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.
The team of instructors at International Training Center of New York—which includes a muay thai World Champion and a fourth-degree judo black belt—leads students of all ages in various disciplines of martial arts. Their programs include muay thai, judo, and Brazilian jujitsu, as well as fitness boot camps and martial-arts programs for kids.
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.
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.