You might see "Motown" or "80s" on the schedule, but InSync Cycle Studio is not a dance venue. These events still involve plenty of legwork, though—students pedal aboard stationary bikes as invigorating music blares all the while. During these sessions, they'll surmount imaginary hills with real resistance, or zoom through long straightaways at high speeds. Some might be marathoners, and others might be first-timers. It doesn't matter to the instructor at the head of the class, who makes sure that everyone's workout is suited to their experience.
Typically, these instructors are the ones in charge of the music. Most classes aren't themed, but follow a mix of tunes that mesh with the teacher's taste. Some will even time the rhythm of their inclines and sprints to match the song, which is why "Flight of the Bumblebee" has been banned forever. Regardless of the soundtrack, each low-impact lesson helps to tone muscle and build endurance in a communal, encouraging space.
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 in cardio routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Studio Booseh owner Souzan Mills grew up in Iran, surrounded by the performances of lifelong belly dancers. Since arriving in America, she has competed in the Miss Belly Dance competition, performed alongside Persian and Arab celebrities, and obtained her personal-training certification. Today she blends her passion for dance and her background in fitness into Studio Booseh, a women-only boutique gym.
Inside her classrooms, Souzan and a team of international instructors lead eight kinds of dance classes, including belly dance, Bollywood, and flamenco. They also offer fitness-focused dance derivatives that burn calories and build long, lean muscles, including Zumba, barre fitness, and pole dancing.
The instructors at Inner Drive Fitness take their cycling seriously. Astride state-of-the-art FreeMotion S11 stationary bicycles, they turn indoor cycling classes into adventures, replicating the rush of real-life races with footage splashed across a large-screen projection system. Their top-of-the-line audio system also keeps students motivated, pumping out techno jams and invigorating bald eagle screeches. The high-octane cycling sessions often blend in aspects of other fitness disciplines, with classes incorporating everything from strength training to yoga moves.
The mission to motivate others doesn't stop at Aim High Studio's name. Whether leading sweaty cyclists through a virtual Grand Canyon, stretching limbs in a heated yoga studio, or strengthening hugs with TRX bands, the instructors always strive to help each student meet his or her individual goals. To accomplish this, they maintain small class sizes and offer one-on-one and small-group personal-training sessions. They encourage students to modify their workouts and blend their methods––some classes even combine spinning and yoga. The staff also encourages its guests to meet their fitness goals by assuming a holistic approach via bodywork. Deep-tissue and trigger-point massage therapy joins Thai-yoga bodywork and nutrition counseling on the docket of comprehensive mind and body care.
Jennifer Anello, BodyRide’s owner, is a certified spin instructor—and while BodyRide is a boutique spinning gym, Jennifer’s love for dance still shines through in her classes. Songs such as Rihanna’s “Phresh Out the Runway” and Skrillex’s “Bangarang” motivate students as they bike. Her workouts also blend pedaling with her signature upper body moves such as lifting weights, pushups, and crunches so that, like dancing, her classes tone the full body.
These BodyRide classes, for which her studio is named, are just one of eight available spinning class styles. Other variations focus on intense calorie burning, or recreate the experience of outdoor biking with simulated hills, roads, and honks from encouraging drivers.