Despite its name, Fonzi’s Synergy Fitness isn’t a place where members learn to ride motorcycles while keeping their slicked-back coiffures in place. It’s a locally owned gym helmed by Jim Fonzi and Denice Normandy-Fonzi, who cultivate a welcoming feel inside the fitness haven. High-quality workout equipment, such as the BodyMasters System—a 30-minute circuit workout similar to Curves, as well as free weights fill the space, and a fitness room hosts an array of heart-pumping, calorie-burning classes.
Rebecca Rankin and Lisa Lau came out of college prepared to be an architect and an engineer, respectively. Today, they own Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill. Their goals haven't changed much, though—Rebecca specializes in the architecture of the human body, and Lisa studies its engineering, teaching students how to bend and breathe during each 90-minute class.
These classes are held in a studio heated to around 105 degrees. But newcomers to the practice needn't worry—as the space's website says, "The heat is not there to make it tough, it is there to help." As participants move through the 26 asanas, or postures, of Bikram yoga, the heat loosens up their muscles and encourages a detoxifying sweat, allowing for deeper stretches and a smoother post-workout slip-and-slide ride. Rebecca, Lisa, and their fellow instructors limit their class sizes to better personalize their guidance, and welcome guests of all skill levels to attend any session.
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 circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions 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.
The Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh pursues its mission of upholding an exemplary, thriving, and engaged community rooted in Jewish values. The Center contains state-of-the-art fitness facilities, complete with group exercise programs, personal training, and modern facilities that include gyms, basketball courts, and swimming pools. Leaders also organize other programs that range from day and overnight camps for kids to art classes, dance programs, aquatics seminars, and physical education for all ages.
At Kim's, Grandmaster Kyu Ha Kim—who has more than 50 years of martial-arts-instruction experience and was previously the U.S. judo team coach—teaches judo, tae kwon do, and self-defense to students of all levels alongside champion instructors. Inside the 8,000-square-foot training facility, complete with locker rooms, weight-training systems, and closed-circuit-television monitoring, men, women, and children learn martial-arts techniques and how to properly address former gym teachers when encountering them sobbing in an alleyway.
The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts acts as both the patron and the glittering stage for the local arts community, raising awareness of Pittsburgh's visionaries-in-residence with a host of educational programs and exhibitions. Its members scamper freely through galleries stuffed with canvases and sculptures by local artists such as Brian Dean Richmond and Gregory Witt. Prospective Picassos and vicarious Velazquezes, meanwhile, can pour their inner outsider artist into bright and bold Plexiglass prints, hand-hammered metal jewelry, and subtle Chinese brush paintings during a day of three hour-long studio sessions at an Arts Crash Course. If you're still suffering from excess inspiration afterward, burn off the rest before it curdles into images of poker-playing dogs with a $25 member discount to sign up for ongoing classes in watercolor painting, ceramics, and other crafts. Admission to the galleries at local cinema and media center Pittsburgh Filmmakers is also included with your membership benefits, as well as a 10% discount on colorful blown glass vases and funky jewelry in the gift shop and assorted discounts on art supplies at three area stores.