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.
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.
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.
At Final Results Fitness, patrons tone torsos in small-group classes led by skilled trainers utilizing close individualized attention and unconventional equipment. In one of four gym studios, a kettlebell trainer steels groups of 6–10 students, who hoist round weights in exercises that build strength and stamina and ready students for high-octane handbell recitals. In outdoor boot camp sessions, instructors drill bodies with pushups, jumping jacks, mountain climbs, and half-mile runs. Nimble feet jump on and over plyometric boxes while tenacious arms pull ropes and spar with sentient monster trucks. After air-horning metabolisms awaken in the 30-minute kettlebell or boot camp classes, nutrient-needy bodies can recover at the Juice Joint, where staff members concoct smoothies made with 100% crushed fruit and no added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup.
Equipment: Rogue Pull up Rig, Rogue Bars/Bumpers, Dynamax Med Balls, C2 Rowers
Students should bring: Proper athletic apparel, and Water
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5?10 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Come with an open mind, the desire to learn, and remember to have fun.
Michael Barbato knows what it's like to battle his own body. He'd started to put on the pounds when, one day, the sight of himself in a dressing-room mirror made him realize he needed to change his lifestyle. He started heading to the gym and settled into a workout routine, but it wasn't working. When he discovered working out with Russian kettlebells, he slimmed down and his outlook changed. Not only were his workouts never the same, but he was also determined to share the unique form of weight training with others.
Today, he and his fellow Russian Kettlebell Challenge–certified instructors encourage students to push themselves in group fitness classes as they swing and lift the rounded weights by their handles. Their services also include one-on-one and small-group training sessions. In whatever type of training he’s leading, Michael strives to create an atmosphere free of intimidation, where everyone feels encouraged to keep moving toward the spoils of both mental and physical changes.