Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers work to torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room, ideal for drenching annoyingly dry towels. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
CrossFit SoCo’s functional-training exercises aren’t just inspired by Olympic events such as weightlifting, gymnastics, and track and field. They’re taught by certified coaches who’ve trained for them and other high-level competitions. When director Kevin Montford is not at the gym, he helms America For Gold, a nonprofit that supports athletes training for the Olympics. In addition to leading challenging CrossFit fundamentals group workouts, he demonstrates his athletic prowess at the Ironman triathlon and adventure races such as the ESPN X-Games.
During the classes and one-on-one training sessions, the instructors motivate patrons of all fitness levels through functional-training movements such as pushing, pulling, and lifting. They add resistance to these movements with tools such as barbells, gymnastics rings, and tires large enough to outfit Paul Bunyan’s stretch limo. Running fortifies many workouts as well, boosting endurance as it torches calories. Personal attention helps exercisers perfect their form and technique, and an encouraging atmosphere propels them toward goals such as weight loss, increased strength, and the ability to crab-walk across the entire 7,500-square-foot gym.
Suzanne Smith incorporates a background in neuromuscular massage therapy into her Pilates curriculum to help participants increase flexibility and free themselves from joint aches and body pains. Using an array of specialized body-limbering equipment, such as the Reformer and Cadillac, Suzanne brings stiff and stubborn sinews under her gentle yet firm tutelage, teaching them to open up to a fuller range of motion while letting go of tightly clasped tension and faded photographs of old flames. Classes meet six days each week and are capped at five students, creating space for intensive personal instruction and individual muscle whispering.
The Fitness Factory of Colorado Springs bases its workouts on the simple idea that people can have fun and get a rigorous cardio workout at the same time. Bumping Latin and international tunes set a dance-party rhythm in the studio’s Zumba classes that blend cha-cha, salsa, reggaeton, rumba, and other dance styles to create high-energy routines. The beginner-friendly courses range from traditional Zumba to Zumba Toning sessions, designed to sculpt specific muscles, and Zumba Gold, aimed at exercise newbies. Yoga sessions and hip-hop lessons complement the core of Zumba offerings. Students can sample four different styles at the Saturday Morning Mixer, where they can select their own workouts from 30-minute mini-classes rather than cobbling together an entire gym from used shoes.
Named the Best Pilates Studio by CityVoters in 2009, Pila Vires wins over clients by offering expertly individualized attention in a fun group setting. The studio's friendly instructors are highly trained and certified, ensuring that every student under their guidance learns and performs each movement properly without spraining a muscle or offending a double-jointed wombat. With today's Groupon in tow, you get to attend five floor classes of your choice, which include Pilates mat, which welcomes students of all skill levels to stretch and sweat through 60 minutes of challenging poses and prop-wielding; Gyrokinesis, which serves up a fluid blend of yoga, dance, gymnastics, and tai-chi techniques to promote deep relaxation and alleviate chronic pain (please bring a large bath towel or blanket); yoga gentle flow, which is as gentle and flowing as a feather adrift on an early-autumn sneeze; and yoga power Vinyasa, which is geared toward students seeking a high-energy core-strengthening workout.
For Dawn King, fitness instruction started as a hobby to supplement college athletics, and as a way to keep her off-season body in shape. But after graduating, the extracurricular activity took center stage, but it wasn’t until she became the head fitness instructor at a club in Key Largo that she tried Pilates. Not only did it ease an old sports injury, but it also increased her everyday energy levels.
Today, Dawn heads a team of instructors at Sun Pilates. They lead a succinct yet diverse selection of classes that includes Vinyasa yoga, body barre, and mat Pilates. Their proprietary Hike-ilates classes integrate Pilates techniques with an outdoor hike, during which practitioners help students correct gait and balance, unlearning habits formed from years of competitive hopscotch. An additional lineup of kids’ classes introduces tykes to cardio, martial arts, and even Spanish in a movement class that incorporates language lessons.
Certified yoga instructor Kelly Elliott has been uncovering the depth of her strength, body awareness, and spirituality since she first discovered yoga in 1994, a time when the Internet wasn't around to point people to their new pastimes or virtual dog-food bazaars. This longtime practice has helped alleviate the pain caused by her scoliosis and lower-back problems, and she enthusiastically shares yoga’s healing benefits with her students through Vinyasa, gentle, and basic yoga classes. Fellow instructors Tina Garcia, who completed her teacher training in early 2012, and Sonya Bergeron, who has been practicing for over 15 years, join Kelly in her practice and help students of all ages and abilities forge strong connections between mind and body while marrying breath with movement through a continuous flow of postures. The studio also benefits from the instruction of Elena Hebert, who teaches yoga to help others find strength, awareness, and peace, and Xenia Kempf, whose classes promote flexibility and physical and mental balance.