When you walk into Mirror Image Fitness, you might wonder if you've accidentally wandered into a swanky living room. A far cry from the typical big-box gym atmosphere, the intimate fitness club welcomes guests with soft lamplight and a stone fireplace. The walls are decorated with framed artwork and black-and-white damask wallpaper, which, along with rich wood furniture, lends the space a cozy, home-like vibe. Walking in, you might find a DJ spinning tunes or a throng of members relaxing on the white leather sofas in the lounge area before a class or a personal-training session. Potted trees and plants flank the sun-drenched cardio machines, making the workout feel like a peaceful jog along a nature trail or through David Attenborough’s limousine.
The club is the brainchild of Derek Norman, who learned about discipline and motivation while going through training camp with the San Diego Chargers. Norman's fitness philosophy promotes the unique needs and goals of each member as well as the skills of his trainers, whose specialties range from yoga to boxing.
It’s telling that the motto at Tara Napoli’s Power Yoga is “Love your life.” From mellow, restorative yoga classes to fun buti yoga classes. And of course, there’s the power yoga, where students connect breath to movements doing athletic, Vinyasa-style yoga. They’ll definitely break a sweat, and also enjoy calming benefits of resting poses and inversions.
The staff at Rock It Workouts strive to fight the perception that getting fit has to mean getting stuck in a gym routine and committing to doing the same thing over and over again. So they invited live DJs to spin high-energy music for their classes, then filled the schedule with innovative workouts. The airy white studio pops with graphic black stripes and red mats, keeping eyes invigorated during workouts, as well.
After workouts, exercisers can stop by the juice bar to rejuvenate, update their style at the VIP Beauty salon, or peruse the fashion boutique to find a look that ensures they have the sharpest-dressed scarecrow for the fall season. The studio's Rock It Forward program—cofounded by Laurieann Gibson, a choreographer who has worked with Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Adrienne Maloof—aims to combat childhood obesity with dance programs that bring celebrities in to help get kids excited about healthy living.
Each class at StudioFit is unique because each of the certified instructors choreographs an exercise routine set to a custom mix of heart-pumping music and lights. They welcome students of all fitness levels for spinning, cardio-kickboxing, and Zumba classes held within a spacious mirrored studio. In spinning classes, exercisers straddle stationary bikes as they pedal along to different resistances. In kickboxing, they make their ways through boxing techniques that fuel cardio workouts. In Zumba classes, dancers move to Latin-based rhythms and music, shaking their hips and performing cardiovascular dance moves more fun than the power-walking man.
By the time Tannis Kobrinksy started reading, she was already learning ballet. By the time she had her driver’s license, she had become a professional dancer.
In her welcoming studio, filled with sunlight and tasteful paintings, she emphasizes communal learning. Each of her small-group lessons, which are often limited to just three or four students at a time, promote camaraderie. Joining Tannis is a team of instructors, each member drawing on a different area of expertise, including classic Pilates, ballet, tai chi, and belly dance.
The Training Room’s owner and chief personal trainer can empathize with his out-of-shape clients, because just a few years ago, he tipped the scales at 300 pounds. It took two years of religious gym workouts to shed a paltry 40 of those, and he found the slow pace frustrating. But when he started high-intensity interval training, 40 more pounds fell off within three months. The form of exercise focuses on short spurts of energy, interspersed with rest, that’s specifically designed to burn maximum calories and boost metabolism in minimum time.