The sound of clanging metal emanates from a factory-like structure flanked by asphalt and trees. This plant doesn't manufacture station wagons or wrought-iron fences. Here, certified CrossFit coaches transform exercisers into athletes with barbells and sledgehammers. Classes revolve around functional workouts, which teem with strength-training moves inspired by Olympic weightlifters and gymnasts. In addition to building lean muscle mass with dumbbells and pull-ups, participants torch calories and cultivate stamina with cardio challenges such as rowing and sprinting. During On Ramp classes, instructors show newcomers how to exercise safely, whether they're wielding a heavy weight or jumping rope with a sleeping boa constrictor. The exercises can be scaled to different levels of fitness, allowing beginners and accomplished athletes to work out side by side.
Made up of wooden footbridges, ziplines, and demanding rope courses, each of the 5 aerial trails at The Adventure Park at Storrs winds higher and higher above the forest floor. The color-coded pathways were built with climbers of all skill levels in mind, ranging from low-to-the-ground beginners' courses to the more advanced skyward trajectories. Safety orientations precede every climb, upon which participants embark while strapped into a climbing system that always remains securely connected to a safety line. The park strives to keep its surrounding forest and trees healthy by making sure light, air, and moisture flow freely along each trail.
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.