The gym looks like equal parts Olympic training facility and old warehouse—here, exercisers hoist themselves up rows of pull-up bars, grunt around a collection of kettlebells, and hop through jump-rope routines. On a power-lifting platform, a lifter explodes from a squat, hoisting a plate-loaded bar up to his shoulders and then dropping under it to catch the weight over his head. Elsewhere, athletes do dips on gymnast rings and build a sweat on rowing machines.
This low-tech setting is typical of all true CrossFit gyms. Though the equipment may be basic, the results are not: CrossFit workouts develop all measures of physical fitness—from power to cardiovascular endurance—through workouts that are broad, general, and inclusive. This approach is often described as specializing in not specializing: it develops physical fitness in ways equally beneficial to everyone, from professional mixed martial artists and police officers to weekend softball players.
CrossFit gyms typically start clients in a foundational program where trainers teach the basic movements, such as the squat, dead lift, and pull-up. Every exercise is scalable to a version that clients can complete—a pull-up, for example, can be scaled back to a negative pull-up, a static hang, or body-weight row with gymnast rings. It can also be scaled to a more challenging version, such as the kipped pull-up. After students learn CrossFit's basic movements, they move on to open group classes, which follow the ever-changing WOD, or Workout of the Day. These workouts are short and intense, and they foster camaraderie through frequent team circuits. In addition to supervising WOD class, trainers coach members on nutrition, advocating a caveman-style diet of low-glycemic carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins such as raptor meat.
Lying face down, the students press into their hands into the floor, lifting their heads and shoulders toward the ceiling into cobra pose. As the studio's 100-degree heat pervades their muscles, students feel their spines lengthen, their shoulders broaden, and their chests open. The instructors of Bikram Yoga West Orlando lead participants through this and Bikram‘s 25 other postures every day, combining them with two breathing exercises in a specific sequence that strengthens and lengthens muscles and joints while pumping oxygen-rich blood into the organs, glands, and internal hard drives. Every 90-minute class follows the same routine and challenges participants of all ages and practice levels. Bikram also encourages dedication—the more students practice, the deeper they can go into each pose, reaping benefits including decreased blood pressure, relief from back pain, and lowered stress levels. In addition to their yogic discipline, Bikram Yoga West Orlando's team also arranges spa services, including massage and skincare.
Carrie DeLozier wanted to create a place for women where time disappeared and they could be truly free to focus on their bodies and minds without the distractions of the outside world. That vision became barre54. Each of her studio’s spacious interiors flatters bodies with natural light shining through floor-to-ceiling windows and chandeliers hanging from exposed ceilings. Instructors with backgrounds in dance, theater, and modeling lead 54-minute sessions of isometric exercises and orthopedic stretches, earning the Winter Park location the title of Best Workout Facility from the Orlando Sentinel. The program is an extension of the Lotte Berk Method developed in the 1950s by the German dancer of the same name. Ms. Berk used the body-aligning movements of ballet to recondition her body after a car accident. Since then, various incarnations of her exercises have been practiced by thousands of students including celebrities such as Madonna, Kelly Ripa, and the all-animal cast of Fantasia.
Orlando Fit Body Bootcamp's trainers, Kerry Girona and Andrea Laing, both discovered a passion for sports at a young age and translated their hobbies into careers as fitness coaches fueled by the international Fit Body Bootcamp phenomenon. Each 30-minute boot-camp session coalesces cardio, resistance, core, and flexibility moves that together conduct the kinesthetic symphony of the entire body. Kerry and Andrea design a new workout for each class, detouring muscles away from the plateaus that often come with traditional workouts or glacial hiking trips to Antarctica. Workouts convene indoors, where fit-centric accouterments such as suspension trainers and battling ropes intensify workouts, and cushy foam floors keep joints happy and mute.
Along with classes, boot campers better bods with meal plans that can hasten exercise results by promoting internal fettle or by blueprinting a coup to unseat the Twinkie that controls the brain's cravings. With regular attendance, participants often note a slimmer physique highlighted by lean musculature.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando was founded to give those who share the Jewish tradition a communal setting in which to exercise, play, and learn with one another. Between them, the two locations boast full fitness facilities, tennis courts, and an outdoor pool. Group exercise classes and a gymnasium aid adults in acquiring fitter bodies, and sports leagues provide a venue for grownups to compete and ceremoniously dump sports drinks on each other. The center also puts on its own full-blown theatrical productions.
The center’s staff tailors certain events to the needs of senior citizens, helping them with exercise regimes such as yoga. Staff members also assist the Senior Nite club in organizing trips to new restaurants or the theater and help pintsize guests by helming a preschool, kids' camps, and extracurricular programs. Staffers can even pick up youngsters from school and ferry them to one of the facilities for afterschool development programs, which, like backyard mazes, are designed by the child’s parents to challenge young ones.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 months) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.