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.
STAT Fitness's private studio and serene green roof serve as a carefree setting for exercisers to stretch their limbs while they follow the lead of encouraging fitness trainers. During the studio's personal-training and group sessions, workout gurus launch participants toward their fitness goals by engaging their bodies in fun exercises that incorporate yoga, Pilates, and dance maneuvers. In front of mirrored walls and exposed brick, students can huff and puff through a trio of group classes that last 60 minutes each, about as long as it takes to wash a tuba with a toothbrush. During these sessions, the staff puts a pronounced emphasis on building camaraderie among exercisers.
Baby signing classes, based on the Signing Time Academy curricula, teach pre-speech tots ages 3 and under how to effectively convey feelings of hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and insistent desires to ride the dog around the block like a pony. Board-certified music therapist Megan Taylor teaches the 45-minute classes, which are scheduled on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. The classes must be taken within the same four week series, as each class builds on the previous class. By broadening vocabularies, the classes bring parents and children closer together, reducing frustration and facilitating existential dialogues. Groupon holders also enjoy a 5% discount on Singing Time Academy flash cards, DVDs, and associated accessories.
Since opening Nutrition World in 1979, founder Ed Jones has fostered healthy mastication with an expansive inventory of natural, organic, and gluten-free foodstuffs. As shoppers peruse the aisles, nutrition-savvy store clerks stand by to answer inquiries and suggest healthy alternatives to junk food such as chips or notoriously indulgent Cracker Jack prizes. Shelves sport boxes of DeBoles gluten-free pasta ($3.89), and refrigerators eschew lactose with cartons of sunflower, coconut, hemp, and almond milk ($2.99+). Shoppers can scarf down the protein of an OhYeah! chocolate-caramel bar ($2.49) or work on their Popeye impressions by downing Amy's spinach pizza ($7.99).