CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Certified wine expert Nafiseh Roomina edifies guests with knowledge and experience to help budding palates blossom and pair food with wine according to complementary tastes. Over the course of 90 minutes, tipplers sample four different wines paired with elegant appetizers or desserts hand made by the host. Tastings reveal reasons behind common conventions, such as swirling the glass to oxygenate the liquid, and help develop a vocabulary to describe flavor profiles as "buttery" or "beyond words". Request a specific topic, such as a chronological "vertical" tasting of grapes from a single vintage, or let Nafi hone in on famous regions, seasonal libations, or popular varietals including pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Those boasting a rich bouquet of wine knowledge or concealing an extensive cheat-sheet inside a moustache may investigate the concept of terroir, which encompasses the importance of various soil types and their effects on cultivation and production. Classes take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. in a sophisticated, casual environment. Sign up online or train a messenger pigeon to deliver a tangible statement of interest.
While some may view yoga as an effective way to mock the movements of household pets, Thrive Yoga's instructors delve into the art form’s fitness, spiritual, and meditative aspects. A stone pathway snakes through lush foliage growing from walls and decorative rocks, leading the way to a studio with spacious open ceilings and hand-painted artwork on the walls. Here, more than 40 classes and weekly workshops are taught by a staff well versed in making hands-on adjustments to individualize the experience for their students. Studio owner Susan Bowen leads a team of more than 20 instructors, each of whom bring their own expertise and backgrounds to bare as they teach.
In addition to traditional Hatha, Vinyasa flow, and hot-yoga sessions, instructors lead specialized workshops in styles such as prenatal yoga. Another specialty class, aerial yoga, employs the use of silk hammocks to suspend limbs from the floor, which is safer than tying dental floss around a light fixture and hoping for the best. The studio even offers teacher-certification training and engages small private parties with a yoga lesson, meditation, and Reiki healing. Thrive also maintains a boutique of yoga supplements such as mats, props, DVDs, books, and clothing.
LA Boxing offers fitness classes in boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. The proprietary style of the LA Boxing workout is a mixture of genuine fight training, engaging fitness, and stronger-than-Earth gravity. Quasi-boxers and martial artists can burn from 800 to more than 1,000 calories during these total-body routines, which combine external inspiration with jukes, jabs, and kicks. Both men and women are welcome in the ring, where they'll learn new techniques and methods to blissfully break into a sweat in an energetic group setting. Gloves are provided during the month-long trial membership, as are a set of reusable hand wraps and complimentary motivational mumbling from Mickey Goldmill (all three subject to availability).
The muscle tutors at Fitness Together will work with you to determine your goals (drop pounds, run a marathon, get strong enough to finally confront Douglas) and develop a customized workout plan designed to help you reach your true fitness potential. They’ll supervise your squats, offer nutritional advice, and push you until you see results. Individualized attention means it’s all about you—your trainer can point out when you’re doing a stretch incorrectly, help you tone the trouble zones, and push you to keep going when you’d otherwise quit or become distracted by the fragile beauty of a passing hummingbird.
Inside the spotless studio celebrating its 11th year of providing instruction, the heat swirls around the students of Bikram Yoga Rockville, lending to a warm, dynamic setting as they bend and pose. Each 90-minute session sends students flowing through a set of 26 postures, lead by the guidance of a certified, experienced, and nurturing instructor and wise words carved into the floor by previous students. The instructor provides students with comprehensive instructions for each pose—one building on the next to strengthen all the muscle groups—while offering corrections or modifications so all levels can practice together. Mats and towels are available for rental should students not have their own.