With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The minute someone joins Lady Fitness, the staff wants them to know that everyone is in it together—they're here to help each individual member reach her goals. New clients immediately get a comprehensive fitness evaluation, then a trainer leads them on a tour of the gym, recommending the best programs along the way depending on one's needs. That partnership doesn’t end there—once you've signed up for a program, the staff can help you track your progress, and you're allowed to come back to the staff after 16 weeks to reevaluate.
Members have access to Lady Fitness’s cardio center and weight machines, which are designed especially for women’s bodies. Instructors also lead group fitness classes including yoga and sculpting. During Zumba, everyone gets moving to the tune of a Latin-inspired dance-party workout, and kickboxing students can pummel real punching bags instead of backpacks filled with packing peanuts. There are also childcare facilities onsite––including options for free daycare––and all of Lady Fitness’s locations offer fun kids' fitness classes to help young ones learn the importance of staying active early on.
Husband-and-wife team Damon and Priscilla Stewart have turned their 6,000-square-foot gym into a veritable fitness factory, so much so that they're in the process of expanding to 11,000-square-feet. With the help of a smattering of barbells, Damon's nearly 5,000 hours teaching CrossFit, and constantly changing daily workouts, the duo churns out more chiseled bodies than the assembly lines that manufactured Michelangelo's sculptures. Along for the ride are coaches with résumés that cover everything from college sports, multiple marathons and triathlons, and careers in law enforcement.
At CrossFitRace, small groups gather throughout the week to shed calories during sessions of CrossFit. CrossFit workouts challenge participants of all ages and skill levels with constantly varied, functional movements executed with a high level of intensity. The facility's accomplished instructors emphasize good form and technique during classes, each of which focuses on a Workout of the Day—or WOD—as posted on CrossFit.com.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let the Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling.
For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
Rooted in the fundamentals of CrossFit, Xcel Fitness's programs aim to push participants with challenging, dynamic workouts. They introduce beginners to the workout in CrossFit Fundamentals classes and provide easily scalable sessions for those more experienced. But just because Xcel focuses on the power of CrossFit, it doesn't mean they forgo variety. The gym also offers classes in spin, yoga, and mixed-martial-arts training, allowing them to provide something for everyone—they even offer classes for kids.