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.
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.