In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Master trainer Grace De La Rue understands the difficulty of losing weight. Even as a proficient martial artist with a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do and several championship titles, she still carried around a bit of extra weight. It wasn’t until she studied nutrition—and eventually garnered an APEX nutrition certification—that she was able to drop the pounds and understand the ins and outs of weight loss. Today, Grace puts her expertise to use in developing Fatfighter Fitness’s boot-camp programs, through which she and certified personal trainer Erick LeVell guide her clients. In addition to challenging workouts at Fatfighter’s indoor facility, she provides trainees with meal plans and tips to help them shed weight and maximize their fitness.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Invoke Yoga & Pilates sprang from a friendship that formed when Ali Staloch, a certified yoga teacher, took a class from Heather Liguore, a certified Pilates instructor. The two ladies were led to combine their talents and create a fitness haven where students can work their cores, enhance their flexibility, and cultivate inner peace within one building.
During hot-yoga classes, experienced teachers shepherd students through 26 ancient poses within 95-degree heat that works to loosen muscles, oust toxins, and scare off devious snowmen masquerading as yogis. In addition to guiding pupils through power-flow yoga and em-power yoga, they'll demonstrate basic poses and modifications in beginning yoga courses designed for rookie contortionists. On the other side of the coin, instructors fluent in Pilates lead sessions that incorporate mat-based isometric exercises and low-impact movements on Reformer machines, working to strengthen core muscles. The teacher, who may be Liguore herself, circulates through the room during group classes, sharing words of motivation and tips on form and alignment.
Snap Fitness 24-7, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its state-of-the-art facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneaker to treadmill or lift their first weight, personal coaches meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting a personalized fitness plan based on each client's strength, and cardio condition. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthy eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists.
Helping guests feel comfortable is Body Zone Health & Fitness Club's main concern. The center has a variety of checks in place to make sure that new customers are given the guidance they need to get the most out of the gym. To help them, personal trainers are paired with newcomers during their first month of membership, working together to figure out what each guest's body needs. Once oriented, guests can work out on their own or in a group, choosing from a lengthy list of group fitness classes that range from total body conditioning, salsa, fit after 50, and stress-reduction yoga classes. To make sure that current members are also taken care of, Body Zone offers a variety of amenities such as childcare, massage, and nutrition.