UFC competitor Clay Guida's job is to lock himself in a cage with a sinewy monster who is just frothing to roundhouse, uppercut, and strangle him until he can't move anymore. More often than not, he's the last one moving. With four knockouts, 15 submission holds, and nine matches called by the ref, Clay's winning record—and his allergy to getting knocked out—speak to the well-rounded approach to strikes, grappling moves, and defensive techniques he teaches his students.
Whether he's training fighters for the ring, kids to stand up to bullies, or hearts to pump right in MMA family-fitness classes, he maintains a comfortable and controlled environment. Martial-arts classes, striking workshops for women, and children’s programs take place in Clay’s 6,500-square-foot facility lined with shock-absorbing Zebra and full-wall mats. Students spar in full octagon and boxing rings to simulate real-world blood sport and hammer home their techniques on a plethora of striking bags and pads. For people who want the fitness without the fighting, his exercise sessions take place in a separate strength-and-conditioning area filled with kettlebells, weights, ropes, treadmills, sandbags, and tires.
The experienced instructors at TM Martial Arts aim to help their students strengthen more than muscles in their hapkido, tae kwon do, and self-defense classes. They prize the character development and cognitive benefits—such as self-confidence, perseverance, and improved concentration—that people can experience with regular practice. That said, their American kickboxing and Ultimate Fitness programs blend strength training with sparring drills to help students reshape their bodies and embrace fitness for the rest of their lives, no matter their age or starting level.
The instructors at Apex Martial Arts and Fitness are so passionate about their craft that they teach it seven days a week. The schedule is filled with classes in such disciplines as mixed martial arts, sparring, wrestling, jujitsu, and muay thai, which is based on a curriculum developed by UFC fighter Duane "Bang" Ludwig. Most of these class styles are available for adults and kids.
At Tiger Kwon’s Martial Arts, aspiring fighters have the unique opportunity to learn a martial art directly from its founder. Grandmaster Kwon, a ninth-degree black belt with more than 68 years of experience, combined elements of tae kwon do, hapkido, and kickboxing to create his own system—Kwon Mu Do—which he teaches alongside a team of fellow instructors. Other classes offered at the studio include Zumba dance fitness and Turbo Kick cardio kickboxing.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number more than 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
Sixty-one 100-pound punching bags hang from chains like an upside-down fitness forest at Title Boxing Club in Naperville. On any given day, this expansive workout area finds men and women donning gloves and punching or kicking up a sweat in fitness classes built on the fundamentals of competitive boxing and kickboxing training. Group classes, also known as Power Hour sessions, are led by a team of trainers whose previous experience ranges from boxing and playing college football to earning degrees in kinesiology. These classes are complemented by private lessons that make use of the facility?s speed bags, free weights, and cardio machines. An onsite ring allows students to practice their footwork while learning how to protect the face?that is, by learning how to wear Kevlar mustaches.