With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your 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.
An expansive all-crochet site, Maggie's Crochet helps yarn wielders hone their craft by stocking more than 4,000 patterns and 100 instructional videos, as well as supplies from distributors worldwide. Harness the warmth-providing power of afghans with the instructional book of patterns called Take-Along Afghans ($7.95), or stock up on a spectrum of colorful yarns from Twinkle Yarn ($2.59 each). Crocheters can prevent pots from calling potholders black by creating a vibrant, vintage floral potholder ($7.99). A crocheted tea set ($7.99) won't break when ill-mannered guests claim a seat on the tea tray.
Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of Anytime Fitness’s three-month membership ($249), which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to make them fit enough to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. A free fitness orientation, offered to each new member, helps determine an optimal fat-frying and muscle-mass-magnifying program, and a personal-training session ($75) helps self-sculptors attain results. This deal also includes a hydro massage ($10) and a tan ($10) to paint new, ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze.
The team at 4Ever Fitness believes there are four main elements of fitness: active stretching, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and balanced nutrition. To help their members succeed in these steps, they have dedicated spaces for each of those elements, and they stay open 24/7 so that workouts can fit into any schedule. The cardio area entertains exercisers with flat-screen LCD televisions playing multiple channels, all dialed in to different FM radio stations and tin cans tied to neighboring houses. Both the circuit-training and strength-training areas host a variety of Hammer Strength and Life Fitness machines for independent workouts. The staff stocks the stretching area with floor mats, instructional guides, and exercise balls to help members limber up before and after workouts.
The staff also maintains a separate Pro-Fit Area, where exclusive members have private access to a freshly set and cleaned spread of equipment. At least one trainer is always on hand during staffed hours to spot-check gold members' exercise technique and offer workout advice. Personal trainers also craft customized fitness programs to meet the goals of any client, whether they just want to lose a few pounds or they're starting a new life as a Paul Bunyan–impersonator.
At Hot Yoga Largo, sweltering hot classrooms spark a rejuvenating release for muscles. Sweat and trapped toxins expel out of the body’s pores as instructors link static yoga poses into an up-tempo tapestry of movement. Students can also venture outside of the studio for energizing classes held on the beach, sliding through poses as the sun peeks its head over the water.
Get Fitness’s massive open-gym layout might look intimidating at first glance, with its rows upon rows of treadmills, ellipticals, and weight-training machines. But here, the different zones are clearly marked on the wall to ease navigation, and the warm staff is always circulating to dole out workout advice. In addition to manning the equipment, they helm group sweat sessions, leading fitness classes including Zumba, yoga, and kickboxing in the gleaming studio. They take workouts to the streets in their boot-camp style SPF 60 program, meeting students at area parks to whip them into shape via plyometric sets, matches of tug-of-war, and TRX training sessions.
During their personal-training sessions, trainers push patrons toward their fitness and weight-loss goals with a fully customized regimen, while helping them check off Life Fitness and Hammer Strength machines in their National Audubon Society Field Guides to American Gym Equipment manuals. The dedicated trainers can be accessed 24/7 via the online program, which helps guests calculate calorie intake, develop healthy meal plans, and further customize their workout routines.