Joao Amaral is so tough, he teaches cops how to fight. The head coach at the Brazilian Top Team (BTT) studios in both Boca Raton and Boston, Amaral boasts a resumé that includes training law-enforcement departments and winning in tournaments such as the Brazilian national championships. At the Boca Raton facility, Joao and assistant coach Matt Janzer lead group and private classes that include both gi and no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu; the former is a grappling technique that aims to give smaller people the leverage to take down a larger assailant, and the latter is more like traditional wrestling. BTT's muay thai classes, featuring a style of boxing often used in cross-training with jiu-jitsu instruction, can be adapted for those interested in competitive fighting or for those simply looking to get fit or learn self-defense.
Maximum Fitness Club has it all: group classes, personal training, strength and cardio training, massage, and even tanning. The 10,000-square-foot facility has more than 50 cardio machines and offers 35 fitness classes each week, including boot camp and Zumba, not to mention member perks such as free childcare. Maximum Fitness Club also offers a free customized workout plan, known as S.L.E.D. (Stronger Leaner Every Day), to help simplify the gym-going experience with a worksheet of exercises to complete, as well as a way to receive ongoing feedback from trainers.
At Master Lowell's Mixed Martial Arts, experienced martial artists help clients increase flexibility, develop self-defense skills, and relieve stress through classes in disciplines such as MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing. In his earlier days, Master Jonathan Lowell competed internationally in martial-arts tournaments, winning medals in California and Florida state competitions and training in Japan and Israel. Today, he imparts the wisdom he has gained over the decades through his gym's varied curriculum.
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 at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on location.
As its name suggests, Taylor's Fitness Club - North Wind Martial Arts Academy leads a double life. For students seeking to master the moves and disciplines of kickboxing and the martial arts, it's a dojo of learning. For those hoping to improve their abilities to lose weight, tone their bodies, and walk up flights of stairs without huffing and puffing like the Little Engine That Could, it is haven of fitness. Leading the way is Sensei James Taylor. He boasts 23 years of training, backed by a seventh-degree black belt in Shito-ryu karate, first-degree black belt in Katsugo kickboxing, and NETA certification as a personal trainer. He calls on his resume of dual abilities to lead a combination of high-intensity boot-camp-style classes and martial arts sessions.