Trained instructors get little hearts pumping with gymnastics, karate, and dance classes geared toward children. Classes for parents and their children as young as 4 months work on developing gross motor skills, socialization, and problem-solving abilities. The gym also hosts a Parents’ Survival Night, which allows parents to kick back with a meal or movie while staff tends to their kids with games and music-filled activities such as freeze dance or headbanging competitions.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months to 12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
The Matrix Gym sports an 8,000-square-foot facility, a staff of knowledgeable athletes, and monitored 24-hour access to assist exercisers of all ages and abilities, day or night. Equipped with the latest heart-strengthening, muscle-toning machines from popular brands such as LifeFitness, Hammerstrength, and Cybex, this extensive fitness center bears everything one needs to lose weight, strengthen the core, and avoid bench pressing the cat for 30 days. Runners and walkers will enjoy cardio machines equipped with individual cable TV tops, USB ports, and iPod jacks for access to entertainment, downloadable workout summaries, and adrenaline pumping playlists of Celtic sea shanties, while group fitness classes provide motivation in the form of fun, energetic camaraderie. Although not included in this Groupon, The Matrix Gym also offers PlayCare for children under the age of 13 (a $20 fee) to relieve parents of offspring surveillance duties long enough to work up a healthy swelter.
Though Shining Light Gymnastics offers more than just its namesake sport, gymnastics is this gym's bread and butter. An impressive staff has lead students into state, regional, and national champions in gymnastics, power tumbling, and rhythmic gymnastics. Demonstrating that it's never too early to get kids into fitness, the gym offers a special parent-and-child class that sees 12- to 36-month old tots spinning on bars and jumping around with the help of their parents. Kids as young as 2 take the mat themselves while learning the basics of tumbling and walking on the balance beams. As students progress through class levels, their routines become more difficult and their uniforms sprout more sequins. In addition to classes, the gym hosts birthday parties and activity-filled summer camps.
For a class project while in the MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Boog Potter, Bill Asp, and Mike Martinez came up with an idea for a youth gymnastics gym. Their idea ultimately spawned Premier Athletics in 1994. Since then, the facility's supportive and experienced staff has been teaching cheerleading, tumbling, and pompom communication to youngsters. The gym has also expanded its concentration to include dance and gymnastics.
In his tae kwon do classes, former world welterweight kickboxing champion Eric Melton covers techniques from basic stances and blocks to black-belt sparring. In another room, members of the competitive gymnastics team hone their flips and flexibility in year-round preparation for bouts against rival gyms. The competitive streak continues on in the cheerleading team, with whom decorated cheer directors harness national-title experience to perfect the squad's choreography and teamwork.
Along with classes with a competitive bent, the Mpact staff hosts sessions for kids who just want to try out new activities and have fun such a Nerf Wars where kids engage in friendly nerf football battles or open gym sessions. A parent-and-child gymnastics class introduces youngsters to obstacle courses and trampolines, and extreme tumbling's foam pits and padded mats train students of all skill levels to jump and flip more fearlessly than a blindfolded dolphin in a shark tank. For performing pupils, Mpact also teaches aerial-acrobatics classes and Demo Team programs, where kids learn how to deftly handle martial-arts weapons, including nunchaku and staffs.