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.
Like a trip to the all-you-can-dance buffet, Jazzercise incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, and air-busting kickboxing. In 60 minutes of class, participants of all ages and levels will benefit from improving their cardio, strength, and flexibility while burning off up to 500 calories and improving their chances of impressing Kevin Bacon at a celebrity dance-a-thon. Dancing with the Stars two-time champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise’s improvisational workouts, but clients won’t need her encyclopedic knowledge of flashy footwork and spirit-fingered dance moves to get the most out of each class. Those prone to first-class jitters can review the basic moves before their shimmy session.
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.