From the outside, the fitness facility may look like a barn, but the blue turf floor and mountains of medicine balls inside tell a different story. In the spacious gym, head trainer Neil Barnhill presides over patrons playing games of catch with those medicine balls, lifting barbells, or pulling against resistance on the rowing machine. He leads small classes, providing constant positive reinforcement and motivation, unlike a pet parrot repeating all the things it heard at your roast. The ever-changing series of functional, everyday movements and exercises keep the classes interesting. Goals are customized to each member after an overall fitness assessment that measures BMI, body-fat composition, and weight before training begins. Classes move outside when the weather's nice so fitness enthusiasts can run laps, perform pull-ups, and drag tractor tires over the grass under the open sky.
The gym looks like equal parts Olympic training facility and old warehouse?here, exercisers hoist themselves up rows of pull-up bars, grunt around a collection of kettlebells, and hop through jump-rope routines. On a power-lifting platform, a lifter explodes from a squat, hoisting a plate-loaded bar up to his shoulders and then dropping under it to catch the weight over his head. Elsewhere, athletes do dips on gymnast rings and build a sweat on rowing machines.
This low-tech setting is typical of all true CrossFit gyms. Though the equipment may be basic, the results are not: CrossFit workouts develop all measures of physical fitness?from power to cardiovascular endurance?through workouts that are broad, general, and inclusive. This approach is often described as specializing in not specializing: it develops physical fitness in ways equally beneficial to everyone, from professional mixed martial artists and police officers to weekend softball players.
CrossFit gyms typically start clients in a foundational program where trainers teach the basic movements, such as the squat, dead lift, and pull-up. Every exercise is scalable to a version that clients can complete?a pull-up, for example, can be scaled back to a negative pull-up, a static hang, or body-weight row with gymnast rings. It can also be scaled to a more challenging version, such as the kipped pull-up. After students learn CrossFit's basic movements, they move on to open group classes, which follow the ever-changing WOD, or Workout of the Day. These workouts are short and intense, and they foster camaraderie through frequent team circuits. In addition to supervising WOD class, trainers coach members on nutrition, advocating a caveman-style diet of low-glycemic carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins such as raptor meat.
JoAnne, or ?JoJo,? discovered her love of dance at the age of 5 through ballet, jazz, and gymnastics training. She founded Allure Dance Studio?which she considers to be a women-only club rather than a fitness center?to empower women with confidence while helping them make strides toward healthier lifestyles and toned physiques.
She and her team of instructors, which is made up of gymnasts, professional dancers, and aerial-silks performers, teach women to unleash their inner vixens while carving long and lean muscles with a diverse roster of pole-dance, sultry dance, and inventive fitness classes. Taught amid stage-like lighting and ambiance, gals boost their self-confidence and upper-body strength through seductive spins, choreography, and climbs. To prepare for class, ladies should don a tank top, shorts, and high heels with an ankle strap in lieu of steel-toe boots. Instructors can help clients further hone their skills and overall fitness through customized workouts in one-on-one personal-training sessions and private lessons. Allure Dance Studio captures ladies at their most glamorous with boudoir photography and flirty party packages that teach women to strut their stuff with burlesque moves, classic striptease, belly dancing, and parakeet mating calls.
Inside the no-fluff, no-frills gym, patrons sweat their way through comprehensive group workouts. Adapted from sports including weightlifting, gymnastics, and track, CrossFit's mélange keeps the body constantly working toward change, against which muscles rebel by bulking up or turning into washboards. During each 35-minute class, both men and women build more than just muscle, as multifaceted sessions also focus on endurance, speed, balance, agility, and flexibility.
For a quick leg up on getting fit, the gym's boot-camp classes immerse students in intense, varied workouts designed to burn fat and whittle away inches quickly. Six days a week, instructors might challenge students to rope climbs, sit-ups, sprints, or kettlebell exercises, always incorporating both cardio and strength training to achieve results as quickly as possible. For those new to the gym's programs, boot camps are an ideal way to gain the strength and endurance necessary to succeed in the more intense CrossFit classes.
Fusion Fitness founder Ealiane Joseph isn't looking to be tough on her clients. She views fitness as a means to pursuing a happier, healthier lifestyle, so she approaches each person from a supportive, encouraging frame of mind. She believes strongly in mixing it up, so as to avoid the boredom that comes with too regular of a routine. In that spirit, her gym's offerings include everything from 5K races to personal training sessions and group classes, including aerobics and boot camps.
Winter Garden Yoga’s homey studio welcomes small groups of yogis into the cozy, carpeted space for classes of all fitness levels. Beginner’s yoga introduces newcomers to yoga’s foundational postures as they develop the strength necessary to graduate to more advanced classes such as power yoga or Yoga Flow, which students perform in a rapidly rushing river. Expert instructors lead the classes, drawing from their immense experience with the life-changing power of yoga.
Brian Friedman runs, cycles, and lifts weights to complement his yoga, and his appreciation for other forms of fitness activity informs his ability to tailor yoga to a variety of individual students. Karen Repassy has studied yoga for more than a decade, and emphasizes helping her students incorporate the meditative aspects of the ancient art into their daily lives. Taylor Nelms, the third pillar of Winter Garden Yoga, specializes in flow yoga, and she makes it her task to help all her clients smile, like the stockbroker who tells a knock-knock joke with each trade.