The MyoFitness instructors work hard to knock down the barriers that prevent people from getting fit. Rather than summoning clients to gyms, they come to homes and offices for private personal-training and private yoga sessions, sparing clients the hassle of driving home sweaty or finding a babysitter for their needy, needy house plant. Unlike following along to yoga and fitness videos, this brand of one-on-one attention helps ensure proper form and reduce the chance of injury. And to assist with ongoing progress, the instructors also dole out nutrition advice and counseling tailored to suit the needs of each client.
Though programs vary based on each individual, trainers typically begin programs with a focus on core strength and balance skills, and then move on to secondary muscle movements—a progression designed to reduce the risk of injury. In addition to participating in on-location sessions, clients can opt to meet trainers at the gym or join group fitness classes and rigorous boot-camp workouts.
Dominique Ponko sits at the head of the class, leading yogis through muscle-lengthening postures with the steady flow of her deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales. It’s been a long journey for Dominique. She first sought out yoga at the age of 26 to help her cope with life-threatening seizures and a slow-growing brain tumor. Yoga comforted her through three difficult years, welcoming her into a space for healing spiritually before she was able to find the proper medicine to help her heal physically. Though still a little shaky, Dominique has triumphed and opened four yoga studios—voted Best of the ‘Burgh in 2010—to inspire her students to ease their ailments, build strength, and find inner peace.
During her studio's heated Vinyasa-flow classes, an enthusiastic and supportive instructor guides students through a series of strengthening postures that work to increase flexibility and build muscles. Warm, balmy air courses through the studio, pricking beads of sweat on brows to help detox bodies and loosen stiff muscles into deep, soothing stretches.
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.
Structured workouts are hard to come by at 2 a.m.—except at VYGOR Fitness. The 24-hour gym’s automated Fitness on Request consoles store up to 45 unique workout videos, which can lead athletes through guided workouts to help them meet their fitness goals into the wee hours of the morning. During the day, patrons can work with human fitness experts during group classes in Zumba, Pilates, yoga, and cardio pump, which fuses jogging with pumping well water. More intimate I Inspire sessions, led by certified personal trainers, follow a more flexible curriculum and stay capped at 10 participants to ensure individualized attention.
For solo workouts, gym-goers can use cardio equipment such as Star Trac treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, or StairMaster steppers—ideal for training for on-foot trips to the moon. Alternatively, patrons can build muscle on a comprehensive array of weightlifting machinery. To complement workouts, the studio’s workshops—on topics ranging from nutrition and weight loss to specialty training areas—bolster fitness IQs.
The experienced climbing staff at Climb North oversees an indoor facility with 30 rock-climbing paths. In addition to advanced climbing routes and bouldering walls, there’s a beginning climbing area for the uninitiated and a grassy slope for mountain goats. The facility also offers monthly packages to avid climbers and party rentals for adventurous celebrations, which include cakes and snacks in a decorated party area before group climbs.
At Lakevue Athletic Club, a staff of seasoned competitors breeds a love of fitness through tennis, group exercise classes, and personal training. Atop eight indoor courts and three outdoor courts, a fleet of tennis pros enacts lessons anchored in players' strengths. They specialize in QuickStart tennis, a recently minted method of play that emphasizes building the skills and confidence of child athletes without serving them trophy-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Within the walls of an 11,000-square-foot fitness center, personal trainer Kyle Waters shepherds clients through two downstairs cardio rooms with Star Trac treadmills and several weight rooms loaded with Cybex Eagle and Hammer Strength machines. Inside two studios upstairs, health gurus conduct classes in everything from yoga to step aerobics to kickboxing.