Aikido is the "loving protection of all beings," in the words of Morihei Ueshiba, who created the martial-arts style. Although it sometimes incorporates wooden weapons, at its heart, aikido seeks to act as a replacement for violence. Greg O'Connor, founder and chief instructor at Aikido Centers of New Jersey, brings Ueshiba's tenets to his students, who have included children and seniors, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Secret Service. O'Connor and more than 40 other instructors teach students self-defense tactics that redirect attacks, as well as more advanced methods that include wooden sword and staff training and aikido's dramatic falls and rolls.
The instructors at Vida Wellness Studio help patrons work towards fitness and overall happiness through workshops and fitness classes. Chattering drumbeats ripple from speakers during belly-dance sessions, which draw on techniques from Oriental, Caribbean, and Latin American dance traditions to bolster flexibility and build core strength. Little feet patter on the floor during kids’ classes that encourage fitness and self-expression through dance. When not eliciting choruses of relaxed sighs through yoga poses, instructors draw upon boxing and martial-arts techniques to tone your physique and make it more believable that Die Hard was based on your life. Core strengthening is maximized by controlled movement through Pilates training. Special wellness events at the center have included nutrition classes and musical jam sessions.
Aiming to beautify its clients inside and out, the instructors at Serenity Yoga and Wellness Spa guide their patrons in zapping stress with five types of yoga and nurture their skin with signature facials and massages. In an effort to spread even more benefits, they regularly host workshops, philosophy classes, and family yoga. Students line up their mats on hardwood floors in the studio, where windows let natural light flow across sky-blue walls.
After an ankle injury cut Coach José Ramos’s football career short, he started helping others get ready for competitions or simply to look their best through expert guidance and fitness training. With professional certifications from national sports medicine federations and years of experience as an athlete and boxer, Ramos helps his clients achieve fitness goals no matter their body type, skill level, or age. Private personal training sessions push students to strengthen their bodies through customizable workout regimens, while small-group and boot camp classes give pupils the support of a tight-knit community of athletes. With a focus on one-on-one or small-group sessions and functional kettlebell and sandbag exercises, Prime Performance keeps its students fit without asking them to spend tedious hours shuffling along on a treadmill or wrestling with an exercise droid.
The Overtime Sports team of coaches and personal trainers trains novice and professional athletes for greater performance in indoor and outdoor sports. They work with individual athletes and teams during one-on-one or small-group sessions within an expansive 40,000-square-foot space that includes an indoor football-style field and a weight-training area. They show players how to hone their swings and survive the inevitable uprising of pitching machines in the batting cages, and help basketball and volleyball players master the fundamentals on an indoor court. The Overtime Sports staff also fosters a team environment with adult and youth leagues, and also hosts sports-themed birthday parties.
Devoted exclusively to indoor cycling, High Velocity Indoor Cycling Studio houses 12 Spinner NXT stationary bikes, allowing for small and intensely focused training sessions. The interval-based workouts are led by a team of trainers who make custom playlists to match the tempo and intensity of each session and blast them over the studio’s immersive sound system, motivating their students through each 45- to 60-minute session.
At CKO Kickboxing, combatants wage one-hour battles against an army of heavy bags. The weighted punching bags dangle in two long rows as participants unleash flurries of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows upon them until they agree to personally train them. CKO's instructors emphasize the fitness aspects of kickboxing over a traditional martial-arts education, peppering sessions of punches and kicks with plyometrics and cross training to sculpt and strengthen the entire body. Students of all skill levels are welcome in each class, and beginners are encouraged to progress at their own pace.