A good gym often resembles a forest, with canopies of crossing metal bars, pulleys, and weights. Snap Fitness boasts a few more jungle-like attributes than most, with a stretch of green turf floor ideal for sprinting and dragging exercises. Clients shed sweat throughout the gym, aided by personal trainers who stop by to provide bits of advice or hour-long sessions of one-on-one attention. Once they've learned to use the weight equipment properly, members can head to the cardio theater for and jog or cycle while watching a favorite show.
Read on to learn exactly how that fitness classes leave you with more muscle or better tone.
Bulky upper-body muscles might have hindered early humans who had to chase their prey across the plains, but it could help those who often had to climb trees to adjust their satellite dishes. That’s why the body builds muscle according mostly to use: do enough curls, and the biceps expand. As anyone who has experienced post-workout soreness could intuit, those curls are actually a form of controlled damage, making thousands of miniscule tears to the muscle tissue that beckon autoimmune cells to show up alongside testosterone and other hormones. The white blood cells help switch on satellite cells, which are similar to stem cells. Before they're activated, satellite cells aren't doing much—instead, they lie dormant around muscle fibers until they're called into action to repair torn tissue.
This isn't the only kind of cellular transformation at work in growing muscles. Long muscle cells, which contain several nuclei, can also begin to change type after a workout. Certain kinds of muscle fibers are equipped to handle brief bursts of effort but will quickly become tired if asked to do more intense work. These are the first to disappear as someone starts an exercise routine, as they're converted into fibers with more endurance. This principle is so dramatic that a sports scientist can generally tell whether someone is a professional athlete or a professional mattress model by examining a minute sample of muscle tissue.
In her previous life, Danielle Conner was a professional dancer. But while touring extensively around the world, she developed chronic bursitis and tendonitis in both of her shoulders, and had to turn to physical therapy to correct those issues.
During her therapy, Danielle was introduced to various Pilates-based exercises. The practice made such a positive impact that she began practicing Pilates after her therapy ended. Wanting to share the power of Pilates with others, Danielle earned her certification as an instructor, and now serves as the resident Pilates instructor for various Cirque du Soleil shows. She also runs Pilates Design Studio, where she leads both private and group classes.
Yoga & Healing Center offers a variety of classes suited for seasoned contortionists and stiff yogamateurs alike and taught by spirited instructors who boast years of experience in energy-releasing elastitude. Beginners can start with basic fundamental classes or dive headfirst into the damp, purifying world of Bikram or the releasing Soul Sweat class, which packs the wallop of a disco while emphasizing freedom and ease of movement. Gentle Flow yoga is infused with the spiritual laws of Deepak Chopra, cleansing both the body and mind, and silent meditation is open for all students seeking to silence the world’s screams for a while. Students should plan to bring their own mats, towels, and water, though mats are also available to rent. It is best to avoid eating before classes, lest vituperative vittles rebel with belly-based trampoline sessions. Though walk-in classes are available, students are advised to reserve their spaces online.
Graham Fitness trainer and founder Norman Graham took an interest in fitness at age 12, when he was deeply insecure about his skinny frame. Determined to change and strengthen his body, he sought advice from every expert he could access, beginning with his weight-lifting cousins and "everyone who [he] thought had muscular size." Now a muscular, prize-winning lifter, Norman consults with Olympic athletes and powerlifting champions. His own quick progress convinced him that working one-on-one with experts is the best way for people to reach their physical goals, whether they hope to lose weight, build muscle, or grow as tall as their favorite redwood trees. To make personal training accessible, he started Graham Fitness' in-person and online training options, both of which deliver custom fitness and nutrition savvy.
Along with personal-training services, Graham Fitness hosts high-energy group classes such as Zumba, yoga, and pole fitness. Whether clients come for one-on-one sessions or group workouts, the trainers emphasize a positive, supportive environment, celebrating its "biggest losers" on Facebook posts and online.
Zumba Fitness New Jersey's licensed head instructor Melissa Marcketta and her enthusiastic staff lead over thirty light-hearted, hip-swiveling Latin dance workouts per week across five locations. During one-hour Zumba with Zumba Toning classes, students become acquainted with pulse-pounding dance moves and strength training exercises that create physiques as tight and toned as a bass drum crafted from recycled Tarzan posters. The calorie-crushing combination of aerobic gyrations and shimmy-infused strength training is accessible for all ability levels. The studio employs multiple instructors to ensure varied workouts, eclectic soundtracks, and a spectrum of opinions surrounding the optimal peanut-butter-to-broccoli ratio for a postworkout sandwich.