselors at The Laws of Health and Fitness can customize a plan of attack. Through fitness boot camps and personal training, the staff pushes clients almost to their breaking point—just as far as it takes to garner results.
For Bikram Yoga Baltimore's Emily and Eddie Garner, yoga isn't just exercise. It's a dance that purifies the body and silent song that stirs the soul. Drawing upon intensive study with Bikram yoga's founder and Emily's years of ballet training, the couple fills 90-minute classes with 26 graceful poses that stretch and strengthen the entire body. Heated rooms in Cockeysville and Harbor East loosen students' muscles, making them as pliable as a gymnast made entirely of pipe cleaners. Calibrated for both beginners and advanced students, the workout boosts circulation, which can help ease chronic pain and oust pent-up toxins. In addition to hosting classes, each studio rents mats and sells energy boosters such as vitamin-fortified water and Emergen-C supplements.
To symbolize the raw energy and intensity of their training program, Donna Pierce and Lauren Bunney named their gym—named "Baltimore's Best" by Baltimore magazine in 2010—after Costa Rica’s active Arenal Volcano, which relentlessly spews hot smoke and molten lava. Similarly, the fitness team turns up the heat of their fitness routines with the CrossFit regimen, which transforms bodies through simple, rigorous, no-frills workouts. Exercisers won’t find circuit training strength machines at Arenal’s 4,800-square-foot facility. Instead, they use free weights, medicines balls, and kettlebells to sculpt chiseled physiques. All students start out learning the proper form of CrossFit's functional movements before taking on the rigorous “workout of the day.” Sessions can be scaled to meet the fitness level of each participant, but always keep muscles guessing with varying reps, weight levels, and surprise trust falls.
While all of us spend each day moving, it takes an analytical awareness of self to become a movement expert like Jayne Bernasconi. The owner of Yoga on York leads a double live as dance faculty member at Towson University and an Aerial Dancer. She combined the aerial silks of her dance career with the asana of yoga, debuting her newly invented aerial yoga at the Aerial Dance Festival in Colorado in 2002. Her original creation represents but one of nine types of yoga taught at her studio, and stands alongside classic sequences, yoga and Pilates fusion classes, and yoga for kids.
Recognizing the quirks of peoples' exercise routines—some feel intimidated by other exercisers, others prefer the support of a group—Kenneth Reed and his staff at Fit For Life Personal Training stage their workouts in private and small group settings. For even more community, exercisers can sign up for one of Fit for Life's boot camps or upbeat Zumba dance-fitness classes. To supplement workouts with healthful foods, the facility also supplies nutritional counseling.