What began as eight racquetball courts in 1978 has grown into a family fitness center housing exercise machines, group classes, indoor pools, volleyball, basketball, and a smoothie bar. Penfield Fitness and Racquet Club members make use of an endless supply of free weights and Technogym or Life Fitness cardio equipment equipped with TVs for personal viewing.
A team of trainers leads 99 group fitness classes each week, such as Zumba dance aerobics, Pilates, and yoga as well as nationwide programs including Les Mills and SilverSneakers. In keeping with their heritage, trainers host racquetball lessons, leagues, and tournaments for adults and children. Members can take advantage of free childcare services and cool off after workouts at the club’s onsite smoothie bar instead of attempting to somersault into a passing ice-cream truck.
The top-level Pilates, GyroMovement, and cardio equipment at Pilates Plus rivals that of a high-end health club, complete with a full-service spa. It's the instructors, however, who use their years of training and unbridled passion for fitness to foster the tight-knit, motivational community of a small gym. Whether conducting yoga classes or doling out healthy tips at the nutritionist-run, onsite café, the staff goes out of its way to make fitness a convenient part of its patrons' lives. The spa's therapeutic massages, facial peels, and waxing treatments make for great post-workout rewards, and the heat from the infrared sauna sinks more deeply into skin than in traditional saunas to further encourage weight loss or make popsicles easier to drink.
Mark Sandler and Carrie Gaynor—co-directors of Absolute Yoga & Wellness—teach yoga as an extension of the healing arts they both practice. Mark focuses on the mind, bringing his studies of yogic philosophy and psychology under Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati to the classroom. Carrie draws upon the medical know-how she garnered in her two decades as a nurse to enhance the benefits of her practice. Together, they seek to restore health to bodies through exercise and associated physical therapies, such as kinesis myofascial integration and yoga therapy.
Bodhi Tree Yoga's expert instructors support eager body benders using methods inspired by Anusara yoga's therapeutic techniques and life-affirming philosophy. A combination of meditation, breath work, and active and resting poses will refresh work-worn bodies and prepare limbs for the various contortions needed to successfully obtain a Klondike bar. Fledgling flexors looking for an energizing escape can combine Vinyasa-style flowing movements with Anusara alignment principles for a fun, fast-paced, dynamic flow class, and beginners can round out their bends slowly in any of Bodhi’s other courses. An array of seasonal sessions will fit even the least flexible schedule, with varying class times throughout the week and morning classes offered on Saturdays and Sundays.
As a member of TeamBeachBody and an ISSA-certified personal trainer, Eric Shaw knows how to avoid fitness pitfalls. He encourages his pupils to "live richly" by abstaining from shortcuts and consistently testing their physical limits. His routines adjust programs such as P90X and Insanity to suit distinct goals, shunning the monotonous cookie-cutter workouts that force clients to carve gingerbread men out of cement. Dietary and supplement advice round out Eric's transformation plans, which target entire lifestyles instead of just muscles.
At Prana Yoga, students gather beneath the wings of swans, which float across the studio's wall toward the inspirational quote "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." Here, such wisdom surfaces from within as minds clear and muscles strengthen. During the signature Vinyasa flow class, the temperature rises to loosen tight muscles and oust squatting toxins. Students match deep, relaxing breaths with a series of ancient poses as teachers, such as studio cofounder Carrie Herscovici, circulate the room, lighting candles and gently adjusting bodily alignment. Drawing from her training with power-yoga superstar Baron Baptiste and Indian sage Senthil Kumar, Carrie inspires her students to surmount both physical challenges and mental unrest, strengthening the body while bringing peace to the mind. In addition to leading classes, she donates 10% of the studio's profits to charity and operates a clothing boutique that helps shoppers integrate yoga into their everyday lives and bow-tie collections.