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 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.
With 24-hour access, aerobic and mixed-martial-arts group classes, and well-appointed facilities, Club One Fitness aims to be the ideal backdrop for any workout routine. The schedule of group exercise classes includes yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Boxers spar with other members or against the gym's stash of weighted bags during boxing classes for adults and tykes, who learn the pugilistic art in an Olympic-sized ring that, according to the Washington Post, "bears no resemblance to the worn, dingy boxing gyms of Hollywood movies, even though some Gold and Silver Gloves fighters, and a few pros, have trained there."
The staff of personal trainers and athletes show new members the ropes with three complimentary orientation sessions sessions; during the first, staffers talk to new members about their workout history and goals, and show them how to use Life Fitness treadmills, LifeCycle exercise bikes, elliptical cross-trainers, and stair climbers. On the second visit, they explain how to use Hammer Strength and Life Fitness strength-training and toning equipment. On the third and final visit, staffers give members their own personalized workout program, calibrated to help them reach their goals. From there, members can forge their own fitness paths or buddy up with a personal trainer.
Staffed by trained personnel, the bright and roomy childcare center keeps young ones engaged with toys, a big-screen TV, and a PlayStation. After adults catch their own entertainment in the cardio theater that projects movies as guests decimate calories, they can relax in the sauna, hop into the tanning beds, or shower off sweat and punching-bag tears.
Xpose Fitness transforms its students into fit, confident divas with sultry exercise classes that have been featured on TLC and CNN. Certified instructors lead 50-minute workouts for all fitness levels, pairing muscle-lengthening stretches with isometric exercises to build strong, svelte muscles throughout the body. Floor and chair sessions blend yoga and Pilates poses into a dance routine that makes sexy props out of everyday objects such as desk chairs, loveseats, and throw pillows shaped like Grover Cleveland's moustache. In pole-dancing classes, the teacher imparts basic spins with step-by-step instructions and a steady stream of encouragement. Exercise modifications are available at each workout, helping new exercisers and injured participants move safely and comfortably. Consult the class schedule for times, and visit the FAQ page for a list of items to bring along.
Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women’s-only gym’s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym’s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym’s complimentary daycare, whose staffers stay in touch with each other via two-way talk radios, rather than by sending them regular flocks of carrier pigeons.
In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
Much like the climate and the cost of a pickle, Sport Fit facility features vary by location, but all three locations harbor vast vaults of workout equipment and group classes. During your 30 consecutive days of training montage, mold and shape muscles into the clenched face of your favorite World’s Strongest Man with dozens of machines and free weights. Otherwise, stride onto the tennis, racquetball, or basketball court and win back legal ownership of your pancreas from that fast-talking vice president. Those who benefit from cardiovascular camaraderie can buoy spirits and sink flab with group fitness classes such as salsa, karate, functional fitness boot camp, and cycling.