After forging a friendship during a yoga class for breast-cancer survivors, Kellie Moreland and Therese Blomberg joined with Michele Taylor to bring yoga’s restorative powers to their families and neighbors. Their signature class, Yoga Core and More, sculpts limbs, abs, and backs with a lineup of back bends, arm balances, and inverted poses. Ideal for seasoned yogis, this class raises the heart rate to burn calories and foster cardiovascular health. Sweltering temperatures draw students of all skill levels to hot yoga classes, loosening tight muscles and drawing out toxins as the group stretches between exposed-brick walls and wooden floors. Mom and Me'a classes, filled with songs, stories, and playful movements, help yogis aged 2–5 liberate the peace, joy, and Capture the Flag prisoners that lie within.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
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 offer cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Club Fitness makes exercise accessible, offering dozens of group classes to participants of all fitness levels at more than 20 locations throughout the St. Louis area. Teams of instructors lead lessons in activities such as cycling, ab-focused exercises, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, and Zumba aerobics.
The trainers at The Boxing Gym help clients use their natural assets to get into shape: namely, two fists and a little bit of stress to take out on a punching bag. They splice their boxing and kickboxing lessons with calisthenics, push-ups, and jump roping, keeping the workout fast and varied, and always returning to combative techniques. Beyond the realm of fitness, they also help prepare fighters for the ring with MMA training in the form of submission-grappling lessons and full-speed, pad-assisted kickboxing.
Planet Fitness' massive, brightly colored edifice teems with aerobic, strength-training, tanning, and massage options, tailored to suit burgeoning buffs of all ages and abilities. A full range of cardio equipment is complemented by an elite team of fitness trainers, whose services are available to members without charge. After an intense muscle-pummeling on the extensive selection of strength-training equipment and free weights, valiant athletes and masochistic vampires alike may bask in the unlimited artificial sunshine of the gym's tanning booths. Meanwhile, an army of shiatsu massage chairs stands at the ready, twiddling soothing robot thumbs and waiting to coax tension from tired tendons. With the gym’s annual membership fee waived for one year, exercisers easily sidestep one obstacle on the path to becoming Greek statues with baker's dozen-pack abs (a $39 value).