When the Richmond Alternative Center for Health first opened its doors in 1968, it was meant to be a space where members could attend to every area of their health and fitness. More than four decades later, the center is still committed to that vision. Much of the staff has been around for 15 years or more, creating a tight-knit, welcoming environment that has many people calling them the Cheers of health clubs.
There's plenty of traditional cardio and strength-training equipment, with TVs and wandering minstrels to keep everyone entertained. The bustling class schedule includes Zumba's Latin-inspired aerobic dance party, various styles of yoga, and Les Mills classes, including the sports-inspired BodyAttack. Students can continue to stretch, relax, and meditate within the dedicated mind-body room or hone mind-ball coordination on the basketball or racquetball courts. Personal trainers help members focus in on their individual goals and commit to making progress.
The staff offers wellness consultations to help members evaluate every area of their health, as well as nutrition counseling that can include anything from meal planning to cooking classes. Massage therapists knead away stress and postworkout soreness, and the heat of the cedar sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi also helps bodies unwind. In the lounge area, free WiFi, newspapers, and magazines wait to be appreciated. And the onsite Healthy Cafe blends up smoothies alongside healthy meals and coffee, which members can enjoy right there or take home to share with health-conscious ghosts.
Shannon, owner of Boho Cycle Studio doesn't like to think of her cycling classes as work. "Your time on the bike is completely yours, with no to-do lists, no distractions, no comparisons," she says. "We ride together, we support each other. It's not work when it feels like play."
During 50-minute classes, patrons grab Schwinn bikes and Shimano shoes before torching calories at their own speed with help from the encouraging instructors. But they should "expect more than a workout," Shannon says. "Expect to leave feeling invigorated and ready to take on any challenge, mental or physical." The classes incorporate techniques standard in spinning classes, but they toss in elements of yoga and a nightclub ambiance.
Inside of Innsbrook boutique studio, TidalWheel's instructors guide participants through constantly changing workout routines atop state-of-the-art cycling equipment. Each 45-minute class combines upbeat music with exercises that burn calories and sculpt physiques. The result is a high-energy cardio and strength-training workout that works the core and upper body.
If you put in 30 minutes of nonstop effort, GRIT class can reshape your body faster than squeezing into the spice cupboard. High-intensity interval training is at the core of each GRIT class, which focuses on strength, plyometrics, or cardio. The intervals trigger optimal calorie burning by pushing bodies to their breaking point in brief spurts of energy. At FLY Fitness Inspiration Studio, GRIT classes are one of the freshest additions to the group fitness schedule. But they're far from the only option. Spinning, barre fitness, TRX suspension training, and Sh'bam (a dance workout) all promise the same energetic environment and quick calorie burning.
On the waters of Lake Anna, it's not unusual to see boats lazily cruising its calm expanse. What is unusual, however, is watching someone rip by on a flying bike. Ayers Extreme Water Sports offers two varieties of such attention-grabbing machines, both powered by pressurized jets of water. While standing atop a Flyboard, riders can shoot into the air, performing flips and spins before diving into the water. The Jetovator flying bike can reach heights of 30 feet and speeds of 25 miles per hour, allowing riders to act out the famous scene from E.T., albeit damper.
Though people come to Brickhouse Cardio Club - Manassas for the heart-pumping workouts, they stay for the irresistible international rhythms. Zumba tends to have that effect, ensnaring exercisers with its Latin choreography and dance-party vibe. The floors at the Manassas club pulse with 14 Zumba sessions every week, with classes for those just learning the steps and for those hoping to focus their steps to increase muscle tone or accommodate mobility needs. Owner Kenni Powell supplements these Zumba sessions with exercise classes that combine her love of dance with proven methods of muscle toning. Her staff teaches everything from the acrobatic moves of capoeira, a Brazilian martial-arts dance, to the Japanese-inspired circuit training of Tabata Abz, helping clients find fun alternative ways of getting fit without picking fights with a cheetah. Brickhouse Cardio Club also offers classes such as Tabata Abz and Les Mills programs such as Bodypump and Bodycombat.
Since its inception, Brickhouse has blossomed into a franchise, expanding into 25 locations, including some in the United Kingdom, where it hopes to supplant aerobic chimney sweeping. No matter the location, each club hosts its signature workouts in pared-down studios that feature the franchise?s familiar electric-blue and neon-green walls surrounding a stage.