Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
A multi-time national champion himself, sixth-degree karate black belt and Ohio Martial Arts Hall of Famer Jeff Gears is passionate about helping people reach their goals. This is true whether a student is looking to tone up or become proficient in a new sport. Each instructor at Jeff Gears MMA has been hand-picked not only based on their martial-arts proficiency, but for their ability to relate their experience to students at all skill levels. Kids classes are available in karate, and adults can choose from muay thai, cardio kickboxing, or krav maga self-defense sessions.
At Sylvania Family Karate, third-degree black belt Randy Kopke teaches Okinawan goju ryu karate to an array of fist sizes. During his adult and youth karate classes?the latter of which can accommodate ages as young as four?he helps improve students' discipline and focus while teaching them to adopt a more positive attitude. To simplify matters, he outfits each student with their own karate uniform.
At Japan Karate Academy, karate isn't the only art students learn—the veteran instructors also teach kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and traditional sword work. Helmed by Master A. K. Geelani, a martial artist certified by the World Karate Federation, the team of sensei also integrates strong values into their self-defense classes, such as perseverance and discipline.
Since 1998, the International Boxing Club has worked hard to reach out and touch the lives of more than 4,000 disenfranchised youths by promoting confidence, self-discipline, and focus. The center's programs have allowed thousands of children to do better in school and develop a strong understanding of both physical and mental discipline. Although youth programs are the main focus at the club, the staff also cater to students of all ages with amateur-boxing and Zumba classes as well as Boxercise, a nonviolent aerobic workout that is best performed inside a refrigerator box.