As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
As they enter the training circle 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. One minute 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.
FITT Studio hoists a hearty schedule of high-energy workouts set to upbeat music, with buff and heavily certified instructors leading classes such as Zumba, Piloxing, and Turbokick. Apprentices in the fitness-hybrid Piloxing class don a pair of arm-strengthening weighted gloves to perform sculpting Pilates, boxing, and dance moves designed to work cores, burn calories, tone muscles, and knock out opponents made of cheesecake. The Turbokick cardio kickboxing class combines powerful kicks, choreographed dance moves, and high-energy music to keep pupils motivated and full of vim and vigor. Salsa away excess pounds with Zumba dance-fitness sessions under colorful nightclub-style lights geared to create a festive atmosphere. Classes range in size from 10 to 20 students, ensuring individual attention and enough space to comfortably burst from a cocoon and emerge as a butterfly with rippling abs.
In 1998, after 25 years operating health clubs across Phoenix, Kelly Bruce jumped at the opportunity to open his own club, Fitness 1 Gym. Today, Fitness 1 has expanded to locations across Phoenix, each and every one helmed by Kelly and his sons Chad, Richard, and Bobby. “We don’t just own them,” Chad proudly says, “we run them and we’re in the clubs everyday.” The amenities are certainly attractive, but it seems that what has really made Fitness 1 successful is the Bruce's dedication to their family-run enterprise. “I think that our members feel at home,” says Bobby. “I think [they] realize that it’s not a show… they're coming in here to get to work, to get results.”
Members—who are not forced into long-term contracts—can do just that thanks to an array of cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and one-on-one personal training. The studio also offers members free fitness classes, such as Power Yoga, Chiseled, and Xplode—an interval-training class.
At Delight Beauty and Day Spa, aestheticians strive to give patients a retreat from everyday stressors. They stock the waiting room with complimentary beverages and snacks, and while new clients wait, they fill out a form that helps tailor services to their skin and body issues. The spa's private rooms are as quiet and tranquil as a mouse in a library. Clients lie on crisp linens while aestheticians explain their treatments, from facials targeted to skin type to massages that aim to simply relax, reduce chronic muscle aches, or assuage the discomfort of pregnancy. If they are interested, clients can also have staffers inform them about the latest beauty services, such as eyelash extensions or permanent makeup. The team is so experienced in the latter, they train future techs onsite.
Armed with equal parts passion, dedication to the practice, and wisdom gained through teaching certifications, Blissful Yoga Studio's instructors help students achieve lithe, flexible bodies with classes catering to all activity levels. Introductory classes help beginners pay special attention to their alignment and breathing, and hot Vinyasa-flow classes challenge the mind as well as the muscles with a continuous series of empowering postures performed in a room that's heated up to 97 degrees. Instructors also incorporate the studio's specially outfitted wall, using its system of straps to sink students into deeper supported postures during yoga wall stretch sessions, which help them better impersonate the lowercase letter q. In addition to classes, the studio hosts workshops for seniors and those recovering from injuries that cover the basics of the yoga sutras.