From outside, Innovative Health & Fitness' sprawling 52,545-square-foot facility looks more like a school or a corporation than a gym. However, once you enter the gleaming, modern building’s doors, there is no mistaking its true purpose: fitness. The mega-center encompasses three pools, two floors lined with strength training and cardio machines, and two group-class studios. Here, the certified fitness instructors lead yoga, Zumba, BodyPump, spinning, and kickboxing classes. They emphasize long-term results over quick fixes, and help guests lead healthier lives with personal-training sessions and nutrition counseling.
To augment workouts, exercisers can stop at the spa for a massage, mani-pedi, or tanning, or harvest the café for its smoothies, healthful snacks, and Popeye's other favorite food: Juice Plus+ vitamins.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Led by CrossFit Level 1 certified trainers Frank Colavita and Erin Stewart, CrossFit classes combine weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting into a strength-and-conditioning program that hones in on endurance and agility. Participants in 15–20 person On Ramp classes receive personal coaching as they work up to training shape by learning basic core lifts and maneuvers such as deadlifting weights off the ground and heaving stalling airplanes off crowded runways. After two weeks, On Ramp graduates confront more of CrossFit's 4400-square-foot gym through workout-of-the-day courses, which build upon On Ramp exercises with gymnastics and specialized moves. Pull-ups, pushups, and sit-ups sculpt upper halves, jump ropes course cardiovascular exercise through entire bodies, and Turkish get-ups strengthen shoulders quicker than scooping gravy with a fez.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The shutterbug instructors at Shoot Like A Pro cement photographic know-how into their clients’ craniums through technical lessons and onsite practice. During workshops and excursions, students first learn to manipulate their own cameras, picking up tips about ISO, f-stop, shutter speed and composition before testing their skills during two hours of shooting time. Shoot Like A Pro’s events lend themselves to all types of digital cameras as well as to beginner photographers and more experienced students looking to refresh their skills.
All Writers’ Workplace & Workshop's friendly faculty of published writers nurtures aspirant authors of all ages and skill levels with on-site and online classes. Class sizes are kept small (between 8–20) to make sure that everyone gets plenty of one-on-one attention. The Book Writing Workshop ($150) kick-starts ideas for the above-average American novel with 12 weeks of honest feedback from supportive classmates, as well as a line-by-line edit and thematic critique from the instructor. The Wednesday writing workshops ($50) apply the same scrutiny to a more diverse grab bag of short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, and exceptionally gripping Mad Libs.