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 two hours, tipplers sample four different wines perfectly paired with elegant appetizers or desserts handmade from scratch by Nafi's kitchen. For those who wish to duplicate the exquisite dishes at home, recipes are available upon request. 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.
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 classes in boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and hand-to-hand kangaroo combat. In all, there are more than 35 group classes offered weekly, each one led by a professional or top amateur fighter. Session sizes are kept to a minimum, ensuring personal attention and manageable battle royale numbers. Gyms also offer a full range of fitness equipment to supplement time spent with a bag or in the ring.
When you did fitness alone, you couldn’t figure out the machines, did a wimpy walk on the treadmill, went home, and ate Funyuns. Today’s Groupon brings back the buddy system with $75 for three 45-minute personal training sessions at Fitness Together, a $225 value. With 13 participating locations in the DC metro area, you're bound to pass one on your way to the grocery store and four on your way to the grocery store that carries your favorite brand of Yoo-Hoo.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.