In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women’s-only gym’s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym’s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym’s complimentary daycare.
Within each noncompetitive Curves facility, female fitness seekers are invited to move through a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that are designed to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Shunning cumbersome weight stacks, the hydraulic gadgets adapt to each exerciser's body weight and fitness level to complement her individual abilities, subsequently decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. And because traditional lift-and-lower motions tend to create bulky muscles, Curves' machines promote push-and-pull movements to sculpt toned, lean muscles, perfect for crushing unsuspecting grapefruit. Experienced trainers are always nearby to help clients manage their machine maneuvering, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues to let women know when it's time to move on to the next station or break for an air viola solo. Customers who wish to continue their membership after the trial will need to pay an enrollment fee of $49 in addition to the monthly rate.
Okello Dunkley designs his workshops for students who have just bought or are thinking of buying a DLSR camera but are mystified by its myriad gadgets and gizmos. The accessible nature of these classes has helped Dunkley spread them into nearly a dozen locations across the Midwest and east coast, where students as young as 12 learn how to take a digital camera off automatic mode and manually manipulate ISO light sensors and aperture openings. More advanced classes delve into working with difficult light—such as cloudy weather or days when the sun is set on strobe light—and others explore how to navigate computer software for photo manipulation.
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.
The SSI-certified dive-masters at Scuba Hut of Maryland drill amateur amphibians in proper subaquatic conduct with introductory and open-water scuba classes. Solo swimmers and pairs can report to the Try Scuba class for a run-down on flipper fundamentals, in which teachers outfit figures with diving equipment and all other necessary materials. Pupils then spread their maritime wings inside a pool, acclimating to their scuba gear as they navigate both the shallow and deep ends, making sure to avoid crashing into chlorine-water manatees.