Though now spread over the United States with 27 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, 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.
In small classes limited to 12 students, the instructors of Body Rituals Studio support their exercisers as they crush challenges and recuperate from injuries in a variety of engaging class styles. Due to the small class sizes, students are given personalized attention, ensuring that beginners gain a solid foundation in proper form as they progress into body-bending machines. Advanced students are catered to as well in classes such as body sculpting, kickboxing, Zumba, and Pilates, with a schedule of morning and evening classes.
Football, track, kenpo karate, rugby, bodybuilding, and cycling all hold a spot on the résumé of Jack Simpson, Body Dynamics II’s owner. He’s held his current title for more than three decades, and backed by a personal-trainer certification, he works toward weight loss and athletic excellence with his clients. Or if they’d rather workout in a group setting, clients can attend boot-camp classes that promise the same fat-busting brand of exercise.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Champion-level weightlifter and Fitness Results founder Lance McCullough hosts small group team training classes and personal training sessions at his multiunit facility. Guests will work out with a certified personal trainer using state of the art equipment. Standout staffers include former University of Kansas football player Rodney Harris who applies his NCAA-honed expertise during fat-burning boot camps, and NSCA Certified Personal Trainer Kevin Guardado.
Filled with velvet draperies, crystal chandeliers, and oversized feathers, Unleashed Fitness channels the posh allure of a burlesque lounge from a bygone era. Here, the daring spirit of America’s first pole dancers lives on, inspiring modern-day women to strut with confidence whether walking down the street or sweating during a fitness class. The studio revolves around flirty fitness classes that use poles and chairs as props for building strength, flexibility, and endurance. During Unleashed Pole classes, attentive instructors lead warm-ups filled with sensual, yoga-inspired toning moves before imparting pole-based spins and slides suitable for any body type or fitness level. Brimming with upbeat music and Latin-inspired dance steps, Zumba classes cultivate positive energy as they melt calories and stress. The studio also hosts private sessions for festive events such as bridal showers, birthday parties, and braces-removal ceremonies. After shimmying and shaking, guests can fill their closets with stylish workout apparel by visiting the Unleashed Fitness boutique.