Treadmills, step classes, and free weights were making Joy Poulsen feel boxed in at the gym. She wanted a fun, up-tempo workout in the fresh air—that's why she created Inspire Fitness Boot Camps. Joy and her fellow coaches lead women in workouts that never let campers stop moving, for fear they'll freeze that way. An emphasis on exercises that emulate real-life movement means bodies can fall into the workout naturally, which makes it both safe and effective.
Planet Fitness' massive, brightly colored edifices teem with aerobic, strength-training, tanning, and massage options, tailored to suit burgeoning buffs of all ages and abilities. After an intense muscle pummeling on the extensive selection of strength-training equipment and free weights, valiant athletes and masochistic vampires alike may bask in the unlimited artificial sunshine of the gym's tanning booths. Meanwhile, shiatsu massage chairs stand at the ready, twiddling soothing robot thumbs and waiting to coax tension from tired tendons.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
Inside True Fight Club, many students learn to double their number of striking limbs: muay thai kickboxing, colloquially known as "the art of eight limbs," trains fighters to move beyond arms and legs to utilize their hands, elbows, shins, and knees to battle opponents. The gym prioritizes safety above all else during its 60-minute classes, and so equips sparring pairs with protective pads. Accomplished instructors are also on hand to teach classes in Brazilian jiu jitsu, which emphasizes grappling and bringing a foe down to the mat.
Alternatively, boxing classes cover footwork and maneuvers for offensive and defensive strategies. In addition to practical work, each session includes a workout component with bodyweight exercises that is designed to increase overall strength and prepare contenders for sudden-death sit-up contests in the ring. Regardless of their specialty, the instructors cater their lessons to suit all experience levels and ages. Their after-school programs guide children as young as 5 through self-defense routines, as well as building confidence, fitness, and a sense of discipline. Likewise, adult programs tone physiques and impart poise, whether pupils are seasoned competitors or first-timers.
Bally enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day membership includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, and Step Fitness (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts an array of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
Experienced personal trainer Carmen Arroyo believes the ability to be fit and healthy is within everyone. She is passionate about helping her clients shed pounds and gain lean muscle through the Zumba and Turbo Kick classes she teaches at Underground Fitness II and M&M Fitness Republic at Futsal Republic. Blending a tough cardio workout with strength and endurance training, Carmen helps whip her clients into shape. She also offers nutritional counseling for those looking to complete the fitness package.