Paul Carson and Jack Banks started teaching fitness classes 30 years ago in a small abandoned dairy. Since those humble beginnings, they built Malibu Fitness—a modern gym where they help people build rippling muscles. Their trained group fitness instructors lead classes in yoga and Pilates, as well as more high-energy Zumba classes that set Latin dance moves to international tunes. Meanwhile, you’ll hop on a stationary bike for the spinning classes, which rely on intense climbs and sprints to elevate heart rates and burn calories. There’s also the option of one-on-one workouts with personal trainers, who can tailor workouts that shed girth, strengthen muscles, and improve athletic performance.
There are a number of nice bonus amenities at Malibu Fitness—it has flat-screen TVs, locker rooms, and a SunDome stand-up tanning booth. And if you’re hungry after a workout, there’s a shake bar that doles out Island Oasis protein shakes. The well-staffed team here even provides child care. And each year around Thanksgiving, the owners sponsor a road race that donates thousands of dollars to charities to offset America's turkey footprint.
Convening classes inside an intensely heated practice space, Bikram Yoga Farmington's instructors guide students of all skill levels through an invigorating whole-body workout. The studio’s schedule overflows with 90-minute classes throughout the week, bolstering stamina and flexibility with Bikram yoga’s traditional 26 deeply held postures and three breathing exercises as the equatorial climate loosens ligaments, encourages detoxifying perspiration, and bulldozes any errant shivers and goose bumps. With repeated practice, attendees hone focus and concentration skills capable of pushing them through tough workdays and centering their minds despite the studio’s hourly fireworks shows. Committed to students’ comfort, the studio rents out yoga mats and towels to pupils in need and opens its onsite showers and private changing rooms for guests who need to change back into their superhero costumes after class.
The attentive trainers of Core Studio sculpt bodies and impart fitness-focused wisdom within an intimate, boutique-style facility. Guests can take their pick of five group classes, all of which inspire camaraderie among buffness buffs, keeping muscles motivated and preventing predatory medicine balls from picking off stragglers. Zumba, propelled by invigorating music and custom choreography, entertains as it chases off rhythm-phobic calories. Yoga sessions revitalize lungs and limbs alike, and cycling and strength training forge firmer cores and promote balance, stamina, and endurance. Check the schedule for class times.
New Britain-Berlin YMCA's 90,000-square-foot complex helps members improve their lives through community programs, personal training programs, and a variety of fitness facilities, including a new massage studio. Besides bulking up on full circuit of Nautilus strength equipment or powering through Precor treadmills, steppers, and ellipticals, visitors can join friends for games of basketball in the double gymnasium or chuck tomatoes at the walls of five on-site racquetball courts. The clear waters of the 25-yard swimming pool parallel the mirrored walls of an 800-square-foot fitness studio, where members can partake in several health and wellness programs throughout the week.
After finding that her yoga practice helped her overcome her own personal health issues and depression, studio founder, macrobiotic chef, and certified instructor Barbara Ruzansky maintains a passion for introducing “yoga and healthful eating to people, so they can continue to grow and reach their full potential.” Held within a warehouse-like studio with two technicolored practice spaces, Barbara's classes offer a dynamic combination of Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa flow, and Forrest yoga. She and her large team of equally passionate instructors also helm a selection of slower and gentler yoga styles that cater to three-toed sloths and students recovering from injuries.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as six weeks) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research . The West Hartford location offers classes for all developmental degrees, from Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, to Champions, 5- to 8-year-olds mastering sports and gymnastics skills. Schedules and class options vary by location; click here to see the complete West Hartford lineup.