Members of Synergy Fitness Clubs thrive on choice. Choice of location? There are nine. Choice of activity? Instructors lead classes in almost any form of exercise imaginable, such as power sculpt, full-body circuits, and intense cycling. To make sure that members are making the choices that will help reach their fitness goals the fastest, the clubs are staffed with more than 100 lifestyle coaches. These pros are continually educated in their fields of specialty—which might mean nutrition counseling, yoga, or boxing.
A wide slate of equipment and amenities makes it as easy as possible to fit in workouts. Most locations are open 24 hours, and while parents lift free weights or dance a beautiful tango with a Precor elliptical, their kids can hang out in a free childcare room.
Part dojo, part fitness center, and part extracurricular activity, New Generation Karate describes itself as a “school of higher learning”—one in which students can compete in martial arts in a positive and fun environment. Its signature form of karate harnesses techniques and principles from various martial-arts disciplines, including elite goju karate, kickboxing, judo, Brazilian jujitsu, Japanese jujitsu, and martial-arts weaponry. The blended system allows students to defend themselves and employ techniques in a variety of dynamic situations. However, the center also offers strictly kickboxing, MMA, or jujitsu classes for martial artists interested in a specific style.
In the 1989 classic Say Anything, Lloyd Dobler declared kickboxing "the sport of the future." At Fitness Kickboxing's four locations, the future is now. Unlike Lloyd's quest for combat excellence, the students at these gyms dedicate themselves to a more peaceful goal: physical fitness. Instead of sparring with an opponent, they take their frustrations out on heavy bags, striking and kicking their way toward increased fitness and decreased poundage.
Kickboxing.com represents a conglomeration of schools from all around the world, including locations in America, Japan, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic. They focus on high-quality training from different disciplines of martial arts that range from kenpo karate to capoeira and taekwondo. Each school combines the art of kicking with the basis of Western boxing to create devastating combinations that use every limb.
At the age of 13, when most kids are writing The Karate Kid fan fiction, David Martucci was beginning his martial-arts training. He eventually transferred his punching prowess into a coaching career that has yielded title-winning students in tournaments such as NAGA and Grapplers Quest. As the head coach of the American Top Team training centers, he's overseen a team of professional fighting trainers that has produced more than 67 pro fighters competing in the UFC and WEC.
Inside the gym's 5,000-square-foot training space, trainers share their sage grappling advice and recipes for coffeecake, molding future champions disciplined in muay thai, MMA, and boxing. Students learn high-level takedowns in the martial-arts room where heavy bags hover over a floor padded in Zebra mats, or how to negotiate the grueling confines of a 22-foot competition cage. Just beyond the training room, people work on writing checks that their fists can cash in the workout facility stockpiled with dumbbells, weight benches, machines, and cardio equipment.
While exercise enthusiasts, celebrities, and athletes have practiced Joseph Pilates' unique style of controlled movements since the 1920s, it wasn’t until recently that studios such as The Pilates Experience brought the workout down from the mountain. After introducing guests to the specialized machines, including the Reformer, Tower, Cadillac, and ladder barrels, instructors lead exercises that use bodyweight as resistance. To help students perform the moves correctly, they cap the machine-based classes at six people and move from station to station handing out tips on proper alignment. Other classes include a Pilates-infused yoga class, heart-pumping indoor-cycling sessions, and muscle-toning total-body circuit training.