Newington Yoga Center is a warm, welcoming health hub offering a variety of classes ($15 each) to students of all ages, skill sets, and salutation styles. If you are a yoga newbie, get acclimated with traditional poses and breathing techniques in a Yoga for Beginners class, or for a more specialized workout, attend a Yoga for Abs and Lower Back class, featuring poses that strengthen the core, improve abdominal organ function, and add a polish to your six-pack of muscle beers. Stressed-out students can relax and recharge in low-impact restorative yoga classes, or escape during 75 minutes of guided meditation in a Yoga Nidra class.
The muscle tutors at Fitness Together Rocky Hill or Avon will work with you to determine your goals (drop pounds, run a marathon, get strong enough to finally confront Douglas) and develop a customized workout plan designed to help you reach your true fitness potential. They’ll supervise your squats, offer nutritional advice, and push you until you see results. Individualized attention means it’s all about you—your trainer can point out when you’re doing a stretch incorrectly, help you tone the trouble zones, and push you to keep going when you’d otherwise quit or become distracted by the fragile beauty of a passing hummingbird.
Lady Fit’s team of all-female trainers leads women through a variety of fitness classes including its specialty: Kangoo Jumps classes. Strapped into springy Kangoo boots, students cavort through entertaining circuit-training exercises, activate their core, and improve their balance while feeling joyfully weightless and bouncy. In addition to the Kangoo classes, the instructors also lead Pilates, piloxing, P90X, beam fit, Zumba, and floor barre classes.
Ellen Seelen’s dance career has taken her from sashaying across cruise ships to high-kicking on stage with Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis. At US Dance Club, Ellen shares a lifetime’s worth of dance acumen through detailed group and private lessons. Ellen and her fellow instructors introduce students to an international array of ballroom dance styles, including tango, samba, and the waltz, as well as country western and line dancing.
After Brian Ayers earned his degree in fitness management and went to work in a corporate fitness setting, he discovered a new kind of training—one that involved challenges such as boxing, mud races, and obstacle courses. "I moved away from using machines and dumbbell exercises to exercises that will get people in shape for more athletic things," he says. In June 2011, he decided to open a studio dedicated to the philosophy of embracing challenge, and Rugged Fitness was born.
Traditional machines do not exist at Rugged Fitness. Instead, there's plenty of space for boot-camp workouts, a pull-up area with TRX bands, and 11 heavy bags for boxing classes, which never exceed 11 pupils. Outside, giant tires patiently wait to be lifted and flipped, and an obstacle course with monkey bars, army-crawl netting, and a climbing wall dares visitors to push themselves to their limit. During the interval-based boot camps, students might heft sledgehammers one minute and drop for pushups the next. Because activities focus on increments of time, rather than specific weights or numbers of reps, everyone can calibrate the exercises to their ability level. And the students do have a range of abilities—some are fitness aficionados, whereas others are complete beginners, and one student dropped more than 100 pounds.
To challenge and encourage students, Brian gathered a staff of experienced coaches, which includes a former professional boxer and an amateur mixed-martial-arts fighter. "Our coaches are all very hands-on," he says, "Everything they they're putting you through, they've done. It's not just someone sitting back with a cheeseburger telling you to do pushups." That spirit of camaraderie extends throughout Rugged Fitness's clientele. "You're all struggling through these crazy workouts we're going to put you through," Brian says. Even outside the gym, members frequently band together to complete mud runs, obstacle courses, and marathon Macarena sessions.
To supplement the classes—which include kickboxing, kettlebell conditioning, and the once-a-week Rugged Boot Camp challenge—the trainers offer one-on-one nutrition counseling. An online nutrition program helps steer guests toward healthier diets, analyzing what they're eating based on the calories, nutritional components, and number of Flintstone vitamins hiding in foods.