At Victory Fitness Center, members pump iron in the weight room and pedals on the stationary bikes before giving weary muscles respite in the whirlpool or sauna. Besides providing fitness coaching to keep everyone on the right track, the gym also provides an environment free of intimidation with men- and women-only workout areas. To supplement those workouts, the staff designs easy-to-follow weight-loss programs, and certified trainers lead group classes such as Zumba, boxing, and boot camp.
Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
Shape Fitness believes that since exercise is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle, people should be able to fit a workout into their own schedules. This spacious gym is staffed and open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and clients here have access with their own key. Cardio and strength training equipment helps members stick to their fitness regimens, and group class are available for people who like to work out in a motivating, social environment. Certified personal trainers are also on hand to help train those looking to amp up their fitness routine.
Michele Mangione thought she might never dance again after a car wreck smashed her skull and fractured four fragile vertebrae. By practicing yoga, she regained her mobility and acquired a new passion: helping others find health and happiness through movement. To this end, she eagerly studied the mind-body connection, earning a PhD in the topic from Ohio State and an advanced teaching certification from the Yoga Alliance. Armed with extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and philosophy, she founded WiseWays, a studio that blends Hatha yoga with healing arts, such as tai chi, structural integration, and the Feldenkrais method of somatic education. Here, students of all skill levels build strong bodies, centered minds, and spirits as buoyant as the studio's suspended-wood floor. Yoga instruction takes place in one-on-one sessions and small-group classes, where pupils hone poses that gently unlock hips, shoulders, and safes filled with middle-school-era diary entries. As strength and flexibility increase, students progress to sun salutations that cultivate balance, focus, and a pervasive sense of calm.
At Shift, students enter a calming, comfortable environment designed to help subdue the pressures of the outside world and promote self-awareness. Teachers preach the importance of attention to one’s breath and body during WiseWays yoga classes, artful tai chi sessions, and restorative meditation sessions. The studio’s tranquil environment is made even more comforting by suspended wood flooring that’s warmed from beneath by radiant heat.
During 25 years of industry experience, Nick and Sharon Osborne have witnessed countless gym members lose interest in monotonous workouts and detached trainers. To combat exercise lethargy, they founded Go: Fitness, a center that focuses on functional training and attentive service. Either Nick or Sharon is always onsite to oversee their coaching staff during group classes and free monthly one-on-one sessions for members.
The gym's equipment—kettlebells, battling ropes, sledgehammers, and machines such as the Power Plate—complements routines that mimic real-life movements and strengthen muscles through natural actions. To round out their wellness goals, members receive access to nutrition and fitness software that helps them plan healthful meals without going to the trouble of hacking into the Food Network's mainframe.