Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.
Located in downtown Culver City, Goda Yoga empowers patrons of all ability levels and ages to increase their physical and mental strength while nurturing their inner serenity. The passionate instructors introduce newcomers to the foundational poses in beginning classes, preparing them for more rigorous undertakings such as Vinyasa-flow and mixed-level classes that challenge bodies with longer holds and more complex postures. Students interested in honing their passion into a career can embark on Goda Yoga’s 200-hour teacher-training program, which equips them with a deeper understanding of their practice and an all-access VIP pass to enlightenment. From prenatal yoga to kids' yoga to senior yoga, the instructors lead classes to suit myriad needs based on the hatha principles while fostering a strong sense of community that has been steadily growing for 13 years.
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.
Sweat Pilates prides itself on not being a typical gym. Case in point: one of its classes involves doing cardio workouts while bouncing on a trampoline. That's just one of several classes customers can engage in to shake-up their typical workout. 75-minute CoreStretch classes combine deep stretching with Thai yoga and Pilates, allowing students to concentrate on breath work and body awareness, while the signature Sweat Pilates sessions utilize Proformer machines, which allow students to better target muscles, improve flexibility, and climb on someone else's furniture without reproof. But no matter which class students choose, Sweat Pilates is dedicated to making sure they have fun in a positive environment.
Lifelong yogi Jörgen Christiansson taps his 20 years of teaching experience and techniques he learned while traveling the Indian subcontinent as he leads a staff of dedicated instructors in guiding students in their Ashtanga yoga practice. With guided sessions typically scheduled in the evenings to accommodate busy workdays and blinding solar flares, beginners can either learn the style's powerful postures with guided Ashtanga sessions that foster the flexibility, stamina, and familiarity needed to advance, or master the mindful breathing exercises of the cascading Vinyasa-flow classes.