Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
The Sweat Shoppe has but one specialty: indoor cycling. With such a narrow niche, the certified spinning instructors are able to focus solely on helping patrons of all fitness levels pedal their way to stronger, leaner physiques. Inside the no-frills, no-fuss studio, exposed air ducts and heating pipes emit detoxifying temperatures during Sweat Cycle classes, where students are given the extra challenge of working through 75- to 80-degree heat while not melting one's handlebars. Those who aren't quite ready for the heat can spin their way to greater fitness in the Classic Cycle class, where temperatures are kept in the comfortable upper 60s.
Created by dancer and choreographer Carrie Rezabek, Pure Barre utilizes the ballet barre to dissolve fat and tone muscles throughout the body. In group classes, upbeat music ushers participants along as they perform intense, concentrated movements, which manifests a fit physical transformations as well as mental results similar to those garnered in zen practices such as yoga, meditation, and eating ice cream in a dark room.