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.
Sport Fit's gold membership grants aspiring athletes and established exercisers 30 consecutive days of calisthenics, including unfettered access to fitness centers and motivational group-exercise classes. Sport Fit's Bowie location boasts basketball and tennis courts, as well as a variety of indoor pools for swimming laps, alleviating aches, and trying to find Nemo. Bowie's group-exercise schedule is brimming with brawn-boosting group classes, including Pump Fit, Zumba, and 2K Knockout Fitness. For restless gym-goers, the Laurel Fitness and Swim and the Laurel Racquet club offer two separate locations from which to lift weights, labor over lay-ups, or lounge in a whirlpool or sauna. Athletic endeavors abound at Sport Fit in Severna, where a long list of weekly workouts displays a wealth of ways to maximize musculature and tone tendons.
No Excuse Workout is a full-service health and fitness club that provides a motivating and friendly gym atmosphere, as well as up-to-date equipment and classes. At this functional space, gym-goers can run on treadmills, climb up Stair Masters, and lift free weights before punching away stress at the onsite boxing ring. Five personal trainers help clients get customized and tangible results, and there's plenty of free group classes taught in the studio. The teachers help students dance away calories in upbeat Zumba classes, or try circuit training or yoga—there's even a belly dancing class. The gym further demonstrates its ability to accommodate diverse guests with a relaxing onsite sauna, plenty of resistance-training equipment and tanning beds, and a pro shop. Here, patrons can buy exercise equipment and nutritional supplements—which, if bought in large enough quantities, can be lifted just like dumbbells for strength training.
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 old–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.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.