With an arsenal of workout regimens and classes, Willie Blanks—brother of Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks—carries on the family tradition as he and his team of trainers lead healthy hopefuls to their goals. Students of the Wil-li-netics program are instructed in positive thinking and self-motivation as well as physical strength, giving them the mental wherewithal to pursue their fitness ambitions and telekinetically deflect cannon-propelled hot dogs. Individual attention comes in the form of a series of personalized routines, which may feature step aerobics, kickboxing, dance, or hand-weight workouts. An approximately one-hour massage (a $50 value) softens tight tendons, and a series of 15-minute life-coaching sessions (a $12.50 value per session) tones thought patterns into sleeker, more positive outlooks. Each gym membership entitles trainees to as many classes as their de-jellified limbs desire (up to a $60 value).
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottle to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
More than 10 years ago, a young couple dreamed up Titans Gym—a 24-hour facility that would house exercise equipment, tanning services, and a cafe teeming with nutritious snacks. Since then, Geoff and Niki DelGrosso have laid the bricks of that ambition, packing their two gyms with row upon row of advanced Strive, Precor, and Magnum equipment and three levels of professional tanning beds. The duo hired a team of fitness instructors to lead an abundance of group exercise classes, personal-training sessions, and surprise games of Red Rover in their private studios. To refuel exercisers, the onsite Titan Up café serves up a dietician-designed menu of wholesome smoothies, pizzas, and desserts. In the end, the couple's efforts have earned accolades from numerous fitness media publications, and their studios have won the title of Best Urban Gym from Cleveland Scene magazine.
Fitworks is home to a dedicated cadre of certified muscle architects who guide eager physiques through intense, small group workouts. Peruse the schedule before sampling a tension-undoing yoga class or a weekend-morning muscle-pump session, ideal for prepping for an underwater bench-press that will determine the office's next round of promotions. One-hour Zumba classes harness the rhythmic power of merengue, conga, belly dancing, and more to kill calories while resuscitating sleepy toes. After classes, students can freshen up or flex unused singing muscles in Fitworks' shower facilities.
Bally enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day membership includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, and Step Fitness (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts an array of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.