Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
When thinking of gym equipment, most people imagine whirring treadmills and racks of free weights. The names of Pilates machines are more innocuous—chair and barrel, for example—but to the uninitiated, these tools might seem more like pieces in an art gallery. Thankfully, the certified instructors at The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis help to demystify them. They guide clients through exercises that enlist the gliding platform of the Reformer, or the malleable ring that is the Magic Circle, hosting group and private classes for all skill levels.
Owner Karen Prechtl and her team ease new clients into a Pilates practice by customizing their guidance and keeping class sizes small. They emphasize the importance of breath work, proper form, and body awareness during each lesson, helping students to achieve a leaner, more bendable physique without simply telling them to "be the rubber band." For those who prefer a highly personalized approach, one-on-one training utilizes weights, kettlebells, and mat-based floor exercises in addition to the Pilates equipment.
The health-centric twosome of Brad (a certified personal trainer who has helped his clients lose over 2,000 pounds combined) and his athletic anima Jen (a nutritional specialist who builds realistic and effective diets and teaches yoga and Pilates) operates out of an impressive studio—aptly named "The Sweatshop"—fully outfitted with professional equipment and all accessories needed to transform your body into whatever shape or scent you desire. Your two personal training sessions start with an initial consultation, during which Brad and Jen will develop training exercises geared toward goals such as weight loss, speed, agility, and the ability to lift cars off trapped kittens and hurl them at supervillains. Brad's fitness philosophy adheres to the tenets of functional training, which focuses on stabilizing the abdominal and lower-back muscles to limit the risk of injury and support all other muscle groups.
At most gyms, patrons do the same workouts on the same cardio and weight-lifting machines over and over again, but at Hybridfit, exercisers are challenged with constantly varying routines, such as suspending from gymnastics rings, heaving barbells, and flipping tractor tires end over end. All the coaches at Hybridfit are very experienced and outfitted with the unique ability to recognize clients’ personal struggles and motivate them toward success. They lead up to 12 exercisers in the high-intensity routines, which are divided into three progressive tiers. The levels begin with the fundamentals of weight lifting, boxing, body-weight drills, and aerobics, and build up to intense workouts for advanced athletes training to outrun the Mississippi River. Though the routines are designed to challenge clients, they can each be adapted to fit individual levels of athleticism.
At City Gym, exercisers don't just build healthy bodies, they cultivate community by sharing their goals and cheering each other to the finish line. To facilitate this process, certified personal trainers corral them in the studio's classrooms, which brim with calorie-torching cycling routines, core-toning Pilates movements, and boot camps that pair cardio and calisthenics with constant motivation. Trainers also lead one-on-one sessions that revolve around specific objectives such as losing weight or boosting energy levels. In the gym, plate-loaded weight machines and Life Fitness elliptical trainers foster enough strength and stamina to give a piggyback ride to a full-grown warthog. After sweating sessions, exercisers can retire to the spa-like locker room, where hot showers rinse away sweat and stress.