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.
Drawing on lessons learned in her past life as a professional dancer, Zumba with Tasha instructor Latasha Whitmore keeps bodies moving and fat burning during her dance-infused fitness classes. Devised by choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez, Zumba rockets pulse rates skyward with Latin-inspired rhythms and music that will have students dropping pounds and old fitness routines with equal élan. Because Zumba is fun and easy to follow, it makes a challenging cardio workout for fitness fledglings of all shapes and sizes, helping newbies whittle their waists and aerobic die-hards blast out of their fat-burning rut with the exotic energy of robo-Charo. Consult Latasha's Zumba schedule for time and location information prior to making mambo merriment.
In 1975, MaxOut’s founder, Dr. Michael Mac Millan, began a study of muscle development that culminated in the invention of his proprietary MaxOut tower. Designed to increase weight training’s effectiveness, the system became the basis of the gym's trademark 60-minute, once-a-week workout. According to Mike Barwis—MaxOut’s head strength and conditioning trainer and a veteran college coach—the tower “allows us to put our bodies under stress safely … which can in turn increase our results in a short period of time.”
This dedication to achieving a measurable outcome is reflected in every aspect of MaxOut’s workout facility. Here, clients heft specially designed weights in the state-of-the-art strength studio or practice yoga, spinning, or Zumba during group fitness classes. Small-group and personal-training programs offer more individualized attention and motivation. Sprinter Matt Crowell teaches a specialty speed-training regimen, building athletes’ quickness with high-speed treadmills instead of migratory winged sneakers.
Going against convention, the staff of Skydive Collegeville prioritize first-time jumpers over established divers. That's because their main focus is giving novices the best possible introduction to the sport, providing a laid-back atmosphere free from pressure or intimidation. During introductory lessons, their male and female certified tandem instructors walk clients through the basics of their jump on land before taking to the sky. Once they're harnessed into their parachute, the student and teacher duo both leap out of a plane for an exhilarating tandem free-fall, achieving speeds of up to 120 mph before leisurely drifting back to earth over suburban Collegeville. Guests can also request a record of their descent, which can be filmed with a camera on the instructor's wrist or captured by a videographer who skydives while simultaneously sitting in a director's chair.
Whether on the carpeted and hardwood floors of his gym or on the grass of a local park, Mark Slater emphasizes the fun side of exercise. Drawing from past positions as the former strength and conditioning coach at Lock Haven University and personal training director at LA Fitness, he designs personalized workout regimens for individuals and groups. His fitness programs range from high-intensity interval training and flexibility-enhancing workouts to nutrition coaching and physical therapy. One of his core programs, though, is a weekly boot camp at Fenimore Park. Here, training circuits challenge participants to do crunches on the grass, haul power ropes, and spar with the park's scarecrow.
Jennifer Anello, BodyRide?s owner, is a certified spin instructor?and while BodyRide is a boutique spinning gym, Jennifer?s love for dance still shines through in her classes. During workouts, the pulse of music surrounds clients while they spin within a dark studio and let the ambiance lead them on the mental journey of their ride. Her workouts blend pedaling with her signature upper body moves such as lifting weights, pushups, and crunches so that, like dancing, her classes tone the full body.
These BodyRide classes, for which her studio is named, are just one of the many available spinning class styles. Other variations focus on intense calorie burning.