In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
The coaches at CrossFit Towson are living proof that each WOD—workout of the day—can benefit anyone, regardless of his or her fitness goals. The staff includes a rower, a marathoner, lacrosse players, a football player, and a world-ranked kettlebell lifter, all of whom would perform the same movements if they participated in a class. So, too, would a housewife or a high school student. That's because CrossFit's exercises scale by intensity, not by form. Its weightlifts and cardio drills can be performed by students of all experience levels, and the shared workout—not to mention the instructors non-intimidating approach—can lead to a strong sense of camaraderie. CrossFit Towson schedules standard CrossFit classes in addition to open gym time, when guests can plan their own routines and target weak points such as the one pack on their six-pack that creaks.
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 yoga, 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.
Fitness guru Brandon Chasen, Sr. oversees four CrossFit facilities around the Baltimore area, including the new 6,000 sq. ft. CrossFit 695 facility. There, the team of coaches push exercisers through the functional exercises of CrossFit's intense workout of the day. That functionality paired with the support from the trainers and fellow exercisers make the workouts manageable for nearly anyone, including Batman when he's sick. That said, newcomers are encouraged to take the CrossFit Fundamentals class to learn proper lifting techniques.
The 60,000 square feet of space at South River Fitness is divvied up between cardio and weight-training equipment and classrooms for Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba classes. But the amenities don't stop there--an on-site day care keeps watch over members’ kids and sensitive houseplants during workouts, while an organic smoothie bar refuels guests post-workout.
At MMA & Sport, anyone can turn their bodies into lean, muscular fighting machines under a team of qualified and experienced instructors. Founder Kyle Sefcik is a professional mixed-martial artist as well as a fitness guru and mogul, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu 8th-degree black belt Pedro Sauer honed his craft in his native Brazil under the Gracie family—the originators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and inventors of the delicious knuckle sandwich. Pupils practice hard-hitting self-defense techniques during Krav Maga classes, or build core muscles with Muay Thai kickboxing courses. In addition to learning martial art skills, members can build better bodies with sessions of yoga, fitness bootcamp, and sports conditioning.