Trainer John Beneduce channels his athletic ability into CrossFit, a high-intensity, functional workout that he customizes for all ages and fitness levels. He and his wife opened CrossFit Bayside to offer an effective alternative to standard gyms.
?The way we do it at CrossFit Bayside is pretty much the total opposite of how a traditional gym would work,? John said. Rather than coming in to use equipment solo, members attend a packed schedule of one-hour sessions, which all begin with a warm-up before everyone spends about 15 minutes mastering new techniques. Once they can safely and effectively do the workout, students get to work, hoisting medicine balls, swinging kettlebells, climbing ropes, and dead-lifting weights. The workouts change each day, and John usually waits about three months before repeating one. As groups cool down, John leads a discussion on a health-related topic, ranging from nutritional information to how to keep a fitness journal without making your diary jealous.
?We really care about our members,? John said. ?My wife and I run it together as a family business.? He added that the members themselves uphold the gym's mission, warmly welcoming new members and throwing themselves fully into each workout. ?There?s no negative energy at my gym,? he said.
“Pain is temporary,” said seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. “ … If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” Staying true to this inspirational quote, the instructors at Cycle Revolutions—which features the mantra on its website—maintain that spinning is more than just an aerobic fitness regimen but also an opportunity to push yourself beyond perceived limits. Although they encourage intensity, the coaches strive to create a friendly, motivational environment where participants can cultivate camaraderie without feeling intimidated. To ensure this, they adapt their sessions to fit all fitness levels and allow each rider to control how fast and hard they pedal.
Once class begins, students adjust the settings of their stationary bikes before the instructor at the front of the room leads them through a simulated course with turns, hills, or long straightaways. Depending on the class, teachers may focus on endurance, strength, or power. Sometimes they also incorporate techniques from different forms of exercise, such as yoga, or further motivate students by having them outrun the studio’s stationary bear.
There's a ritual to the boot-camp sessions that nationally certified personal trainer Mike Salvietti leads online six days a week. After spending about 10 minutes running through warm-ups to increase joint mobility, participants plow through up to 30 minutes of metabolic resistance training. Each 45- to 55-minute session wraps up with thorough stretching to minimize soreness and recovery time. The exercises work quickly, reducing body fat, toning muscles, and speeding up metabolism in as little as six sessions spread over two weeks. They're easy to jump into, too; boot-campers only need to bring running shoes, water, and a towel they can twist around their head and spin like a helicopter.
Queens Dance Project’s team of lifelong dancers coach students through workout-oriented dance routines. During the newly unveiled pole-dancing workshops, students build muscle tone while executing spins and tricks under dimmed studio lights. Alternatively, Zumba classes keep heart rates high by pairing hip-swiveling moves with Latin beats, and tap-dancing sessions teach students how to make it rain using just their shoes. Youngsters can also build coordination and confidence at the studio, which has an age-stratified youth program to nurture kids 2 years and older with mat work and musical instruments.
A sleek, modern entry area welcomes guests into Vitality Yoga's contemporary space. Atop the studio's dark, hardwood floors, seasoned yogis lead students of all skill levels through 70-minute classes in a variety of yoga styles designed to improve bodies' strength, flexibility, and posture. Most of the studio's sessions incorporate a combination of hatha and Vinyasa yoga, which focus on gentle stretching or athletic pose progressions. Each class wraps up with a seated meditation, during which participants can achieve a zen state of mind comparable to spending a day at the beach with Phil Jackson.
Bally enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day membership includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, and Step Fitness (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts an array of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.