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.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
While E Studio Hot Yoga may never reach the size of General Electric—one of the companies for which owner Emily has led corporate fitness efforts—it's still an ambitious undertaking. A team of instructors leads the center's classes, which range from ballet-barre workouts set to upbeat music to power-yoga sessions held in a 90-degree studio. Like a crutch with a manufacturing error, the schedules at both the Clifton Park and Latham locations are flexible; classes take place seven days a week, with a variety of morning and evening classes held throughout the week.
The certified instructors at Hot Yoga Saratoga believe that heated exercise has more benefits than just boosting the body’s flexibility. For nearly 20 types of classes, they warm up their studios to help bodies heal injuries, release toxins, and thin the blood so it can flow more easily to tissues and organs. From silent Bikram sessions in 105-degree heat to yoga sculpt classes set to 90 degrees and upbeat music, the studio aims to have something for yogis of all ages and experience levels.
The Revolution celebrates the invention of the wheel with an indoor cycling studio and bike-centric classes. Hop aboard a Spinner bike and rage against immobility, burning up to 1,000 calories per expert-led session. Classes focus on five fitness principles: balance, strength, flexibility, endurance, and power to produce muscles so tight that fleets of quarters bounce off them and lodge into steel surfaces.