The marble-sculpted instructors at Gold’s Gym whittle weak bodies into hardened muscle masses with a schedule of classes for all experience levels. In bright, spacious rooms, fledgling health buffs can shake the dust off of rarely used muscles and strengthen exteriors until they're as awe-inspiring as an Edison on ice-skates.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr's only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and eight years later, Pure Barre spread its franchises to what is now more than 160 locations across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, physiques can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The total-body workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers to regain their desired shape without leading the daycare's piggyback carpool. High-energy, intimate classes with small amounts of attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to derive the deepest possible burn from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills. Pure Barre also offers private barre-ties, DVDs, equipment, designer exercise apparel, and more.
Sports Barn welcomes students of all skill levels and interests with an array of classes that includes gentle, intensive, and restorative yoga styles. The studio’s robust schedule of sessions helmed by dedicated instructors, focus largely on flow sessions that synchronize gracefully cascading transitions with measured breaths to create an invigorating practice. Power yoga engages limbs with vigorous dynamism as it bolsters strength, stamina, and high-fiving ability. Yin yoga draws thoughts inward with a centering sequence of poses that helps loosen uptight connective tissues with deeply held stretches as students learn to focus on improving their range of motion. Although the studios cushion postures with the necessary yoga mats and props, instructors advise students to purchase their own, as chakras can become territorial over particularly good equipment.
With locales dappled throughout the Southeast and Midwest, the brains behind Workout Anytime funnel more than three decades of fitness-industry expertise into filling their gyms with positive vibes and state-of-the-art equipment. The fitness gurus spread Magnum-brand strength-training machines and cutting-edge treadmills—whose frames can support up to 500 pounds—throughout their hygienic antimicrobial floors. They also provide certified personal trainers, nutritional guidance, and weight-loss plans.
Workout Anytime's doors are open to members 24 hours a day every day of the year, permitting access to public exercise zones and areas that offer tanning and massage sessions. Each gym also strives to cultivate a familial atmosphere with staffers who memorize each guest's name and carve each one's Thanksgiving turkey.
Covered in jagged faces and colorful tape, the climbing spaces at Urban Rocks Gym challenge mountaineers of all skill levels. More than 100 top-rope and lead-climbing routes rise up to 35 feet, with both relaxed vertical paths and grip-testing overhangs. A separate kids' wall offers lower altitudes for aspiring climbers, bolstering their confidence once they reach the top. Topped by an amphitheater-like roof, the 3,000-square-foot top-out-bouldering area enables participants to live out their dream of becoming a stalactite with a 60-degree wall, overhanging arêtes, and a maximum height of 14 feet. Those returning to the gym will find that its routes are regularly recalibrated, with 15 new top-rope routes and 25 new boulder problems every week.
The trainers at STAT Fitness sculpt bodies into beacons of strength and endurance through intense workouts during boot camp classes held twice a week. By capping sessions at 10–15 exercisers, the one-hour classes can focus on the particular needs of varying levels of fitness from beginners to robust athletes to Norse gods on Earth as punishment for their hubris. Students follow the instructor’s lead through an array of cardio, strength-training, and core development exercises to fortify the body from head to toe. Brick walls and large mirrors give the clean gym an industrial feel, and the natural light streaming in through the windows silhouettes forms in the throes of doing pushups, lifting weights, or high-fiving their reflection after bench-pressing reps.