Established in 1886, the YMCA of El Paso today offers pools and fitness facilities alongside a wealth of programs, including swimming lessons, sports leagues, and group exercise classes. Adult and youth swim lessons ($20+) enhance aquatic skills, leaving participants better equipped for a future in which all business deals are transacted in wave pools. Youth can throw, kick, punt, and bounce a variety of balls in the many sports leagues available or scuff up gym floors during ballroom-dancing or hip-hop classes. Family activities such as roller-skating and yoga instill a sense of familial togetherness without the groaning and complaints of bonding events such as family tax filing or family gutter cleaning.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines and workouts designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
After spending years immersed in the fitness and athletic industries, Ernesto McLaurin and Kim Brutzman had grown weary of the monotonous exercise equipment found in large corporate gyms. On their search for a more substantial form of fitness free from bulky machines, the two trainers fell in love with the CrossFit program’s high-energy, functional-movement-based workout routines, eventually joining forces to form CrossFit El Paso in 2006. They stuff their Eastside and Westside locations with simple resistance-training equipment, free weights, and kettlebells, conducting CrossFit classes throughout the week with the help of certified instructors. In addition to leading rigorous CrossFit workouts, they provide students with nutritional guidance and host regular health seminars. They also offer a FemmeFit class, where women and male comedians in convincing makeup can practice CrossFit workouts specifically designed for the female body.
David Kneip leads The Human Lab's crew of tough-as-nails trainers, who find common cause in his no-frills approach to exercise. Eschewing loud music, televisions, and machinery, David and his team prefer to force their clients to rely only on the rhythm of their bodies and the strength of their will to overcome the challenges of any given workout. Students tackle everything from Olympic-style weightlifting and kettlebells to old-fashioned pushups and pull-ups in their quest to tone and strengthen their bodies. The Lab's most popular program, CrossFit, runs muscles through a wide variety of exercises—preventing the body from easily adapting to the routine and ensuring maximum results in minimum time—but other workouts can build muscles for specific sports, bestowing skiers with more powerful legs and croquet players with fingers shaped like mallets.