Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's Gym members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Tongues of flame twist in a fireplace, hinting at the warmth filling the bustling kitchen at MK Valencia. Rail lighting spills a blue aura over dishes that draw from myriad culinary traditions. Mediterranean flavors shine through in salmon drizzled in a pesto sauce and lamb osso bucco. In the dining room, glasses clink occasionally like a xylophonist failing a performance review, setting a tempo for the wait staff, which totes roasted salmon in a pesto sauce.
A curtain of bubbles rises up through champagne cocktails in lively colors that match the crescent-shaped orange booths or electric-blue wine racks. During warmer months, the murmur of conversation spills out onto a patio draped with live plants.
A lot of people like to have a one-on-one with a trainer before embarking on a new fitness regimen. But at First Class Fitness, visitors have the option of meeting with a veteran exercise physiologist, who will issue a fitness evaluation and a comprehensive health screening in order to draft a unique, custom-tailored training program. What follows in the cozy, earth-toned gym might vary from person to person: instructors hold boot camp and circuit classes, and personal trainers provide focused attention to help clients reach specific goals. Other guests might opt to work out independently by lifting weights in the carpeted equipment room or by taping toy cars to their feet and gliding on the hardwood floor of the stretching studio. The one thing that is consistent, however, is the inviting atmosphere, which welcomes guests of all ages and from all walks of life.
What began in 1975 as one inner-city gym in Highland Park, Michigan, has since evolved into a global health-club organization with locations in 17 different countries. Powerhouse Gym equips weightlifters and cardio bunnies alike with all they’ll ever need to keep—or create—a tight and toned physique. The gym offers equipment outfitted with personal TVs as well as a cast of certified and knowledgeable personal trainers. Depending on location, members will also have access to group fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills BodyPump, as well as 24-7 turnkey access to the facility.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary dancer himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.