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The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."

This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.

863 Great Plain Ave
Needham,
MA
US

The certified trainers and nutritionists at CATZ Sports Performance Training Centers are focused on motivation, not intimidation. Nutritionists assist in overall lifestyle improvement with the understanding that nutrition plays a big role in attaining overall wellness. Nutrition plans are customized according to activity levels and lifestyles, along with personal eating habits and patterns, for maximum efficacy. Additionally, the centers' fitness classes are designed to increase the fitness of attendees of any skill level, including adults with sedentary jobs and children who avoid sports in school and extracurricular environments. While the strength and conditioning coaches regularly work with professional-level athletes, they motivate attendees of all skill levels through the ever-changing workouts with encouragement and individual attention.

All the centers' workouts are clinically designed by these certified trainers to build muscle, trim fat, and boost overall fitness regardless of the attendee's starting point. All sessions keep the student-to-instructor ratio low to ensure the professionals keep students on their toes and injury free. Students work through a dynamic routine of exercises that focus on both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training, including body-weight-based moves, running, and flexibility-boosting techniques such as systematically replacing limbs with rubber bands.

114 1st Ave
Needham,
MA
US

Vo2max CEO Matthew Dupee began his flirtation with fitness on his high-school crew team, where he first developed a deep respect for physical discipline. Since then, he’s spent years in education and healthcare vocations, earning his fitness-trainer certification and starting up Vo2max with his wife and co-president, Jessica. Matthew and Jessica now teach others to master the mysteries of gym workouts and equipment with calculated, tailor-made exercise and diet plans.

The Dupees’ striking, battleship-gray studio fuses the martial vigor of the ancient Trojans with the interior-decorating aesthetics of the ancient Spartans, fine-tuning bodies with no-frills resistance-training apparatuses, monkey bars, and punching bags. Students of any stature or ability enhance their health with intense, effective fitness exercises pulled from fight training, such as flipping a 250-pound tractor tire, swinging hammers, or high-fiving a steelworker. Trainees put their endurance and agility to the test with regular workouts, while a team of trainers puts their impressive resumés to work with hands-on instruction in nutrition, exercise, and boxing techniques.

948 Great Plain Ave
Needham,
MA
US

Baker Adie Sprague, who made a splash as a participant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, showcases her meticulous dessert designs at Treat Cupcake Bar. She crafts at least a dozen flavors every day, including seasonal goodies such as candy apple—an apple cake smothered with cinnamon frosting. Adie also whips up separate batches for gluten-free and vegan patrons, such as chocolate cake crowned with mint cookies ‘n' cream frosting.

Rather than hog all the decorating fun for itself, Treat invites guests to make their very own creations at its namesake bar. There, you’ll find four varieties of both cake and frosting, plus more than 20 other toppings, such as Pop Rocks and chocolate-covered pretzels. To refine your decorating skills, sign up for one of Treat’s holiday-themed classes and learn to make seasonal shapes such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and smashed calculators for National Do Long Division by Hand Day.

1450 Highland Ave
Needham,
MA
US

Rick Bern discovers beauty and intrigue in even the most mundane details of the world about him. Fueled by that passion, he turned his photography hobby into a full-fledged career, publishing work in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and winning the Bride’s Choice Award from WeddingWire.com. With an armada of Nikon cameras and gear suited to on-location and in-studio shoots, he spends his days snapping crisply composed photos during weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as portrait sessions for actors, families, and kids. Having grown his business so successfully, today Rick surrounds himself with a team of equally skilled full-time shutterbugs to better cover a wide range of events and shoots, and promises a 100% money-back guarantee if his customers aren’t completely satisfied with their sessions. He also commits himself to the community by working with organizations such as March of Dimes and Youk’s Kids.

19 Andrea Cir
Needham,
MA
US

The noises and stressors of the day melt away as students find peace and quiet inside H.Y.P. Studio’s intimate workout areas. Small groups of no more than five participants gather for Pilates classes that use specialized equipment to build lithe muscles and abdominal strength. BarSculpt classes incorporate mats, weights, bands, and ballet barres to create a low-impact workout that targets fat in common problem areas along the legs, arms, and torso. Inside the yoga studios, a custom-designed heating system maintains an ideal balance of heat, humidity, and fresh oxygen, and the floors are constructed out of an antimicrobial material that prevents germs and charkas from getting trapped under the surface. Classes are held from as early as 5:45 a.m. to as late as 7.45 p.m., and students can use private shower and changing areas to get ready before and after sessions.

633 Highland Ave
Needham,
MA
US

Needham Scene