After fist-punching his way through the U.S. Army's basic training program, bobbing and weaving through an amateur boxing career, and drop-kicking every last test that stood between him as his law degree, the poet-warrior Edward Rush opened a commercial gym in Washington, DC. He soon grew tired of folding towels for patrons who only wanted to use his gym as a place to read magazines or watch TV while they jogged, so he closed up shop, moved to NYC, and opened a personal-training gym and fitness laboratory. There, he earned the nickname "The Mad Scientist" for his grueling, inventive, and rewarding training method, called IFS.
For a quick, intense workout, students can turn to the gym's CrossFit classes. CrossFit incorporates a fusion of strength and cardiovascular conditioning exercises that grant bodies with sculpting, toning, and endurance-boosting benefits in less than an hour. In fact, many members hustle through the retinue of handstand pushups and Olympic-style power cleans on their lunch hours via the gym's power lunch program, which includes a paleo-diet meal delivery when the workout is completed. Whether over lunch, early in the morning, or at the end of an office day, students can attend classes up to six days a week and retire to well appointed locker rooms equipped with showers, towel service, and complimentary grooming products.
There are six essential ingredients that compose each of Complete Body's fitness programs: strength, cardio, flexibility, meditation, nutrition, and rest. Founder Alex Reznik is the mind behind this philosophy. In 1995, he founded the company believing that, if given the opportunity, most people would seek to better their health. Soon thereafter, he was proven right by both rising membership numbers and favorable media attention, including articles in Time Out New York and the New York Times.
Complete Body has now expanded to three locations. At each club, experts adhere to Mr. Reznik's principles, blending Eastern and Western techniques during classes such as yoga, boot camps, and kickboxing. Complete Body also hosts cross-training classes, which are designed to burn fat, build strength, and improve flexibility by focusing on six elements: strength, cardio, flexibility, meditation, nutrition, and rest. Among the state-of-the-art equipment and fitness technologies that help members reach their fitness goals, independent trainers utilize the facility with their clients. At onsite spas, massage therapists work tense muscles and aestheticians refresh skin with facials. Physical therapists can help to rehabilitate clients following injuries, calling upon various training methods in their arsenal.
At City WingTsun, chief instructor Sifu Alex Richter emphasizes the respect, discipline, and courtesy that is so important to traditional Chinese martial arts, but aims to dispel the hindrance of mysticism with modern teaching methods and training protocols. The result of his efforts—a kung fu program accessible to today’s youths and adults—has garnered the attention of media including USA TODAY and Harper’s Bazaar. City WingTsun’s classes welcome both casual and intense practitioners, shepherding all students toward greater confidence, levels of health, and the self-defense skills needed to acquire a belt from a monster-inhabited closet. The studio’s full schedule caters to women with female-only classes and expands from kung fu to include special programming. This additional programming ranges from kettlebell fundamentals to practical weapons training, which teaches students to defend themselves with everyday objects such as keys, magazines, or the anvils they carry around in their bag.
With more than 20 years' experience tucked under his hand wraps, Nestor Marte has been a trailblazer in popularizing muay thai in the United States. At his Ultimate Gym NY, Kru Nestor draws on his immersion in muay thai and Thai culture?he's certified by three camps in Bangkok and travels twice a year to Thailand to keep up with the latest?to pass along the best knowledge and skills to his students. He's trained with top muay thai fighters, and nowadays also works with masters from other martial arts, including judo, brazilian jujitsu, and vale tudo.
And while Ultimate Gym focuses on muay thai, like Kru Nestor, it's interests have expanded into other martial arts. The gym also offers boxing and luta livre submission wrestling classes in its 3,000-square-foot space. To accommodate the many modalities, the gym is decked out with matted floors, boxing rings, and thai heavy bags, which can be used for practicing kicks or trying out snappy one-liners.
ECITS-certified trainer Stacy Papakostas moves more quickly through time than most people. By injecting hyper-effective movements into her 60-minute boot camps she packs a full-body workout into three hours a week, churning out slimmer, more toned versions of people in a few months. She’s always kept her fitness focus feminine, specializing in women’s self-defense along with prenatal and postnatal therapeutic exercise. As a result, support and encouragement reverberate through the Central Park gatherings. Each student supports one another with a combination of sensitivity and motivation as workouts make use of the park, as patrons jog down paths, stretch on park benches, and perform plyometrics on the copper bill of Hans Christian Andersen’s duck. Her program welcomes women of any age and fitness level with a “no woman left behind” and “challenge everyone” philosophy, modifying exercises to ensure every client can keep up.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.