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.
At first, Ken von Roenn III only saw yoga as a way to increase his flexibility for his true passion, climbing. Slowly, yoga began to eclipse climbing as his primary love. Now he’s a devoted practitioner and instructor, and his love has led him to create Skanda Yoga Studio’s namesake style. The Skanda yoga style hinges on posture and controlled breathing, much like Vinyasa yoga. However, Skanda augments these practical techniques with a holistic component: each Skanda session finds its spiritual footing in the Mayan Dreamspell calendar.
Sessions work to align participants’ bodies with natural cyclical patterns found in this brand of Mayan mysticism that has proven more enduring than federal laws carved into stone with an exceptionally pointy Sharpie. Ken and his team of instructors offer classes outside their studio’s signature style, complementing their Skanda instruction with courses in modalities such as power yoga, gentle therapeutics, and Kundalini.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
Lady of America Women's Fitness Club spreads female-focused wellness across the nation by furnishing each of its franchise locations with equipment and classes designed with women's bodies in mind. Each locale stocks a strength-training area with machines sized specifically for the feminine frame, and ellipticals and stationary bicycles help to chisel gams without transporting users across state borders. Instructors conduct such group classes as kickboxing, belly dancing, and Zumba aboard a floating aerobics floor, whose softened surface diminishes stress on joints. Throughout each facility, personal trainers patrol public zones to acquaint guests with exercise gear or host one-on-one sessions. Depending on the location, clubs might also include complimentary onsite childcare, brow dabbing, and amenities ranging from infrared saunas to manicures.