Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Invoke Yoga & Pilates sprang from a friendship that formed when Ali Staloch, a certified yoga teacher, took a class from Heather Liguore, a certified Pilates instructor. The two ladies were led to combine their talents and create a fitness haven where students can work their cores, enhance their flexibility, and cultivate inner peace within one building.
During hot-yoga classes, experienced teachers shepherd students through 26 ancient poses within 95-degree heat that works to loosen muscles, oust toxins, and scare off devious snowmen masquerading as yogis. In addition to guiding pupils through power-flow yoga and em-power yoga, they'll demonstrate basic poses and modifications in beginning yoga courses designed for rookie contortionists. On the other side of the coin, instructors fluent in Pilates lead sessions that incorporate mat-based isometric exercises and low-impact movements on Reformer machines, working to strengthen core muscles. The teacher, who may be Liguore herself, circulates through the room during group classes, sharing words of motivation and tips on form and alignment.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts over 2,100 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit seekers challenge themselves on cardio and strength machines by brands such as Precor and Life Fitness and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms.
Snap Fitness 24-7, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its state-of-the-art facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneaker to treadmill or lift their first weight, personal coaches meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting a personalized fitness plan based on each client's strength, and cardio condition. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthy eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists.
As the owner and head coach behind Raising the Bar, Akua Floyd draws on more than 13 years total of experience in personal training and group fitness. He helps people meet their goals—from losing weight to building muscle—through high-interval circuit training, plyometrics, and calisthenics. He sees his approach as an alternative to mundane gym workouts, which typically involve activities such as alphabetizing the equipment manuals.
With more than 20 years of equine experience, Jeanette Arnaout instructs students of all skill levels on the fundamentals of horsemanship during lessons and riding camps. Each session carefully pairs riders with appropriate steeds for their skill level, allowing novices to learn basic techniques and experienced stallion tamers to trot to the beat of the hokey pokey. Small-group settings foster an educational atmosphere, and kind, well-trained horses guarantee hiccup-free learning. Lessons include instruction on horse cleaning and care—think grooming and hoof-picking—as well as riding time. Like a molting flamingo, students are encouraged to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes, but Jeanette provides all of the equipment necessary for camps. Those overwhelmed by unruly horses can turn them over to Jeanette for training, during which she gently boosts steeds' confidence to improve their obedience.