Since 1988, Midlothian Athletic Club has dedicated its 70,000 square feet to myriad forms of achieving healthy living. Whether members want to hone tennis and racquetball skills, break a sweat in group exercise classes such as spinning and BodyPump, or relax in a sauna, they can do it at the MAC. The staff troll a stock of cardio and strength-training equipment, including FreeMotion Elite weight machines, Life Fitness treadmills and ellipticals, and Precor machines, ready to dole out technique pointers. At the indoor pool, swimmers can get a workout on the lap lanes, slip down water slides, or pretend to be toddlers in the kiddie pool. The club also has six indoor lanes, where instructors lead water-aerobics classes that are gentler on joints than moon aerobics.
To help guests recover after a hard workout, the Midlothian Athletic Club hosts many means of relaxation. The massage therapists calibrate their fingers to several styles of kneading, including deep-tissue, Swedish, and myofascial release massage. At the MAC Cafe, chefs sear turkey burgers, bake lime-chili parmesan fries, and blend protein shakes to order for nutritious refueling.
At Richmond Balance, trainers forge bodies to match the beauty of life-changing events. Their new mommy boot-camp classes help ladies achieve post-pregnancy goals, such as a slimmer stomach or arms that can change stroller tires without a jack. Support remains the common element of these specialized programs—the staff gathers students with similar objectives and capitalizes on a sense of camaraderie. The same method guides the Balanced Buddies system, in which partners share the same personal trainer.
Even outside the communal atmosphere of classes, Richmond Balance prioritizes an intimate, custom approach to health. Its certified trainers will travel to homes for private sessions or supervise clients as they sweat aboard the gym's Precor, Tuff Stuff, and Schwinn equipment. During workouts, guests can occupy their eyes by watching the individual flat-screen televisions on select machines or by counting the exposed bricks on the walls around them.
Sheltering Arms' boot-camp classes whip clients into shape with strength-and-cardio circuit training, and Athletic Republic Acceleration Richmond's individually designed, sport-specific training programs help athletes ages 8 and up play to the best of their ability and avoid injuries. The sports-training option combines high-tech equipment, expert guidance, and hard work to mold baseball, football, track and field, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, baseball, or fast-pitch softball jocks into superhero versions of themselves. Instructors lead students through pre- and post-performance tests of abilities and strengths, as well as an analysis of running form.
At FIT Richmond, workers-out of all proclivities and fitness levels can raise their heart rates and build core strength in 45-minute FIT Group Training classes, which derive their potency from full body exercises and personalized attention. FIT Richmond’s certified personal trainers forsake a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness and instead tailor each workout to fit their students’ specific needs as snugly as a bug in a spandex rug. Workouts operate in a circuit format to ensure that no joints or muscles feel unduly neglected as their owners spread around their sweat-soaked love in even measures.
When the Richmond Alternative Center for Health first opened its doors in 1968, it was meant to be a space where members could attend to every area of their health and fitness. More than four decades later, the center is still committed to that vision. Much of the staff has been around for 15 years or more, creating a tight-knit, welcoming environment that has many people calling them the Cheers of health clubs.
There's plenty of traditional cardio and strength-training equipment, with TVs and wandering minstrels to keep everyone entertained. The bustling class schedule includes Zumba's Latin-inspired aerobic dance party, various styles of yoga, and Les Mills classes, including the sports-inspired BodyAttack. Students can continue to stretch, relax, and meditate within the dedicated mind-body room or hone mind-ball coordination on the basketball or racquetball courts. Personal trainers help members focus in on their individual goals and commit to making progress.
The staff offers wellness consultations to help members evaluate every area of their health, as well as nutrition counseling that can include anything from meal planning to cooking classes. Massage therapists knead away stress and postworkout soreness, and the heat of the cedar sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi also helps bodies unwind. In the lounge area, free WiFi, newspapers, and magazines wait to be appreciated. And the onsite Healthy Cafe blends up smoothies alongside healthy meals and coffee, which members can enjoy right there or take home to share with health-conscious ghosts.
At DSTinction Fitness, the experienced fitness trainers aim shorten calories’ lifespans through a combination of tried and true exercise, detox plans, and body wraps. The team emphasizes effort, expounding the simple truth that slim, fit bodies can generally only be achieved through hard work. This philosophy is evidenced during their boot camp and group run classes, during which students of every fitness level undertake a jaunt through the park and then return for push-ups, squats, and stair climbing. But the team’s adherence to hard work hasn’t made them forget that fitness can be fun. Stiletto classes let ladies don high heels and for sexy low-light sweat sessions and Zumba classes shimmy mid-section to the spicy beats of Latin-infused rhythms.