Ann Kamhi Toran credits Pilates practice with saving her dancing career. After a major back injury threatened her ability to continue performing, Ann devoted herself to Pilates, and the exercises helped rehabilitate her body so effectively that she was eventually promoted to soloist after recovering. Although she stopped professionally dancing more than 20 years ago, Ann still practices Pilates daily.
Ann?s husband, Dr. Errol Toran, also is a believer in the rejuvenating capabilities of Pilates, and he suggested it to his chiropractic patients, incorporating the exercises into their physical rehabilitation. Together, Ann and Dr. Toran decided to create a studio that shared these benefits with the general public, introducing the time-honored exercise techniques that improve posture and build lean, toned muscles.
The studio boasts four locations throughout the New York area, each featuring an arsenal of traditional Pilates equipment. The signature apparatus, the Reformer, generates gentle resistance with a system of springs, pulleys, and miniature black holes. Students push and pull against this resistance while performing sequences of relatively simple movements that require unwavering mental focus to maintain the ideal technique and alignment. By emphasizing controlled, quality movements over flailing your body against a boulder, Pilates exercises can evenly tone muscles across the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the core muscle groups.
Ann and Dr. Toran encourage their instructors to take initiative when leading classes and tailor the pacing or sequence to accommodate students, but each studio does host sessions for particular skill levels. Introductory and Level 1 classes work to develop form and technique, whereas the more advanced sessions begin to include modified exercises or long-division flashcards to ensure a more challenging workout.
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.
With its military-style obstacles and exercises, Warrior Fitness Boot Camp is not for the faint of heart. As Vanity Fair writer Tarik Fayad said, "My legs burned ... my arms hung like lead at my sides. ... I was drenched in sweat." But instead of feeling exhausted and discourage, Fayad was "the happiest I had been in years"?and immediately signed up for three months of unlimited classes.
The boot camp, which was founded by two former marines, won't mollycoddle participants, but because it doesn't, it gets results and has garnered extensive amounts of press, including appearances on The Dr. Oz Show and CBS's The Early Show.
During its one-hour indoor classes, campers do everything from hoist free weights to run through an obstacle course complete with jungle-gym bars, balance beams, real dirt, and a pool full of sharks carrying switchblades. Kids can also get in on the action?special classes for them help build motor skills and teamwork.
Robert Brace—a celebrity personal trainer who's danced as a soloist for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet—may be from London, but he wanted to create a workout perfect for time-crunched New Yorkers who want to see results. And that’s how NYlean25 was born. Today, he and his team challenge clients with 25-minute workouts that incorporate interval training and constantly changing drills to keep bodies engaged. The instructors also help students maintain good form throughout the workout to ensure each exercise's effectiveness. Additional support, such as meal planning, speeds clients toward goals such as losing weight, becoming more toned, and passing the arm-wrestling portion of job interviews.
The trainers encourage their clients to push themselves and make the most of every minute—but they're not afraid to have a little fun, either. In fact, Robert helped comedian Mark Malkoff achieve six-pack abs in 28 days, and he taught the crew at PIX11 how to get fit even while they wore their nice work clothes, instead of the leather pants and corsets most often seen at the gym.
The Sanskrit word ?yogamaya? means potent inner power, or, in another translation, all-doing capability. The West 20th Street studio aims to guide its students toward this ideal not just through postures but also through spiritual teachings and melodic kirtan chants.
As for the physical practice, the instructors lead Vinyasa flow classes, which link breath to movement. The dynamic sequences increase strength and flexibility while developing a moving meditation, one in which students focus on nothing but monitoring the alignment of every movement. Though every level of class incorporates a range of asanas, such as standing poses and inversions, advanced sessions introduce deeper holds, centering breathing exercises, and yogic philosophy.
Regardless of the difficulty of the class, the instructors maintain a warm environment by dispensing advice, offering specific adjustments, and furrowing their brows when someone tells a sad story. New York magazine commented on the empowering benefits of this personalized guidance, claiming, "even beginners are pleasantly coaxed into positions more difficult than they might think they could accomplish."
Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors?formerly known as Outdoor Bound?turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts?each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT?temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.