Attracting the ringside cheers of NBC's Today show, as well as the 2011, 2012, and 2013 CityVoter title of Best Gym in Boston, The Ring Boxing Club's boxers eschew the monotony of standard fitness routines in favor of the strategy and concentration of boxing. These accomplished boxing coaches—of them, a Golden Gloves winner, a former U.S. Army Green Beret, and an incredibly dynamic former Super Middleweight once ranked sixth in the world—tutor students of all ages and fitness levels through what the Boston Herald describes as an "all encompassing workout that improves fitness and coordination and builds strength." They motivate clients to embrace the confidence that blossoms in the ring as they elegantly dance with an opponent or punching bag, engraining hooks and uppercuts into muscle memory. Amid the gym's boxing memorabilia and posters, they teach more than 60 classes a week, leading a 12-round boxing workout that marries a professional boxer's workout with a montage of fitness drills. They also teach the pugilist's basic footwork, punches, and blocks, which they streamline with strength training, theory, and proper form.
Of the 27 varsity teams that comprise the Holy Cross Crusaders, five have been competing at the college level for more than a century. During that time, the men's basketball and baseball teams have taken home NCAA championships, while the football squad has been a mainstay in the Patriot League for more than 20 years. Boasting a 98% graduation rate among all student-athletes, the Crusaders keep fans and students engaged with a variety of sports, as teams in everything from ice hockey to lacrosse try to topple the Division I headquarters' wall of impenetrable brackets.
Open seven days a week, the Springfield JCC Health and Fitness Center revs up bodies with a plethora of popular classes on land and in its Olympic-sized pool. Upgrade your physique with a BodyPump class, which teaches the original barbell-based full-body weightlifting regimen created by the Olympian Les Mills. Or sway your way toward lean muscle tone with a Zumba class, which fuses Latin and international rhythms to create a fat-exhausting South American fitness-and-dance party. The aquatically inclined may perform water aerobics in the pool to receive the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise without stressing tender joints. Opt for enrollment in the masters swim program, and gain access to classes for beginners, advanced swimmers, aspiring triathletes, and those who are tired of swimming in seas of ambiguity.
Working in the northwestern Afghan provinces of Faryab and Jowzjan, Barakat's entirely local staff introduces rural Afghan women and girls to reading and math via 10-month-long home-based literacy courses. The introductory lower-level courses, called Sowat Amausi, educate students to a third-grade-literacy level, teaching them to read Dari and understand basic mathematics while also giving them a venue in which to interact with each other in a culturally acceptable way. After the course, students have the option to enroll in the higher-level literacy course to learn Pashto, English, science, drawing, history, and other subjects or enroll in the fourth grade at a formal school. In the past eight years, Barakat has educated 3,975 Afghan girls and women in basic literacy and numeracy skills, with a 97% completion rate.
It would take months of sea travel, extensive scuba certifications, and fluency in several crustacean dialects to find—let alone interact with—all the creatures found in Ocean Explorium's interactive exhibits. The science center emphasizes environmental stewardship and scientific literacy through several educational habitats such as touch tanks of local aquatic wildlife—including New Bedford's world-famous scallops and schools of rays and sharks. The Living Laboratory exhibit brings visitors face to face with sea creatures such as baby sharks, shark egg cases, coral farm, and moon jellies. Beyond the up-close encounters with denizens of the deep, Ocean Explorium also enlightens patrons with a variety of non-living displays. The Explorer's Zone presents scientific experiments that reveal the workings of the natural world through hands-on exhibits themed around different weekly topics, and Discovery Bay enthralls children aged eight or younger with games, puzzles, and a sand and water table. Advanced computers construct a three-dimensional image of our home planet as it appears from outer space in the Science on a Sphere exhibit, displaying global weather patterns in real time or replaying natural phenomena from history, such as the time it rained men.