When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first of their gyms in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders' original vision, each location's employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities. In addition to personal training, instructors lead a schedule of more than 400 group fitness classes?including cycling, Kardio Kick, and Zumba?offered each week across their eight locations. At the clubs, trainers also help guests master CrossFit functional equipment and use TRX suspension training systems to help them connect with their vine-savvy pet orangutans.
Snap Fitness's easyFIT monitor is a small, clip-on accelerometer that helps keep track of daily exercise. Unlike pedometers that merely measure steps and spy on daydreams, the easyFIT monitor senses the intensity and duration of physical activity, transmogrifying those stats into simple, numerical points that help assess activity levels from sedentary to peak performance. In addition to tracking exercise in real time, easyFIT monitors can connect to the wearer's personal web portal to upload data and create fitness graphs that help show progress, snag exercise suggestions, and stave off the temptation of living next to a hamburger farm. Watch a video about the easyFit here.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottle to create resistance that matches 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.
Fitness 19's founders launched their first family-oriented gyms in 2003, hoping to splash the exercising experience with local flavor and familiarity. Life Fitness cardio machines—including treadmills and ellipticals—unite with strength-training machines and free weights to help members to build leaner physiques as certified personal trainers patrol the deep-red-carpeted workout area. The expert staff can also guide clients through yoga, martial arts, and weight loss–centric personal-training sessions. Every location also hosts a kids' room, where youngsters can craft macaroni kettlebells under the supervision of a full-time staff member.
At Pole Play Dance Studio, students flip, twirl, and slide along poles as they learn the cardio-boosting and sensual art of pole dancing. A succession of classes cover topics ranging from stretch techniques and strength training to 1960s-style go-go dancing and incorporating hula hoops. The studio also hosts regular themed workshops and bachelorette parties, in which the bride and her friends learn to perform a group dance on multiple poles in case they're ever bored and stranded in a bamboo forest.
Lauded by Buffalo Spree as the best yoga of Western New York, Shakti Yoga instructor Michelle Gigante teaches students to achieve balance, strength, and flexibility through strategic postures in her revamped 3,000-square foot studio. Specializing in Vinyasa flow, Gigante emphasizes the importance of breathing rhythm and downplays the rumors of yoga's popularity with yetis. Vinyasa synchronizes breathing and stretching postures to create a fluid, continuous yoga experience without resorting to recursive time anomalies. Drop-in style classes are held in a high-ceilinged studio on heated floors at many convenient times throughout the week. Shakti also offers meditation, chanting, dance with live drumming, and live music events.