Read on to learn exactly how that fitness classes leave you with more muscle or better tone.
Bulky upper-body muscles might have hindered early humans who had to chase their prey across the plains, but it could help those who often had to climb trees to adjust their satellite dishes. That’s why the body builds muscle according mostly to use: do enough curls, and the biceps expand. As anyone who has experienced post-workout soreness could intuit, those curls are actually a form of controlled damage, making thousands of miniscule tears to the muscle tissue that beckon autoimmune cells to show up alongside testosterone and other hormones. The white blood cells help switch on satellite cells, which are similar to stem cells. Before they're activated, satellite cells aren't doing much—instead, they lie dormant around muscle fibers until they're called into action to repair torn tissue.
This isn't the only kind of cellular transformation at work in growing muscles. Long muscle cells, which contain several nuclei, can also begin to change type after a workout. Certain kinds of muscle fibers are equipped to handle brief bursts of effort but will quickly become tired if asked to do more intense work. These are the first to disappear as someone starts an exercise routine, as they're converted into fibers with more endurance. This principle is so dramatic that a sports scientist can generally tell whether someone is a professional athlete or a professional mattress model by examining a minute sample of muscle tissue.
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Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
A good gym often resembles a forest, with canopies of crossing metal bars, pulleys, and weights. Snap Fitness boasts a few more jungle-like attributes than most, with a stretch of green turf floor ideal for sprinting and dragging exercises. Clients shed sweat throughout the gym, aided by personal trainers who stop by to provide bits of advice or hour-long sessions of one-on-one attention. Once they've learned to use the weight equipment properly, members can head to the cardio theater for and jog or cycle while watching a favorite show.
Students arrive at Ballroom Dance of NJ seeking to learn the elegant art of social dancing, a tradition carried on by Russia natives Sergei and Olga Bezrodnov. The husband-and-wife team has taken home numerous Russian and U.S. championship titles, and the two are committed to sharing their passion for dance with the community.
Having experienced how ballroom dancing can promote both physical and mental well-being, the Bezrodnovs teach adults, children, and entire families how to gracefully navigate the dance floor. They coordinate events where couples can demonstrate their skills in styles such as the foxtrot, waltz, tango, cha-cha, and swing, preparing soon-to-be-wedded couples for their big day and singles to pass the time in malfunctioning elevators.
At Rhythmatic Martial Arts Academy, the staff strives to make self-defense and fitness accessible to all ages. The shining example of that desire is the studio's tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu programs, which feature time slots for kids, teens, and adults. Customers who want to burn calories can sign up for capoeira or cardio-kickboxing classes.
Yoga & Healing Center offers a variety of classes suited for seasoned contortionists and stiff yogamateurs alike and taught by spirited instructors who boast years of experience in energy-releasing elastitude. Beginners can start with basic fundamental classes or dive headfirst into the damp, purifying world of Bikram or the releasing Soul Sweat class, which packs the wallop of a disco while emphasizing freedom and ease of movement. Gentle Flow yoga is infused with the spiritual laws of Deepak Chopra, cleansing both the body and mind, and silent meditation is open for all students seeking to silence the world’s screams for a while. Students should plan to bring their own mats, towels, and water, though mats are also available to rent. It is best to avoid eating before classes, lest vituperative vittles rebel with belly-based trampoline sessions. Though walk-in classes are available, students are advised to reserve their spaces online.