At Metroflex Gym Midcities, you can grunt through your last bicep curl and slam that dumbbell to the floor in triumph—and no one will chastise you for the resounding thud. The husband-and-wife team behind the MidCities franchise opened the gym after they became tired of the rules, lack of loud music, and outright napping that they found at most corporate gyms. Today, they run the kind of gym they feel comfortable in, where high-energy music motivates workouts and members sweat it out in non-climate-controlled rooms. Exercisers can get toned with traditional fitness machines and free weights, or join in on cross-training and boxing classes that build muscle and general athleticism throughout the whole body.
As they enter the training circle 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.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 months) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Born in the late 1930s, Sri Dharma Mittra studied the eight branches of yoga under guru Sri Swami Kailashananda, the man largely responsible for introducing the healing practice of yoga to the Western world. Through years of selfless teaching, and focus on building a community of healthy, spiritually-centered yoga practitioners, Dharma Mittra developed a devoted following of students throughout the United States.
Arlington Yoga Center's instructors stay true to the yogi?s teachings by welcoming pupils into an oasis of soothing pastel-colored walls and an airy practice space, guiding students through a roster of classes for all skill levels. A quick perusal of the studio's schedule yields ample opportunities for rejuvenation in a variety of sessions, including the restorative sequences of Gentle Dharma, which invigorates minds and bodies alike with gentler, less demanding poses. Targeting the muscles that support the spine, Dharma 1 and 2 sessions incorporate the eight limbs and 40 phalanges of the style's philosophy into a series of asanas that promotes stamina, graceful flexibility, and the ability to imitate a statue. More advanced classes bump up the thermostat to 80 degrees in order to ensure a more invigorating workout with deeper stretches. As a precursor to attending yoga classes, Arlington Yoga Center requires all new students to fill out a waiver and leave their pet howler monkeys at home.
The playing field is level and accented in aqua at LOA Fitness for Women, where health is a community endeavor. The gym houses special strength-training equipment with 5-pound pin-adjusted weights that, by virtue of being lighter, prevent injury and foster healthy muscle development. On-site babysitting services and an all-female crew of personal trainers similarly break down physical, practical, and emotional barriers to women's well-being. Eleven types of group movement classes, including Zumba and Pilates, re-enforce the feeling of sweat-bonded camaraderie that permeates the ranks of treadmills and bikes, and nutrition counselors equip women with the skills to make healthy choices at home.
LOA Fitness also offers team training, which incorporate equipment such as kettle bells, balls, and sandbags, and group fitness classes, which include kickboxing, yoga-lates, Zumba, and much more. During automated spa treatments, women step into tranquil chambers that rejuvenate muscles and skin.
At Absolute Boxing & Personal Training for Women, personal trainers with vast martial-arts experience, including UFC manager Francois Nguyen, help men, women, and children of all skill levels get into fine fighting form. The team combines the fundamentals of boxing and kickboxing into heart-thumping sessions capable of incinerating calories, toning muscles, and arming students with the self-defense techniques necessary to ward off bullies. Personal trainers expand upon fight-based conditioning with yoga instruction, massage therapy, and a promise to hold clients accountable for the goals they set, such as running 10 miles or high-fiving 10 strangers each day.