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.
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.
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.
As the tanning salon inside one of the country's most cutting-edge gyms, Venice Beach Tan at Gold's Gym Harrisburg is fittingly equipped with modern equipment. One of its most popular beds is the Ovation 3400, a lay-down model with a triple face tanner, totaling 1,200 watts. A digital countdown timer shuts the bed off automatically, so you can be sure you won't get too much exposure, unlike tanning under the actual sun, which only stops shining once the moon comes to tuck it into bed.