Though now spread over the United States with over 50 locations, Crunch gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment and not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty years later, Crunch gyms' fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.
Realizing that every minute spent primping takes away from their clients' free time, the staff of Body & Sol Tanning Boutique streamlines their services so clients can get in, get bronzed, and get out. Clients can simply walk in to the chain location closest to home, after which they consult with the trained tanning specialist over which tanning method is most suitable for their skin. After deciding on intensity and length of sessions, clients hop into one of the five tiers of UV bed. The salon also offers UV-free options such as the automated Mystic HD booth, which is loaded with four different shades of tanning pigment, all of which seep into skin through the use of heated rays. Clients can choose to deepen tans with a range of Devoted Creations tanning accelerators, or simply heighten a tan's contrast with surgically implanted angel wings or the salon's BleachBright teeth-whitening kits.
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. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. 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.
Yoga Motion fully embodies its name. Not only do the center’s instructors encourage fluid movements and flexibility in their students, they also tap into the business’s origins as a former traveling yoga studio. At its start, the studio’s instructors would bring their sessions to local spaces—a tradition that continues today as they bring their classes to local health clubs and beaches, in addition to hosting them at their permanent home. No matter the space, students learn to balance their breaths, increase flexibility, and tone muscles with yoga poses developed more than 5,000 years ago. Group classes are available for varying skill levels, and instructors also offer private sessions.
In addition to yoga classes, the facility also offers dance lessons. A dancer since she was 5, Elise McKenna mastered ballet during her tenure in the American Ballet Company and even danced in music videos by Michael Jackson and Rick Astley. While she is passionate about performing, she equally loves to teach and has been helming her own classes in belly dancing, burlesque, ballet, jazz, ballroom, and other forms for more than 25 years, or the amount of time it takes to pirouette around Jupiter.