Heavy bags the size of tree trunks hang from the ceiling of Urban Jungle’s indoor workout room. Along with the pull-up bars that stretch across the space like steely vines, they do the gym’s name justice and make for an effective—if sometimes grueling—workout. Brick walls and a spray-painted logo also contribute to the gym’s urban aesthetic, though students hardly have time to reflect on the decor as they advance through a series of pushups, dips, and pull-ups. The team of trainers designs each fitness program with functional muscle movements in mind, and each of their three-week boot-camp challenges draws on up to 1,000 of those dynamic motions to make every aspect of urban life easier, from sprinting after cabs to lifting them over traffic jams.
Trainers also prepare bodies for self-defense with martial-arts classes that extract the practical fitness elements from weapon- or hand-based fighting disciplines. Three different methods of the Atienza Family System—a Filipino martial art—teach students how to deal with multiple attackers, and cardio-kickboxing classes draw on the principles of muay thai kickboxing to strike fear into calories.
For sensei Julio Rivera, fighting and fitness have always gone hand in hand. After winning a national bodybuilding title at 19, Rivera started to explore martial arts under the guidance of world champion Jack Krystek, eventually earning his black belts in both judo and jiu jitsu. He continues to share that passion for focused fitness at Omni Martial Arts, where he helps his students build muscle and mental focus while maintaining high moral standards. Judo teams master throws, leverage, and body positioning, while MMA classes integrate ground grappling with striking skills to build well-rounded fighters. And whether participants are adults or children, sensei Julio and his fellow instructors ensure they all leave the mat with the poise and strength of a genteel puma.
Located inside Club Fitness New York, Infinity Day Spa evokes Mother Nature’s warm embrace with its sand-colored walls and plentiful decorative foliage, creating a tranquil retreat for those seeking relaxation and beautification. In separate treatment rooms dedicated to different services, guests can leave their stresses behind with the help of massages and essential oils, or achieve their desired shade of bronze in UV tanning booths. The spa’s multitalented beauticians ensure that skin stays soft to the touch with cleansing facials, and doll up hands and feet with manicures, pedicures, and Cabbage Patch clothes. While waiting for their appointments, guests can sit in the elevated spa deck and get a bird’s-eye view of the gym’s happenings.
Life Health & Fitness packs a single floor with endless aisles of strength and cardio equipment complemented by pristine locker facilities and expansive group fitness studios. During 15 different group fitness classes, including Zumba, Pilates, yoga, and indoor cycling, instructors whip bodies into shape in motivating, high-energy settings. Meanwhile, motivating coaches help guests slim physiques or build up muscle bulk during personal-training sessions. After sweating off inches from the waistline, guests can unwind or hone their Smokey Robinson impression in the private showers before drying off by way of locker-room towel service.
Heart and Soul of Yoga’s teachers believe that the most effective yoga practices are tailored to the individual, a goal they seek to achieve by limiting every class to a maximum of six students. Each instructor has put in 500 hours to become certified in ISHTA, a school of yoga that combines physical, energetic, and healing yoga practices to meet a wide range of specific needs. Instructors recommend modified poses for those with injuries and lead prenatal classes that gently guide women through the physical stresses of motherhood. Heart and Soul of Yoga also recognizes yoga's ability to affect the mind and offers workshops that help students reconnect with their chakras or figure out whether they can actually read other people's thoughts.
The family-run Astoria Sports Complex offers batting cages and indoor soccer, and has one of the largest fitness centers around. The facility got its start more than 30 years ago, when owner Steve Poliseno converted an abandoned ice house, purchased at auction, into the gigantic sports complex it is today. The most recent addition to the facility is a gigantic, Olympic-sized swimming pool, where kids can take lessons and prepare to be the Model U.N. delegate from Atlantis.