Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
David Barton, dubbed "The Man Who Made Working Out Cool" by the New York Times, builds gyms that are as much about design as they are function. Walking into a David Barton Gym is like entering a dreamscape. The Collins location evokes a futuristic version of Atlantis: workout equipment appears to be at the bottom of the ocean beneath neon blue lighting and a wavy metallic ceiling, presided over by an imposing skeleton of an ancient sea creature chained to the wall. Where as the Astor Place location resembles an art museum, decked out in bold fuchsia lighting, Victorian-era furniture, damask wallpaper, and graffiti-style art work.
Though the décor varies from place to place, the focus on fitness does not. At each David Barton Gym, members can hit treadmills or lift weights. They can also work up a sweat in group fitness classes, which mix familiar workouts with more unusual offerings. After stretching and strengthening in yoga and Pilates, they can head to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears intensive, after which they'll receive a complimentary vial of the blood, sweat, and tears shed throughout the boot-camp-style sessions.
Drawing on 32 years in the fitness industry, GG "Dynamic Diva" Divinagracia and her team of instructors help sculpt bodies during a broad range of workout classes at the new boutique fitness studio. There's Chisel, a cardio and weight-resistance class focused on building a beach body, and TRX and interval-training classes. For dancers, there's also Hip-Hop, Zumba, Rah! Dance Fusion, and Ultimate Barre. And there's 50 Shades of Boxing, which conditions the full body as students learn to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, and protect their thoraxes.
Family-focused fitness enthusiasts might be interested in Family Bootcamp, P2 (Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy), and Fun Fit Dynamic Duo, which is designed with significant others and spouses in mind. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Single Mingle, a one-hour sweat session where solo athletes can meet each other, work out together, and ogle each others' headbands.
Leslie Maltz is not only a firm believer in taking care of the body; she’s also a passionate believer in taking care of the earth. That's why the seasoned trainer bans treadmills, ellipticals, and other electrically powered equipment from her gym, believing that optimal fitness levels can be achieved through functional, everyday exercises. Drawing from 14 years of personal training, krav maga, and competitive racing experience, Leslie leads a staff of CrossFit instructors, hapkido masters, and fitness specialists who teach a variety of functional training classes throughout the week. Amid kettlebells, ropes, and a climbing wall, the trainers guide clients of all fitness levels in boot-camp exercises, dance-infused workouts, and martial-arts movements. They also offer therapeutic massage treatments and nutritional-counseling services, where experts teach healthful eating habits in lieu of ineffective methods such as fad diets or the practice of insulting your refrigerator until it locks you out.
With a name taken from the Arabic word for "rhythm," Studio Iqaat is driven by a single goal: introducing others to the musical drum culture of North Africa and the Middle East. On the studio's stage, a team of adept instructors lead small groups in classes for traditional drums such as the doumbek, riqq, or tar. Classes may focus on a range of genres—such as Turkish traditional or Arabic pop—but all progress from basic rhythms to more advanced techniques, such as drumming only with the power of your mind. In each class, a regimen of exercises prepares students to accompany dancers. On the other side of the coin, a dance floor welcomes students to practice moving to those rhythms in belly-dancing classes. Studio Iqaat's operations aren't limited to classes, however; the center also operates as a performance and recital space, provides instrument rentals, and serves as a venue for parties and photo shoots.
At the Aerobics Room, exercisers of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels gather to work out in a variety of ways. Trainer Dawn Strozier leads classes in Zumba, a Latin-inspired "fitness party;" body pump, Crossfit, abs, buns, and thighs classes unfold elements of various martial arts into each routine, and kickboxing, which folds elements of various martial arts into each routine. Additionally, the class schedule includes specialty classes such as Kids Zumba and Senior Fitness, plus classic fitness options including boot camp and yoga. There's at least one class—usually three or four—six days a week, except for Sunday when the earth closes its single giant eyelid to rest up for the workweek.