“No makeup, no men, and no mirrors.” That was the unofficial motto of Curves’ original Texas location in 1992, and it’s no less true today: at nearly 10,000 clubs worldwide, women attack a 30-minute training circuit designed to burn calories and build strength through cardio and resistance workouts. After each minute on a piece of strength-training equipment—each built for feminine frames and designed to work opposing muscle groups with a single movement—exercisers move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to keep their heart from getting bored and falling asleep.
Many gyms are essentially adult playgrounds where grownups run, jump, and sweat with their friends. The trainers at Pure Athletex Sportsplex take that idea one step further, complimenting their 1/8-mile track with a custom, adult-ready jungle gym. They challenge members to complete exercise circuits blending climbing and swinging with more standard cardio and strength training. They take on whole groups of students in regularly scheduled exercise classes ranging from yoga to TRX suspension training and Zumba. They torch even more calories with nationally renowned Les Mills group aerobics, which ramp up heart rates through time-tested methods of high stepping or releasing vipers into the classroom.
When not helping members achieve their general health goals, the trainers turn their attention to more sport-specific training. They offer speed and strength conditioning geared toward multiple games, but their headline sport is tennis, for which they host an entire academy with indoor and outdoor courts. They invite members to relax as well as work with an onsite, health-focused restaurant and juice bar called Pure Hospitality.
Rather than letting guests loose on intimidating weights and boring exercise machines, You Rock Fitness Wexford brings exercisers together in an energizing array of intimate group fitness classes and personal-training sessions. Instructors Amy, Michelle, and Emily take their cues from students as they cultivate a schedule of classes with intense workouts like POUND and R.I.P.P.E.D. Both classes are uniquely different except for the fact that they put bodies through an grueling workout that can burn up to 1000 calories in just under an hour.
Situated in what was once an electronics store, the space's formerly drab interior has taken on an electrifying new look, brimming with bright purples and lime greens that complement gleaming hardwood floors. A wavy mirror shoots back students' sweat-streaked reflections in the main studio as children play within eye range in the Kidz Room—designed and painted by the instructors' daughters, this child-friendly zone keeps kids entertained during their parents' workouts with games, puzzles, and Cabbage Patch drill instructors.
Structured workouts are hard to come by at 2 a.m.—except at VYGOR Fitness. The 24-hour gym’s automated Fitness on Request consoles store up to 45 unique workout videos, which can lead athletes through guided workouts to help them meet their fitness goals into the wee hours of the morning. During the day, patrons can work with human fitness experts during group classes in Zumba, Pilates, yoga, and cardio pump, which fuses jogging with pumping well water. More intimate I Inspire sessions, led by certified personal trainers, follow a more flexible curriculum and stay capped at 10 participants to ensure individualized attention.
For solo workouts, gym-goers can use cardio equipment such as Star Trac treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, or StairMaster steppers—ideal for training for on-foot trips to the moon. Alternatively, patrons can build muscle on a comprehensive array of weightlifting machinery. To complement workouts, the studio’s workshops—on topics ranging from nutrition and weight loss to specialty training areas—bolster fitness IQs.
Anytime Fitness is a gym that was designed to make working out more convenient. Clients have 24/7 keycard access to the gym’s cardio and strength-training equipment, along with full access to group fitness classes, such as Zumba, yoga, and Duck, Duck, Goose with ankle weights. Certified personal trainers are available onsite, and members can finish their exercise routines with a stop off at the onsite hydromassage bed to relax and loosen exhausted muscles.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your 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.