A fight between Mr. Miagi and Steve Knopfer would be a fight worth seeing. That's because the highly decorated Steve would be an equal match for the famed fictional teacher: he was dubbed a Master Instructor of the Year by United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2012. That title is the culmination of a long career that started in 1980, when his training in shorin-ryu karate began. Over time, he added styles such as konujutsu, jujitsu, and shotokan to his toolbox of techniques, earning membership with the Lo Man Kam Wing Chun Federation and the Universal Martial Arts Association along the way.
In addition to winning state, regional, and national championships himself, Steve has trained some talented students; his acolytes took 26 state-championship and 12 national-championship titles in 2011 alone. At Impact Wing Chun and the Karate Connection, this seasoned fighter leads classes on wing chun and Chinese kickboxing, as well as championship programs in karate, jujitsu, and maintaining a constant steely gaze.
For A.M. Fitness Groove owner and head instructor Ajia Maximillian, working out should be a party that you look forward to, not something you dread at the end of the day. To that end, she opened her dance-fitness studio to spice up workouts, while catering to the busy schedule of New Yorkers. Sessions start at 6:30 a.m., allowing students to burn calories during a Zumba or boot-camp class before heading into work as the mayor’s bagel tester. Ajia also offers “express” midday classes that easily squeeze into a lunch break, with the hope that clients can get their workout in during the day, leaving time for friends, family, and relaxation in the evenings. And to boost energy levels and overall fun, she infuses her up-tempo dance classes with elements from her background in West African drumming, hip-hop, and Congolese dancing.
At Your Time Fitness, members pump iron and fortify their heart 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a key card that grants access any time. Cardio-training equipment, such as treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals, lets clients sweat without the hassle of hiring a personal interrogator, whereas strength-training equipment, such as free weights, adjustable benches, and squat racks, boosts muscular prowess. To take the mathematical calculations out of muscle toning, the gyms’ full Cybex resistance-machine circuit targets every muscle group without a thought, letting patrons go from one to the next for an easy, no-nonsense workout.
Bodily makeovers go even further with a session from Your Time’s team of certified personal trainers. Fitness pro Jesper Anderson stepped into the spotlight when he trained a contestant in season 3 of The Biggest Loser; the contestant lost 118 pounds and went on to become a runner-up in the competition.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
ArtInspired pools together various forms of art to spark creativity and help members make positive lifestyle changes. In one part of the facility, visitors wade through the depths of their imagination during educational programs, including in graphics, photography, marketing and design. To burn off stored-up energy, those same visitors may want to slide into their workout gear and take part in ArtInspired's collection of dance-based fitness classes. The classes–which steer away from typical group fitness routines–include Zumba, Bollywood dance, and hip-hop, among others.
Hampton Ballroom, which first opened its floors 20 years ago, houses a team of instructors passionate about helping students become well versed in a wide variety of dances. The expert teachers lead group classes to get feet sashaying to styles such as salsa, foxtrot, rumba, cha-cha, and tango, and also offer one-on-one private lessons. Wall-to-wall mirrors flank the wood-floor studios, allowing participants to keep an eye on their moves and to scope out any vampires in disguise.