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. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. 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.
As a former national-level figure skater and ISSA-certified personal trainer, Jessica knows what a full-body burn feels like. However, she didn't know that a stationary bike could replicate the feeling, until a fellow trainer encouraged her to climb aboard a RealRyder cycle. Jessica became a devotee after just two rides. Determined to share her newfound passion with others, she gathered a team of certified instructors, populated two studios with RealRyder ABF8 bikes, and opened their doors to prospective pedalers of all fitness levels.
Inside Ryde For Life, Jessica and her staff host 45- to 60-minute classes synced to each teacher's music playlist. They lead stationary teams atop RealRyder bikes, whose specialized frames allow riders to lean, bank, and steer as they would an on-road bike. In addition to pumping up cardiovascular systems, sessions engage the core, upper body, legs, and the scalp muscles that hold helmets in place.
Rebecca Wood and Ryan Deichert combine their passions for empowering fitness styles at a studio where students of all skill levels can learn self-defense or relaxation techniques during their workouts. Rebecca began teaching yoga in 1999, creating a signature alignment-based Iyengar-style yoga that she personally teaches to each instructor she employs. Instructors guide students through poses such as bends and inversions, incorporating posture-buoying props and instructional pop-up books when needed to relieve mental and physical tension. Ryan taps into more than 15 years of Brazilian jujitsu training to teach amateur martial artists of all sizes and fitness levels how to safely extricate themselves from dangerous situations or escape from overeager bear hugs.
CrossFit 428's dedicated trainers, Ricky, Hope and Jethrie, strive to help clients of all shapes and sizes—from stay-at-home moms to competitive athletes—achieve their personal fitness goals through dynamic workouts. Unlike other weight-lifting or cardio exercises, the CrossFit method builds strength using functional movements people perform on a daily basis, such as squatting, reaching, and running away from the guy who's running away from the cops. During the one-hour workouts, participants work to perfect 10 areas of physical skill, which include cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, and agility. The staff also provides nutritional guidance to augment the process of becoming fitter.
Surrounded by brick walls and serene statues, a small group follows an instructor, moving together through poses both comforting and challenging. The Yoga Alliance–certified teachers offer hands-on corrections and encouragement to all their students during moves that range from gentle hip openers in the beginning Bliss class to balance-testing headstands in the eclectic Yoga Blend class. In addition to their regular classes, instructors also lead workshops designed to appeal to all sorts of students, covering such subjects as yoga and creative writing, aerial yoga, and body wisdom, which teaches students to listen to their bodies and then forget any crazy-person mumbling they hear.
Roy Taylor wasn’t always an NASM-, NASCA-, AFAA-, and ACE-certified personal trainer. He was once a 6’5” kid who weighed 145 pounds. He combated his lankiness by working out, ultimately gaining 95 pounds of muscle. At Body Construction, which he founded in 1986, his current and former bodies both shape his personal training technique. Welcoming of all fitness levels, Roy and his trainers work with everyone from kids to members of the FBI. He leads intense, daily CrossFit classes as well as stocks his gym with machines and uses equipment such as tires, sledgehammers, and monkey bars during workouts.