At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels 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 machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases 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.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
At Hayastan-IMB Mixed Martial Arts, expert fighters teach adults and kids to not only fend off potential attackers, but also to evade a less tangible assailant: workout boredom. Rather than training with repetitive treadmill runs, students tone their physiques in combat classes using techniques such as grappling—a mostly ground-based style that blends jujitsu, judo, and wrestling. Kickboxing-and-MMA-fusion courses mix knee and elbow strikes with classic kicks and punches, and multiple levels of fitness boot camp burn fat, bolster endurance, and strengthen and condition bodies.
At Romp n' Roll, children ages 3 months to six years participate in activities that encourage motor-skill development and creativity. Within the non-competitive and nurturing environment, experienced teachers lead classes in activities such as gymnastics, art, or music. Meanwhile, during open-gym sessions, children cavort across play equipment under parent supervision.
Endorsed by UFC fighter B.J. Penn, the Martial Arts Training Institute provides extensive, valuable training in martial arts and self-defense. A full trial membership for 30 days gives you access to any MATI class. In the beginner's class, kids will study the self-discipline, the respect, and the physical conditioning required to be a martial arts expert. They'll hone their physical and mental skills under the tutelage of several black-belt instructors, who collectively hold belts in tae kwon do, karate, and jujitsu, among others. Adults can also sharpen their self-security with classes that invigorate the cardiovascular system, while learning how to counter any weapon attacks.
As a certified personal trainer and "marathon maniac," Empowered Personal Training Studio founder Emily Knudson often saw other runners performing cardio workouts without achieving the results they expected. She realized they were missing a key ingredient in their fitness regimen: strength training. Unlike cardio exercise, building muscles lets the body continue to burn calories hours after exercises end. That’s why her six-week boot camps mix body-weight and hand-weight exercises into cardiovascular routines and high-intensity Q&A sessions. Empowered’s team of trainers includes other competitive marathoners as well as a triathlon coach, a competitive female bodybuilder, and a former Army infantryman and combat medic. Their studio's intimate setting of weight machines, medicine balls, and cycles contrasts with the impersonal vibe of a traditional large gym full of blaring TVs and barking dogs.