Heather Matthews transforms her workouts into dance parties with Zumba. She gets hearts pumping with catchy tunes and Zumba moves that work arms, legs, and midsections. Heather, who started teaching aerobics classes seven years ago, now only teaches Zumba classes because of the fun, high-energy aspect of each workout.
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 in cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, bolster flexibility during yoga, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
At the Gold's Gym Northwest locations, instructors lead water-aerobics classes within 25-yard salt-purified pools before cooling off in spacious hot tubs. The gyms also boast innovative cardio cinema theaters, where popular films and concession-stand advertisements flicker across massive flat screens as guests peddle away on treadmills and elliptical machines. After lively rounds of racquetball, members can unwind in steam rooms and saunas or sip on replenishing smoothies at the juice bar. During the week, the gyms keep round-the-clock hours.
Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Karate West is one of the largest martial arts schools in the country. Inside the 9,000-square-foot Issaquah training facility or the Mercer Island branch, kids and adults learn classic karate and self-defense moves, while also developing self-respect and discipline for both themselves and one another. Certified instructors lead students through traditional belt programs designed for kids as young as three, as well a specialized programs such as a women's only course, combat hapkido course, and a weapons program where students learn how to properly wield a bo, cane, sword, and loaded seltzer bottle.