Within a vibrant, yellow-and-blue-walled workout space, a fleet of free weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers populate the floor. Group workouts take solo regimes a step further, cultivating a sense of community as students perform step aerobics, kickboxing moves, or deeply held yoga poses in a heated studio. Additionally, personal-training sessions allow clients to work with a fitness guru who will custom build a workout that incorporates functional-training tools such as jump ropes, medicine balls, and dip bars, as well as motivating tools such as encouraging words of wisdom and large gentlemen with chainsaws standing behind the treadmills. Guests can drop tots off at the childcare center, which welcomes kids with games, toys, and a television. After workouts, grownups can replenish energy reserves with fresh-fruit smoothies at the adjacent café, where they can also play chess or surf the Internet between weight-lifting sessions. To promote wellness inside and out, they can visit an onsite spa or stop and see the resident chiropractor, who can treat their sports injuries and chronic pain with a range of holistic therapies.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Dance directors Christina Penatello and Ken Hansen have trained underneath champions such as Dancing With the Stars contestant Louis Van Amstel, whose new dance fitness classes, LaBlast, has become a staple of the studio’s schedule. LaBlast classes share schedule space with instruction in cha cha, tango, swing, and other social dances. To sample the studio’s wares, budding dancers can follow in instructors’ rhythmic footsteps during 30-minute introductory sessions, which traverse various modalities with a speed-teaching method. As part of the renowned Fred Astaire franchise, instructors also host social dance parties and choreograph wedding dances for couples who want their first dance to look as effortless as tossing a flaming bouquet.
The indoor-cycling haven boasts a team of motivating trainers dedicated to sculpting participants with challenging, full-body workout classes on the multifitness level RealRyder bikes. Built to imitate bona fide outdoor-cycling apparatuses and effectively easy on your joints, RealRyder bikes steer, turn, and lean with your movements, unlike stationary bikes, which stand around and jealously scoff at sweaty attempts toward betterment.
The family-owned gym has rows of stationary bikes, ellipticals, and weight machines, but CIRIUS Fitness also makes room for the Cross Training Zone. This space, which extends into the parking lot during warmer months, looks nothing like a standard gym. Tires, battling ropes, medicine balls, punching bags?they all play a part in the high-intensity workout. Instead of repetitive pounding on the treadmill or lifts at a weight machine, cross-training constantly switches up fitness routines with the swing of a sledgehammer or thrust of a kettlebell, which keeps both muscles and minds engaged. For other dynamic workouts, guests can try one of the gym's other fitness classes, such as Zumba, yoga, or mixed martial arts.
Having spent many years in the dance and fitness industries, Vanessa Berry knew precisely what to look for in her staff members when she opened Kick Dance Studios more than 10 years ago. Today, staffers include those who have trained at distinguished organizations including the School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, and Broadway Dance Center.
But as proud as she is of her team, Berry is doubly so of her students, including her award-winning dance team. Her facility's two studios constantly bustle with the moves and grooves of highly organized dance classes, which include ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, musical theater, and acrobatics.