Planet Fitness' massive, brightly colored edifice teems with aerobic, strength-training, tanning, and massage options, tailored to suit burgeoning buffs of all ages and abilities. A full range of cardio equipment is complemented by an elite team of fitness trainers, whose services are available to members without charge. After an intense muscle-pummeling on the extensive selection of strength-training equipment and free weights, valiant athletes and masochistic vampires alike may bask in the unlimited artificial sunshine of the gym's tanning booths. Meanwhile, an army of shiatsu massage chairs stands at the ready, twiddling soothing robot thumbs and waiting to coax tension from tired tendons.
Inside the Synergy Tea Room, students can sip herbal brews amid books and calming music in preparation for a challenging or soothing yoga class. As a session begins, they step into the soundproof studio to unfurl their mats on the carpet. The instructor surveys the class—counting no more than 12 heads at a time—and flexes into the first pose, ensuring that between words and demonstration, everyone in class can follow along.
This soothing and gradual progression into yoga practice is a common sight at Synergy Yoga Studio, a Yoga Alliance–registered school and affiliate of the Himalayan Institute. Here, beginners and advanced yogis alike stretch in an atmosphere that eschews competition as much as it welcomes healing energy. Most of the classes are taught in the Hatha yoga style, blending postures with breath work to relax students. During lessons and workshops, the staff emphasizes the value of yoga tenets for holistic wellness—a goal that also informs the treatments of onsite massage and Healing Touch therapists.
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 aged 4 months to 12 years 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.
During the day or night, on a holiday or a plain old Tuesday, Anytime Fitness is always open. Once they register, members get a key to the gym’s secured entryway, which means they have 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year access to any of the club’s nearly 1,800 locations all over the globe. Personal trainers staff each location, where they lead customized one-on-one training sessions or provide quick and simple tips for using the gym’s high-quality cardio and strength-training equipment. The roster of group classes includes kickboxing and boot camp to whip bodies into shape in a fun and supportive environment. After a sweat session, members can head to the locker room for a shower or catch up on their stories on one of the treadmills equipped with a personal TV. Exercisers can also accentuate their hard-earned musculature with a tanning session or two, since access to beds is either added onto their membership for an additional fee or billed on a pay-per-use basis.