Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
Niki Gauthier has always loved fitness. Some of her earliest memories include watching her mom exercise at home and wishing she could escape from the gym's childcare center to join the grown-ups who were working out. And as a mother of two who lost 50lbs after each child, she knows what it takes to lose weight and tone up. Today, she tailors her boot-camp classes to be more than just a fitness class. One that helps women achieve their fitness goals, whether they'd like to lose weight, tone up, or look more like their favorite marble statue. Trainers work to provide a complete personal fitness programs and keep their students accountable for showing up to class and putting in a good workout, and they offer exercise modifications that help customize the workouts to every ability level. Classes develop camaraderie among participants as they encourage each other through varied exercises, whether they're swinging kettlebells, practicing kickboxing motions, running a mile, or cooling down with yoga poses. Regular body assessments help students see their results, and the trainers bolster the workouts with continual nutrition education.
The experienced instructors at Hot Yoga Plus see yoga as a vehicle for healing, peace, and mindfulness for their students. They also understand that people do yoga for all manner of reasons, be it to lose weight, tone the body, or improve flexibility. And so while hot yoga is naturally the specialty here, the studio embraces yoga of every style and temperature. In hot yoga, the muscles can stretch further, and it’s possible to sweat out toxins; instructors can also offer precise adjustments for more advanced students. You can also join a Vinyasa flow class, a less intensive course that helps improve balance and one’s heart rate in a less kiln-like environment.