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.
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.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
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.
Offering drop-in activities and group parties, The Kid’s Place unleashes children’s imaginations and gives them a place and the tools to express themselves through art. Owner Samara Lamm brings her experience as a child-psychology major and nursery school teacher into The Kid’s Place’s daily activities. She stimulates minds by challenging youth to mine for gemstones and by teaching them how to tie-dye T-shirts and white tuxedos. Visitors can also build mosaic pictures out of glass or hand-paint ceramic plates with holiday messages and handprints. Group parties also get the kids interacting socially with freeze dancing, games, and edible art options for those aged three and up.
Spotlighted in Time magazine and the New York Times, Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a nationally renowned program offering a unique take on musical education for children 6 months to 5 years old. Classes consist of 45 minutes of singing, dancing, and musical storytelling. Children's songsmith David Weinstone, whose insectivorous curriculum has exploded in popularity since 1997, passes the baton to Mid-Atlantic Songwriter's Award-winner Stacey Peasley so the tintinnabulous tones of tuneful tots might also ring out from the City on the Hill. Rather than being strict and results-driven, the teaching style at Music for Aardvarks is based on adult modeling and exposing children to ideas and sounds without dumbing them down. Parent participation is strongly encouraged for atonal squealers and former Yes drummers alike. Check the Music for Aardvarks website for the drop-in class schedules.