Bolton Ice Palace ditches the red carpet in favor of a sprawling, 200’x85’ rink that has sent New England skaters twirling across its surface for the past four decades. Typically open seven days per week for public sessions, the facility luxuriates each visit with modern amenities, including four locker rooms, a full-service vending room, and an onsite pro shop. Youth and men’s hockey leagues consistently rub elbows with the boards, and learn-to-skate programs—designed by U.S. Figure Skating—help pintsize and full-size gliders alike become comfortable atop their blades. Customers can also rent out the Palace, turning it into a private event space to host birthdays, work functions, or to more accurately pinpoint the location of the zamboni operator’s forlorn howls.
Equipment: Top Ten, Macho, Century, Top Pro
Students should bring: Uniform, sparring gear, water bottle, and a towel
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.
Muvement is as much a gym as it is a physical-fitness lab. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Michael Houle and Jill Houle, who holds a BS in nutritional science, team up to invest clients with practical workout regimens and an intimate knowledge of how the body works on a physiological level. Before new clients lift their first weight at the studio, a personal trainer consults with them about their exercise and health history and runs physical assessments and lab tests to identify potential obstacles related to the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems. Next, Jill draws on her background as a professional nutritionist to recommend a diet suited to the client’s unique metabolism, and explains how the body breaks down calories and nutrients. Even their fitness regimens take a holistic approach. Whether in group or personal-training sessions, functional movements using resistance bands, TRX suspension, and kettlebells incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints into each exercise, building a physique more balanced than two eggs riding a seesaw during the spring equinox.
Court House Fitness & Wellness boasts more than 40,000 square feet of conditioning facilities and equipment, as well as an array of tailored wellness programs, supplying gym-goers with a direct conduit to a healthy lifestyle. A sprawling floor of free weights, cardio equipment, and strength machines allows visitors to fly solo. Group fitness instructors lead more than 110 classes a week, including the Latin calorie conquistador Zumba and mind-body benders yoga and Pilates. Basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts sing their competitive siren songs to athletic passers-by, and an 86-degree pool hosts an array of rousingly submersible activities. During the four one-on-one personal-training sessions, certified muscle-molders develop an exercise routine, teach proper form, and push clients to succeed at their fitness goals. The gym keeps the same hours of operation for every day on the Gregorian and Mischievous Kitten calendars.
The first Funny Bone location opened in 1982 and has spread infectious laughter ever since. Established stars such as Drew Carey and Jerry Seinfeld have graced the clubs’ stages, as well as up-and-coming talents with fresh faces, fresh routines, and that fresh pine scent. The venue also plays host to a full-service bar, where patrons may steep their sorrows in calming brews, then ingest them triumphantly.