Going to the gym can be an intimidating experience without a kindhearted gym staff and the proper support group of peers for encouragement. Go Figure Gym’s friendly fitness gurus are determined to cultivate a safe, nonjudgmental environment where women can get in shape together. Classes such as Zumba, 30-minute workout circuit training, and hula hoops promote a sense of community as participants sweat side by side, shaking their rumps to Latin music, running in place, and playing Hot Potato with blocks of concrete.
The front room of Core Fitness Training is packed with rowing machines, free weights, resistance bands, TRX systems, and medicine balls in bright colors. The assembly of exercise equipment aids clients in meeting their fitness goals under the guidance of personal trainers. The back room, though void of any equipment, also offers a chance to sweat out the pounds during yoga, Zumba, and boot-camp-style classes. To ensure a well-rounded health regimen, the trainers also dispense nutritional counseling, such as how much protein is needed and how to remove all the calories from donuts.
Bally's story can be traced back to the late 1930s, when a little-known pinball manufacturer in Chicago, Illinois, refined its factories to produce flight equipment for World War II. Ballyhoo's business diversified and boomed in the ‘50s, and within 40 years they became the largest owner and operator of fitness centers in the world. Though their size has ballooned, their mission remains the same: to help each of their clients achieve their ideal bodies through personal training, high-tech workout machines, and heart-pumping group classes. The gym's approach to fitness educates and introduces exercisers to workouts without a steep learning curve or mandatory speed dates with elliptical machines.
O Yoga owner Tiffany Sisko does not differentiate between the novice and the advanced yoga student. She opened her studio as a venue for anyone to practice the art, and to that end, none of her classes are grouped by skill level. She extends her inclusive attitude to her teachings, drawing poses from kripalu, prana, and yin styles to combine their therapeutic effects during fluid Vinyasa sessions. With an eclectic blend of music, stretches, and breath work, she and her team of instructors send each student on a distinct mission of self-discovery.
Even the studio's environment forwards the message of all-encompassing acceptance. Using cleverly recycled decor, Tiffany has crafted a stark yet elegant aesthetic. She repurposed plywood and furring strips—which were ripped up to expose the building's original pine flooring and still-beating heart—as shelves and wall embellishments. The asymmetrical furniture in the open lounge area is molded from the wood of a felled box-elder street tree, whose vibrant red striping adds flair to the grain.
There are no frills at the SaltCity CrossFit gym. Instead of rows of flashy cardio machines, televisions pumping out talk shows, and a diamond-glazed lobby, there is a dedicated staff of certified coaches and an abundance of simple, functional exercise equipment. Amid pull-up bars, free weights, and sandbags, instructors lead groups through the CrossFit program’s innovative, high-intensity workouts, scaling movements to accommodate each student’s level of fitness. The coaching team also provides students with nutritional advice, encouraging diets that are high in lean proteins and vegetables and discouraging the consumption of candies, soda, or fried candies and soda.
Personal Fitness boasts a facility stocked with cardio and strength-training equipment, group fitness classes, a contingent of knowledgeable trainers, and a unique Fitness on Request electronic system that allows gym-goers to partake in dozens of different classes on demand. Sessions are selected from a touch-screen kiosk, then projected upon a 120-inch, high-definition screen within an exercise studio, which supplies enough space for small groups of real or imaginary friends. In-the-flesh direction is provided during instructor-led sessions, which include classes in yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.