On a mission to combat health-club monotony, founder Jared Kuka replaced the repetitive motions of stationary machines with goPerformance & Fitness's mantra of fun, active, and functional training. Personal trainers at each 24-hour facility keep clients motoring with drills that mirror real-life motions, such as CrossFit techniques, medicine ball throws, and high-speed briefcase unlocking. Ropes, kettlebells, chains, tires, and agility ladders challenge clambering limbs while FreeMotion Fitness gear amps up cardio workouts. With customized routines for small groups or one-on-one sessions, staff members scale their innovative workouts to all fitness levels, and can round out exercise regimens with dietary tips.
The ochre walls of Bikram Yoga Cedar Knolls bring to mind vast and peaceful deserts while certified instructors lead yoga students through challenging poses in a 100-plus-degree studio. During 90-minute classes, instructors assist students in mastering Bikram’s fixed sequence of 26 challenging postures. These poses, when performed correctly, sculpt lean muscle mass and increase flexibility enough to help students reach that python hiding under the fridge. Since the yoga room is hot, students are advised to bring a mat and towels and drink plenty of water before class.
The Sing With Me curriculum stretches back to the late 19th century, when a duo of sisters and early-education researchers composed the tune that would eventually become "Happy Birthday to You." Donating the popular song's royalties to a foundation, the song eventually financed the research of Ken Guilmartin, who was pursuing the role of music in early cognitive development. Teaming up with fellow researcher Lili Levinowitz, Guilmartin founded Music Together LLC, a system of musical learning that allowed kids from birth to age 7 and their parents to access the joys of music together in a fun, supportive environment. Although not every child is destined for a career as a concert pianist, Sing With Me’s teachers start from the philosophy that all children have some innate musical sense and can be taught to sing in tune, move rhythmically, and distinguish a recorder from a Charleston Chew.
The instructors at Prana Yoga Center help visitors connect with the mind, body, and spirit through yoga and Pilates classes inside an elegant studio. A peaceful sanctuary that was voted Best Yoga Studio by readers of Morris/Essex Health & Life, Prana Yoga Center’s practice space emulates Hindu culture with rustic tile and wood details, mottled orange and yellow walls, and a tranquil golden icon. Classes range from gentle, meditative sessions to advanced sequences, including twists, arm balances, and back bends, most of which do not require students to have rubber skeletons. The studio also hosts events such as introductory workshops, guest instructors, candlelight yoga, and special mommy-and-me classes.
At Revolution Cycling Studio, founder, certified spin expert, and personal trainer Traci Sakellakis leads a team of instructors who know firsthand how life-changing—perhaps even addictive—spinning can be. Class leader Jennifer Giordano became hooked on cycling almost by accident: one Saturday afternoon 10 years ago, her brother invited her for a "leisurely" bike ride that ended up stretching a whopping 33 miles. She rose to the occasion, and now encourages others to meet their own fitness goals. Additionally, fellow staffer Christian Ramos was overweight and out of shape before he started cycling, but has since lost more than 80 pounds and helps students do the same.
Motivating shouts and energizing beats from the sound system keeps students’ heart rates high as they pedal within the small, intimate studio. Some classes even feature themed music, such as tunes by "one-hit wonders" or a celebration of the British Invasion. Throughout the workout, the computerized Star Trac spinner bike provides continuous feedback on the exercisers' heart rate and distance travelled. The crew incorporates weight training and ab work into some sessions and also offers teen classes that are ideal for adolescent people or full-grown Keebler elves seeking stress relief.
Warrior Gym’s founder John Alvino’s strength-, core-, and conditioning-based workouts are designed to increase strength and decrease body fat to jump-start transforming your body. Training involves whipping battle ropes, doing handstands and chin-ups, and hefting kettlebells during routines personalized by one of the trainers who coach the sessions. These trainers create a motivating, positive environment and give plenty of personal attention as students sprint, roll, and lunge up and down the fairway of turf that runs through the middle of the gym and doubles as a mini-golf course with live human obstacles on the weekend.