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, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates with INSANITY routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Each instructor at Evolution Pilates is certified through Stott Pilates, which requires a minimum of 200 hours of training. Backed by this certification, the instructors lead private and group classes for all types of exercisers, from beginners to experienced athletes. The classes incorporate equipment such as reformers, which help exercisers build lean muscles.
Olympic lifts, gymnastics, and calisthenics. When you take elements of all three and perform them at a high intensity, you get CrossFit. At CrossFit South Windsor, founders Merle McKenzie and Glenn Perra create total-body workouts that change daily to keep muscles guessing. Merle and Glenn have found that CrossFit is one of the best ways to bolster physical power, speed, and agility, but they also value its easy scalability. Students of all abilities can find an intensity that works for them, all while keeping boredom at bay with rapidly changing exercises.
The newly opened, spacious Lightning Fitness is dedicated to helping clients meet their fitness goals. Certified personal trainers are on hand at the 7,100-square-foot private fitness center, teaching small-group classes and answering questions as members work out with the cardio and strength-training machines and free weights.
The air was chilly and the sky was still dark one wintry morning in Hartford, when five women huddled around Racquel, awaiting instruction at the very first Racquels Addiction Fitness boot camp. But as hard as that first workout may have been, it obviously inspired something positive in the women who attended. From that day forward, word spread about the workout that group fitness instructor Racquel had put together—a powerful routine that targeted problem areas such as the hips, thighs, glutes, and abs and quickly transformed them with little to no help from cumbersome workout equipment.
Today, Racquel and fellow fitness instructor Betsy have branched out from just boot camp. At Racquel's Addiction Fitness, they also teach Piloxing (a blend of Pilates and boxing), Zumba, and Hot and Bothered on the Bench classes, which blast calories with help from a step bench and weights. And, in their quest to make fitness fun for everyone, the studio also hosts many exercise-themed special events, including chair dance fitness parties, pole dancing parties, and sultry potato sack races.