Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 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 fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip 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.
High-quality Paul Mitchell products restore and hydrate damaged strands during haircare sessions at Vanguard College of Cosmetology (Paul Mitchell School). Supervised by experienced instructors, stylists-in-training cultivate client relaxation with a five-minute scalp massage before every haircut, which may also include a scrub with chemical-free salves such as wild-ginger-infused Awapuhi shampoo. The school also strives to give back to the community by hosting regular charity events, and a Green Team aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the 14,000-square-foot campus until it can fit a sleek pair of kitten heels.
Though severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina just five months after its debut, Slidell Rocks Climbing Gym rebuilt and reopened just months later and continues to provide the community with opportunities to build up muscular and cardio strength. The climbing center showcases top-rope challenges on walls nearly 40 feet high, as well as lower courses for younger climbers. Two bouldering rooms mimic the lifestyle of ancient arachnid cavemen with rooftop grips and seven hangboards. Between summit attempts, climbers can relax in the concessions area, watching their favorite sports on the televisions and munching on rock candy harvested from an active sugar volcano.
Equipment: Cybex, Woodway
Students should bring: Water, Towels, Yoga Mat
Average class length: 30–60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5–10 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
With speedy waxologists and specially formulated European waxes made just for its clients, it's no wonder that Bombshell Waxing opened a second location just one year after its inception in 2010. That's also largely due to the passion of owner Shelly Reagon, who is very hands-on with her business and who can often be found in scrubs and an apron herself.
She writes in Sophisticated Woman Magazine that it's important for women to go to a reputable salon for a wax, one that never double-dips its waxes and knows eyebrows aren't just caterpillars napping on the forehead. She also talks about her belief that brows are "sisters, not twins"—that it's most natural and beautiful if brows both look polished, but they don't need to be identical. Another revolutionary idea of hers is that waxing should be an experience a client looks forward to, so her salons offer vajazzling services and onsite boutiques where clients can shop for lingerie that shows off freshly bare skin.
Dedicated to helping people of all ages achieve their fitness goals, the friendly trainers at Gilboy's Health Club equip their clients with everything they need to succeed. In the cardio room, a fleet of treadmills and stationary bikes facilitates sweat-inducing sessions, and weight machines help build lean muscle mass. Health-club mainstays such as spinning and flow-yoga classes are offered alongside Gilboy’s originals such as the leg- and glute-sculpting Rock Bottoms or Pilates blender, a low-impact class that imbues bodies with the flexibility of a warm piece of chewed bubblegum.