In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Redmond Athletic Club stands as a ziggurat built in honor of fitness. The 7,500-square-foot space resonates with music, vibrant colors, and natural light as personal trainers walk the spacious floors helping exercisers zero in on fitness goals. The open layout inspires exercisers as they gaze over rows of Precor ellipticals and exercise balls, stretch in the warmup area, or jog on treadmills. A strength-training room teems with equipment such as plate-loaded machines and free weights. Dry saunas and complimentary towel service soothe sore muscles after adventures in sweating and sculpting. From a childcare staff that watches over kids at the Kids Club while parents work out to the group of trainers, RAC's crack team of employees dehassles the gym experience.
Located across the street from Redmond Town Center, Bikram Hot Yoga Redmond is run by a devoted team of yogis. Walking past cheerful black-and-white striped awnings and into a studio with lots of light and 10-foot ceilings, students get ready to practice 26 traditional asanas on an antibacterial rubber floor. The Bikram system—known for its use of heat in excess of 100 degrees—is designed to work every major muscle and organ system while detoxifying the body and boosting flexibility. A certified instructor teaches every class, including the original 90-minute class as well as the 60-minute condensed class that helps students with packed schedules.
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 in cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group sessions, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, bolster flexibility during yoga, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
At the Gold's Gym Northwest locations, instructors lead water-aerobics sessions within 25-yard salt-purified pools before cooling off in spacious hot tubs. The gyms also boast innovative cardio cinema theaters, where popular films and concession-stand advertisements flicker across massive flat screens as guests peddle away on treadmills and elliptical machines. After lively rounds of racquetball, members can unwind in steam rooms and saunas or sip on replenishing smoothies at the juice bar. During the week, the gyms keep round-the-clock hours.
Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.