"Tough, but doable." That's how ACE- and AFAA-certified trainer Tara Faye described her teaching style to GoRecess Playground in July 2012, nearly two months after becoming the sole owner of PNT Fitness. There, she and her staff lead high intensity and high energy classes such as Insane Kickbox Camp, Sweat Shop, and A Vicious Cycle, which uses Schwinn stationary bikes. For more communal workouts, they also host a monthly Workout & Wine class that allows exercisers to hang out with their classmates and bench-press barrels of wine after class, a feature that got the class a shout out as one of CBS New York's 6 Best Fitness Classes for a New Year's Resolution. And although PNT Fitness' group classes have received most of the press, the studio also offers personal training that includes nutrition counseling, toning, and agility training as part of a personalized training program.
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.
“Pain is temporary,” said seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. “ … If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” Staying true to this inspirational quote, the instructors at Cycle Revolutions—which features the mantra on its website—maintain that spinning is more than just an aerobic fitness regimen but also an opportunity to push yourself beyond perceived limits. Although they encourage intensity, the coaches strive to create a friendly, motivational environment where participants can cultivate camaraderie without feeling intimidated. To ensure this, they adapt their sessions to fit all fitness levels and allow each rider to control how fast and hard they pedal.
Once class begins, students adjust the settings of their stationary bikes before the instructor at the front of the room leads them through a simulated course with turns, hills, or long straightaways. Depending on the class, teachers may focus on endurance, strength, or power. Sometimes they also incorporate techniques from different forms of exercise, such as yoga, or further motivate students by having them outrun the studio’s stationary bear.
"I am on a quest to create super-humans out of mere mortals,? declares Justin Cotler, owner of Crossfit Dynamix. He doesn?t earn a living by simply painting capital s?s on unitards; instead, he helps athletes soar to new fitness plateaus inside a brick-lined gym filled with medicine balls, heavy ropes, and giant tires.
Backed by a staff of certified CrossFit coaches, he motivates clients to run faster during sprinting drills and add spring to their steps during challenging plyometrics. Olympic lifting moves such as rack jerks and push presses strengthen the upper body more effectively than hoisting one?s boss in the air to celebrate a raise. Bodyweight exercises performed on pull-up bars, gymnastics rings, and floor mats bolster strength, flexibility, and coordination. The workouts can be customized to many ages and fitness levels, including absolute beginners, elite athletes, senior citizens, and school-age children. To help clients melt stress while building long, lean muscles, the gym also offers yoga classes for all skill sets.
Since its founding 15 years ago, Synergy Fitness has advocated for wholesome lifestyle changes through rounded programs and guidance. Rather than setting their members adrift in a sea of befuddling equipment, their nationally certified lifestyle coaches equip them with the planning tools to forge healthy habits both during and beyond workouts. Their advice can cover exercise, nutrition, and endurance, emphasizing the importance of variety in any health regimen. They keep abreast of the abreast of the fitness world's most recent developments with mandatory classes in their areas of specialization—which include diet, yoga, and MMA.
On the gym floor, machines from Hammer Strength and Life Fitness whir along with limbs, and individual television screens on some machines threaten patrons with footage of their grade-school choir solos if they don't keep jogging. Group fitness classes at certain locations take advantage of indoor cycles and boot-camp drills to condition physiques, and MMA programs tutor muay thai, kickboxing, and jujitsu.
K2 Boxing Club's professional and IBF-rated trainers condition their students for healthy lifestyles and help them develop skills for bouts in the squared circle. They help hone fitness or sparring skills during one-on-one training sessions and group fitness classes, including their boot-camp sessions that merge interval and strength training. During fight-based fitness, guests can either jog while arguing with each other about Plato or participate in MMA classes that dive into the grappling strategies used by UFC fighters. The onsite boxing ring hosts sparring matches, during which any student can improve his or her skills against a real opponent rather than shadow boxers or borrowed art-museum sculptures. But it's not just about the physical skills students learn—the club's friendly family atmosphere aims to shoo away the intimidation factor from classes.