Since its inception in 1916, the YMCA of Greater Miami has opened its doors to whoever needed it. It welcomed African American youths during the Great Depression, hosted military personnel in the 1940s, and gave Cuban refugees a home in the 1960s. Today, it continues the tradition of depolarizing Miami's fractured populous, remaining a haven for people of all faiths, races, ages, and income. Staffers uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. YMCA of Greater Miami also raises much-needed funding for kids and families who can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
At the current locations, kids can leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to afterschool programs and day camps. Adults, meanwhile, can take Zumba, boot-camp, and aquatic fitness classes or work out within wellness centers replete with strength-training and cardio equipment. Adult basketball and indoor speed-soccer leagues further help guests flex their competitive spirits in an encouraging environment.
Jorge Perez lay on the gym floor, panting heavily and in a state of disbelief. He had years of athletic-training experience and certifications under his belt, but after one CrossFit workout, he felt like a train had hit him. Impressed by the innovative program and determined to improve as an athlete, Jorge continued on to perform countless CrossFit workouts after leaving the gym that day, eventually earning his certification as a CrossFit level-one trainer.
Jorge Perez now shares the CrossFit training methodology with students of all fitness levels at his own studio—BluePrint CrossFit - Doral. Towering ceilings loom over an expansive floor of free weights, pull-up bars, and resistance bands, where Coach J and his staff of fellow certified coaches lead high-intensity CrossFit and bootcamp workouts. Committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles outside the gym, they conduct free nutritional seminars and share healthy recipes to demonstrate proper eating habits and how to get a restraining order against Twinkies.
A gym designed exclusively for women, Lady of America offers its members accoutrements that coed gyms can’t. For starters, all of the weight-training equipment is sized for females and equipped with 5-pound weight increments, allowing for more useful adjustments than the typical machinery. Beyond the weight room, the open gym offers plenty of cardio machines, including treadmills, bikes, and elliptical trainers. In order to personalize workouts even further, members can also meet with one of the club's trained and certified personal trainers, or talk food with the onsite dietitian. When solo training starts to get lonely, the gym’s group fitness classes challenge muscles while building camaraderie during sessions such as Butt Lift, Step It Up, and Zumba. While members sweat, their children can play at the onsite daycare center— for an additional fee— stocked with plenty of toys and miniature Stairmasters.
IMT CrossFit occupies a 10,000 square-foot facility filled with weights, ropes, lifting platforms, tires, gymnastics rings, bars, kettlebells, and much more. This canvas gives trainers plenty of equipment to exercise their imaginations and construct new workout regimens based on CrossFit?s core focus on functional movements.
The coaches spend six days a week?mornings and evenings?teaching students exercises designed to promote their musculoskeletal health and enhance the functions of their bodies. Using kettlebells, Olympic weights, and even gravity, clients work toward running faster, climbing better, and getting fitter. And because there are no mirrors in the facility, exercisers can focus their complete attention on their workout instead of constantly consulting their reflection to find out who is the fairest one of all.
Miami heat is one thing; Bikram yoga heat is another. For Bikram, the room temperature needs to be 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity, making for a sweat-inducing session that’s sure to burn some calories. Bikram Hot Yoga Miami believes in the steamy practice and always keeps their thermostats cranked, using the heat to warm muscles so participants can stretch further, sweat out more toxins and let their blood circulate. A typical workout runs 90-minutes, with just about every muscle and joint getting a hearty workout inside this no-frills warehouse district space. Small cubbies hold personal belongings during class, and two showers let participants clean up after their warm sessions – though you should always bring your own towel and yoga mat.
South Florida may lack for large mountain ranges, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go climbing. X-treme Rock Climbing in Miami is a full-service rock-climbing center, stocked inside its warehouse-like space with some 14,000 square feet of climbable surfaces. The routes on the walls change frequently, so guests can always have a new challenge ahead of them. Private and group classes are available at all levels, though beginners are always taken through an introductory class that teaches belaying, knot tying and basic climbing techniques. The center also includes an additional 7,000 square feet for yoga and a full-service fitness center, and daily equipment rental options mean the fitness-forward set has no excuse not to give the emerging sport a shot.