Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
Licensed massage therapist Tracy Sprader reduces clients' mental stress and muscular tension with custom kneading routines performed over the course of 60 or 90 minutes. As senses ripen amid the chocolate-hued walls and flickering candles of a private treatment room, Tracy divines the client’s particular massage preferences through a full consultation. Once Tracy has determined a game plan that's equally suited to assuaging aches as it is to scrambling the letters on a Scrabble board, her skilled fingers shuffle across backs, executing either relaxation or deep-tissue massages. The relaxation massage offers light to medium pressure while the deep-tissue option involves deeper kneading. Both massages employ a combination of hot-and-cold therapy.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Ronda Arndorfer began exploring Pilates in 2001 at the age of 40, when she was trying to recover from the multiple running injuries she incurred while training for her first marathon. Her rehabilitation was so successful that she decided to learn how to share the experience with others. She became a certified Pilates instructor and—after opening a studio out of her home—eventually founded The Movement Center, a place where students can restore both body and mind in a positive, lighthearted environment. Arndorfer continues to attend workshops and teacher trainings with master instructors throughout the country, and some of her staff members have trained in Pilates via Arndorfer's teacher-certification program.
Arndorfer's passion for movement has paid off: the center has been featured in numerous television and magazine media outlets and was voted the Best Pilates Studio by CityVoter in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In addition to traditional yoga and Pilates classes, the crew offers innovative and challenging techniques such as aerial yoga—in which students "float" on a trapeze-like swing—and yoga performed on open water using a standup paddleboard. Barre classes require students to hold onto a ballet barre or the outstretched arm of a handsome stranger while strengthening muscles with a mix of yoga- and Pilates-inspired moves.
The center's team includes massage therapists, a nutritionist, and a physical therapist and certified Feldenkrais practitioner who continue the healing that begins within each class. They also offer childcare for guests' convenience.
Koha is the Maori word for gift, and Koha Yoga founders Whakapaingia Luke and Sara Laimon found the gift of each other by accident one fateful day. After playing Rugby in LA wreaked havoc on his body, Whakapaingia discovered the healing practices of yoga and Thai massage. One afternoon, he was out practicing yoga on Venice Beach, where Sara, who missed a flight and found herself stranded, would haphazardly stumble upon him. She had been a longtime practitioner of yoga, and decided to join him on a whim. This impulse on Sara's part led to the two falling in love and eventually melding yogic postures and acrobatics into what would become their signature flying-yoga style.
Today, they teach this revolutionary form of flying yoga—which involves one practitioner supporting an “airborne” partner with their limbs in a lying position and making jet-engine noises with their mouth —alongside Maori- and reggae-inspired mat classes, standup-paddleboard yoga lessons, and Thai-massage body sessions. Furthermore, the founders donate 10 percent of all class proceeds to help impoverished people around the world via Kiva.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.