At Revolution Cycling Studio, founder, certified spin expert, and personal trainer Traci Sakellakis leads a team of instructors who know firsthand how life-changing—perhaps even addictive—spinning can be. Class leader Jennifer Giordano became hooked on cycling almost by accident: one Saturday afternoon 10 years ago, her brother invited her for a "leisurely" bike ride that ended up stretching a whopping 33 miles. She rose to the occasion, and now encourages others to meet their own fitness goals. Additionally, fellow staffer Christian Ramos was overweight and out of shape before he started cycling, but has since lost more than 80 pounds and helps students do the same.
Motivating shouts and energizing beats from the sound system keeps students’ heart rates high as they pedal within the small, intimate studio. Some classes even feature themed music, such as tunes by "one-hit wonders" or a celebration of the British Invasion. Throughout the workout, the computerized Star Trac spinner bike provides continuous feedback on the exercisers' heart rate and distance travelled. The crew incorporates weight training and ab work into some sessions and also offers teen classes that are ideal for adolescent people or full-grown Keebler elves seeking stress relief.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, was founded more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. Tots as young as 6 weeks can take a month or two of weekly classes, all designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. One-hour Waddlers sessions for babies and parents introduce tots aged 14–22 months to mobility, agility, and social skills as they build block towers and participate in puppet shows. Other classes include Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, as well as Mighty Mites and Whiz Kids, classes for more independently mobile children aimed at mastering motor skills to build strength, balance, and agility.
For older kids, independent gym classes such as Champions and Cardionastics build self-esteem, fitness skills, and muscles for future speed-texting showdowns. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to develop youngsters' strength while stimulating their giggle-plexes—carving out a place for creativity and face-to-face engagement in the face of technological temptations and giant robotic faces.
Final Round Boxing and Fitness’s Olympic-sized boxing ring trembles with the stomping of feet as veteran fighters circle one another, each seeking the split second opening that will lead them to victory. Ringside coaches and instructors shout advice, assailing the combatants with tips and tricks until they’re seasoned enough to take on a real fight. The gym has produced more than one champion, earning such titles as the New Breed Fighter’s middleweight champion or Gold’s Gym Strongman Competitions strongest heavyweight.
But the boxing ring only accounts for a small portion of the 16,000 square feet of workout space. The rest houses all of the machines, free weights, and kettlebells required to condition athletes. Brightly lit, hardwood classrooms provide a venue for less combatively themed classes, such as Zumba dance or extreme chess, in which players must complete a whole game by dead lifting actual knights in full armor.
Featured in the New York Times and on The Colbert Report, Exotic Dance Workshops pole instructor Johnna Cottam has been earning attention by teaching women of all ages and flexibilities the art of exotic dance in a supportive environment. During the pole-dance basics class, students spin and swagger through a series of pole tricks, mastering how to slide in heels like glamorous baseball players.
Gymnastic rings, wooden crates, kettle bells, and climbable structures dominate the spacious interior of Raise the Bar Fit Club. Bordered by white cinderblocks, a black floor striped with sunlight, and a white board that tracks reps, this facility provides the perfect proving ground for certified CrossFit trainers eager to challenge trainees during intense workouts.
Group fitness is the specialty here. Instead of offering classes in dozens of disciplines, the club adheres to a single program: its own signature workout. Incorporating workouts as varied as weightlifting, gymnastics, and trophy-polishing, the program can be tailored to be as demanding or newbie-friendly as possible. Each engaging workout includes modifiable, personalized exercises to prepare the body for everyday physical challenges. Exercises often include tire dragging and flipping, rope climbing, and sledgehammer swinging.
Before getting started with this program, trainees are encouraged to attend one of the club's Start Up sessions. During these initial meetings, trainer demonstrate the techniques used in Raise the Bar workouts, such as squats and deadlifts. "We are not about mirrors and headphones," proudly declares the mission statement; instead, student embrace ideals including the pursuit of health, personal accountability, and forging friendships that will last a lifetime.
CKO Kickboxing's Joseph Andreula opened up his first gym in Hoboken, New Jersey, back in 1997. In that humble location, the fitness guru helped his clients shed their spare pounds and ratchet up their self-esteem with intense kickboxing workouts. Once word got out that Joseph's program of punching and kicking weighted bags got you more ripped than stay-at-home programs of punching and kicking ghosts, the gym caught on. CKO Kickboxing locations began to pop up throughout the country, where the newly expanded company's commitment to delivering heart-pumping workouts even earned a mention on NBC's Today. At the Hoboken location, all students are treated as equals as they strap on gloves and step up to the heavy bag. Trainers work with students of varying martial-arts or fitness experience and guide classes through up-tempo workouts of blistering jabs, uppercuts, roundhouse kicks. Each 60-minute class integrates strength-training and abdominal exercises, which help each participant burn up to 1,200 calories per class. All the while, dance music plays to help motivate students to take it to the next level and include a couple high kicks into their electric-slide routines.