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.
A veteran of more than 200 amateur, semi-pro, and professional fights, Endgame Combat Sports Academy's Eddy Rolon knows how to handle himself in the ring, cage, and on the mat. Eddy sets the tone at the academy, where he and other accomplished instructors teach a full schedule of grappling, MMA, and striking classes. Their training facility, located inside Gold's Gym, provides plenty of space for students to learn new moves and stare down mouthy punching bags.
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 equipped with a 75" TV. Inside, the lounge also offers two 60" TVs.
Belly dancer Amira Mor has tapped finger cymbals for Moroccan royalty and shimmied for the prime minister of Jordan. Her moves can be elegant or sensual: she coached Britney Spears through new routines at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and has also choreographed for the New York City Ballet. Her moves have also landed her a role Sex and the City 2 and taken her to Guantanamo Bay, where she led belly dance boot camps for U.S. Marines. ?From the moment Mor begins her dance,? a reporter for the Star-Ledger wrote, ?there?s no doubt who?s in charge.? She wears a fringed bustier spangled with gold, and, for a skirt, slashes of sparkly fabric that whip away from her body as she spins, which she does in a blur of speed.??
At Amira Mor International Entertainment Company, anyone interested in belly dancing can benefit from the award-winning dancer's instruction. With the help of fellow dance instructor Stephanie, she teaches groups some traditional Middle Eastern moves, drawing on modern innovations including flashy hip movements and songs about fax machines. Additionally, Amira is a certified fitness instructor, so she can also help students on quests for sculpted abs.
At Sidekick Martial Arts, all tae kwon do, jujitsu, kettlebell, and cardio-yoga classes are infused with lessons about discipline, self-control, and perseverance. By stressing the importance of these values, an expert staff of martial artists and fitness experts aims to build up students’ self-confidence and turn them into champions. In addition to martial-arts classes for kids and adults, the center offers fitness classes designed to be fast-paced, fun, and aerobically effective.
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.