Though now spread over the United States, Crunch gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment and not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty years later, Crunch gyms' fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.
Be prepared to do pull-ups, push-ups, dead lifts, and other functional exercises at CrossFit Semtex, since, as the name suggests, the facility's trainers adhere to CrossFit's regularly-changing workouts. During each daily workout, exercisers are given a series of functional exercises and encouraged to complete them as intensely as they can. Due to the workouts' functional nature, they can be scaled for nearly any fitness level, and due to their penchant for change, they can help exercisers overcome nearly any fitness plateau that doesn't involve being locked in an ice cream factory.
Athletic Factor Gym & Fitness Center's 20,000-square foot interior is a fitness-fanatic's paradise. Here, visitors can leisurely pump free weights or climb aboard the expanse of professional cardio machines. Meanwhile, ample studio space hosts martial arts classes, still leaving enough room for guests to exercise with their personal trainer. Between sweat sessions, visitors can replenish electrolytes or power up with protein smoothies at the juice bar, which is stocked with an array of shakes, energy drinks, and healthy snacks.
CrossFit, Rogue, Advocare, Kill Cliff
Students should bring: Bottle of Water and Towel
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5?10 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking garage
Pro Tip: Arrive 15 minutes before class.
Most gyms strive to tone their customers. The Training Pit goes one step further. Its instructors try to build entire communities of healthy flexers that extend beyond the gym and into the streets. How they do it is easy?even if the exercise regiment isn't. CrossFit-certified coaches motivate all who enter, from athletes seeking bigger biceps to newbies with no-ceps, in an open, bare-bones atmosphere devoid of fancy machines but well-suited for bonding. During scalable CrossFit-training sessions, students endure running, weightlifting, and gymnastic drills typically designated for Olympic athletes and firemen, creating the chummy feeling that The Training Pit is sharing a secret with them. Adding to that community-building ethos, students share exercise goals together, rather than fight over a pile of meat, to help motivate each other toward success.
Frills equal distractions when it comes to working out. That's according to the certified trainers who own CrossFit Hardcore North, a member of the gym family named the sixth-best in America by The Active Times. That's why none of their classes involve fancy treadmills, designer rubber bands, or high heels. Instead, classes feature trainers such as Dr. Adam Locker leads students through group classes and personal-training sessions, and seasoned coaches who oversee each participant, monitoring progress as they deliver safety tips and words of encouragement.
Gymnastics-inspired bodyweight exercises such as handstands and muscle-ups build lean muscle mass, and plyometrics foster agility and stamina. Many sessions also incorporate running or rowing to raise heart rates and melt calories. In addition to sculpting lean muscle, kettlebell training cultivates flexibility with focused squats and swinging motions. Instructors also instill in their clients the CrossFit style with functional movements that aim to boost strength, power, and coordination.
Workouts take place in warehouses and other spartan spaces that embody a cultivated lack of the bells and whistles that often masquerade as fitness essentials. Here, basic tools such as kettlebells, jump ropes, and weighted sleds get the job done for a wide range of exercisers, from absolute beginners to advanced athletes.