Within Bikram Yoga of Los Angeles' Covina studio, Dr. Vern Rollins helms a team of certified and passionate instructors who have taught thousands of classes and accrued hundreds of teacher-training hours. As the studio's temperature summits to 105 degrees with 40% humidity, these instructors model and explain poses, encourage deep breathing, and tiptoe around puddles. Thanks to their intimate knowledge of modifications, they capably assist students of all levels. Further, they maintain a flexible schedule of morning and evening classes that are 90 minutes apiece.
Bikram’s 26 poses and two breathing exercises work to engage the entire body with the strength and grace of a full-contact symphony-orchestra performance. Systematically isolating muscle groups one at a time, the poses begin on a mat and work up to a standing position, gradually building stamina and flexibility and jump-starting circulation. As waves of heat loosen limbs enough to make sea-anemone shadow puppets, the body begins to sweat and release toxins. The studio rents yoga mats and has onsite showers.
Filled with velvet draperies, crystal chandeliers, and oversized feathers, Unleashed Fitness channels the posh allure of a burlesque lounge from a bygone era. Here, the daring spirit of America’s first pole dancers lives on, inspiring modern-day women to strut with confidence whether walking down the street or sweating during a fitness class. The studio revolves around flirty fitness classes that use poles and chairs as props for building strength, flexibility, and endurance. During Unleashed Pole classes, attentive instructors lead warm-ups filled with sensual, yoga-inspired toning moves before imparting pole-based spins and slides suitable for any body type or fitness level. Brimming with upbeat music and Latin-inspired dance steps, Zumba classes cultivate positive energy as they melt calories and stress. The studio also hosts private sessions for festive events such as bridal showers, birthday parties, and braces-removal ceremonies. After shimmying and shaking, guests can fill their closets with stylish workout apparel by visiting the Unleashed Fitness boutique.
Champion-level weightlifter and Fitness Results founder Lance McCullough hosts small group team training classes and personal training sessions at his multiunit facility. Guests will work out with a certified personal trainer using state of the art equipment. Standout staffers include former University of Kansas football player Rodney Harris who applies his NCAA-honed expertise during fat-burning boot camps, and NSCA Certified Personal Trainer Kevin Guardado.
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 along 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.
Football, track, kenpo karate, rugby, bodybuilding, and cycling all hold a spot on the résumé of Jack Simpson, Body Dynamics II’s owner. He’s held his current title for more than three decades, and backed by a personal-trainer certification, he works toward weight loss and athletic excellence with his clients. Or if they’d rather workout in a group setting, clients can attend boot-camp classes that promise the same fat-busting brand of exercise.
Though now spread over the United States with 27 locations, Crunch gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment, not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty years later, Crunch gyms' fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.