With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were accidentally installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circle of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with women's bodies, promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use each lady’s body weight and unique fitness level to create resistance that matches her abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
At i am yoga, students discover skills they may never have known they had, such as touching their toes and standing on their heads. Movements like these teach them to focus their minds and look deep into their hearts, where compassion awaits when balance falters. Vinyasa routines fuel this process of self-discovery, welcoming students of all abilities with dance-like sequences of ancient poses and deep-breathing exercises. The temperature rises to 85–90 degrees during Warm Vinyasa’s sun salutations, loosening muscles, deepening stretches, and melting pocket-dwelling ice packs that are unnecessary anyway. Music synchronizes breaths and movement as muscles gain strength, stamina, and flexibility.
When she’s not leading in-studio classes or private lessons, owner Julia Jones hosts free classes at Capitol Park, where students can mimic the gentle bends of grass blades and the spastic dance moves of tree branches.
At Academy of Self Defense, the fierce cries and lightning-fast kicks of martial arts, normally such an intimidating spectacle, are sometimes simply adorable. Children as young as 3 and 4 learn the foundations of self-defense under the tutelage of Master Dan Embree, a veteran martial artist who for more than a decade has helped students of all ages and skill levels learn how to defend themselves against real-world situations. Along with martial arts, Master Dan also teaches women assault prevention and leads tactical training lessons for law enforcement.
Rooted in the belief that the first step to beauty is wellness, the practitioners of The Yoga Room get students bending, stretching, and toning their bodies during a myriad of dynamic classes. Addressing physical issues such as high blood pressure or injuries, restorative Iyengar Yoga uses props to extend poses and slowly rebuild and strengthen the body. Alternatively, those looking for a workout can drop in on Vinyasa Flow, Saturday strength, and Turbo Kick—a routine that encourages participants to burn up to 1,000 calories per hour by playing Street Fighter.
Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of Anytime Fitness’s one-month membership ($59), which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to make them fit enough to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. Two personal training sessions ($35) help self-sculptors attain results. This deal also includes unlimited tanning ($25/month) to paint new, ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze.
At Essential Hot Yoga, formerly Sumits Yoga, students stand squarely on the hardwood floors of the heated studio. Instructors lead them through 75-minute classes, fusing inspiration from Hatha and Ashtanga power-flow styles of yoga to create a dynamic and fluid practice. Essential's two styles of hot yoga cover a sequence of balancing and energizing physical postures, called asanas, set to motivating music. The practice room's hot and humid atmosphere warms and relaxes muscles more effectively than a bear hug from an actual bear, helping yogis to reach deeper stretches.