Inside Element Fitness, the lime-green walls of the cardio room energize guests dashing away on treadmills as the yoga studio’s crisp white walls and glowing orb lights soothe yogis. The pool room echoes with splashing as guests stretch during pool aerobics classes; the dry sauna nearby remains quiet, letting guests absorb dry heat without listening to the heavy-metal albums played in traditional saunas. Stationary bikes adorn the spinning studio. Meanwhile, in workout studios lined with free weights, personal trainers make use of their professional weightlifting or triathlon experience during one-on-one personal-training sessions or group fitness classes.
A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
For Emily and Sarah Darling, owners of Darling Yoga, helping students experience the present is both an art and a gift. They team up with 16 other seasoned instructors to guide students toward physical wellness and inner peace through the practice of ancient poses and breathing exercises. Emily and other instructors lead classes for all levels, during which stress melts faster than a snowman in a mosh pit. Their sessions range from beginner-friendly Yoga Basics to Vinyasa and Ashtanga routines for intermediate and advanced students. The expert tandem also hosts children's classes during many of the adult sessions, helping young yogis build strength, flexibility, and focus as their parents do the same in the classroom next door.
In one of their studios, natural light flows through large windows, bathing groups in uplifting sunbeams during challenging bends and balances. After class, students can unwind in onsite showers or browse a boutique brimming with yoga mats, props, and apparel.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
At Title Boxing Club, professional boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial artists may lead the classes, but their goal is fitness, not fighting. They push patrons to strengthen their bodies from head to toe during one-hour sessions, instructing them to pummel 100-pound bags with jabs, hooks, and roundhouse kicks. They encourage members to hit the bags as hard or soft as they like and to move at their own pace, so the classes accessible to all fitness levels. During one-on-one training sessions, trainers use custom routines of weightlifting, cardio, and sparring to show students how to float like a butterfly and sting like a venomous butterfly. They also develop custom diet plans and exercise routines to help clients meet their fitness goals.