Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Despite the strengthened core she’d gained while obtaining a Pilates certification, Jennifer Martin found her balance and flexibility taxed when she attended her first ever hot-yoga class. Now, she heads Bodhi Hot Yoga, where students chart the same progress through Vinyasa-style poses tweaked to cultivate toned muscles and increased balance. Performed in heated studios that encourage detoxification and increased pliancy, hot yoga sessions also help students of all fitness levels promote weight loss, increase vitality, and reduce pent-up stress. Classes take place multiple times daily, with private sessions available upon request.
Stuart CrossFit designs classes that are unusual and fun, challenging students to flip tires and pull heavy sleds. Certified instructor Gina Galiano, a lifelong fitness enthusiast, found herself floundering as workouts became boring and tedious. A manifestation of the antidote she discovered, today Gina leads what she calls "eclectic" boot-camp sessions that change from week to week. By keeping the workouts fresh, she hopes to prevent participants from becoming bored and dangerously pretending their dumbbells are hand puppets. Based in cardio and strength training, Gina's 45- to 60-minute workouts eschew fitness-machine doldrums for weight work and exercises that elevate heart rates.
Waves tumbling across sand is one of the most relaxing sounds. It is appropriate, then, given the name of her studio, that instructor Sue Wattenbarger has a soothing voice that doesn’t disturb the sense of calm in a room full of yogis. She calls on that calm demeanor, along with more than 200 hours of training, to guide students through restorative yoga classes. Sue specializes in lymphatic classes that help circulate fluids in the body and strengthen the immune system. The staff there is also experience with guided relaxation massage and yin yoga, which uses longer poses to increase mobility in the joints or make hiding in the National Mannequin Museum all day easier.
Committed boot campers at TRXtreme Boot Camp are all assigned their own coach, who periodically calls them up to provide advice, encouragement, and accountability. The coaches aren’t the stereotypical hollering drill sergeants—they motivate and push campers so that they leave each workout proudly exhausted for having challenged themselves. During each 45-minute boot camp, participants strengthen their core muscles and sculpt their bodies using TRX-suspension training bands, which use body weight as resistance during varying exercises. Workouts constantly change, with coaches getting groups to do exercises that may include squatting twirling heavy ropes, or flipping tires from comically large clown cars. The gym's rubber floor also makes impacts easier on joints so everyone can battle through workouts unhindered.