The three founders of Spokes Indoor Cycling have three distinctly different fitness backgrounds. Bridgette Strong has led an active lifestyle her whole life, first as a dancer, then as a black belt in tae kwan do who chases down litterers in her spare time. Debbie Childs, on the other hand, didn’t get into working out until her mid-forties, and has since evolved into an accomplished marathon, half-marathon, and 5K runner. Alternatively, Leigh Moore was an athlete as a youth, but only became serious about her health as an adult after she lost her mother to diabetes-prompted liver disease, and was then diagnosed with type 2 diabetes herself.
Yet, despite their diverse fitness journeys, indoor cycling brought these three entrepreneurs together. At Spokes, the trio has amassed a team of instructors who lead lively sessions complete with mood lighting and music videos. Students can hop on a Keiser m3 bike for straight cycling classes or one of two hybrid classes; Cyclebarre follows 20 minutes of cardio cycling with a 40-minute barre workout, and Cycle & Circuit, splits an 80-minute class between cycling and circuit training.
In the unusual parlance of the Hunger Runs 5K, runners are “dedications,” teams are “organizations,” spectators are “assemblies,” and the race is known simply as “the hunt.” The race’s creators, the “huntmakers,” devise a series of obstacles specifically designed to encourage teamwork and camaraderie, and they set up “challenge centers” demanding expert bow-and-arrow skills, simian climbing abilities, and courage in the face of flaming objects. Organizations that finish fastest or with the most points in their designated wave earn bragging rights, awards, and cheek pinches from their proud grandmothers. Dedications are strongly encouraged to wear fun costumes and comfortable sneakers and to come bearing team spirit and the will to win.
At Fitness Edge Boot Camp, owner David Eastham and his team of instructors schedule boot camp classes at one of three locations: Santa Clarita Soccer Center, Santa Clarita Central Park, or Heritage Park. The response to the supportive workouts, unlike the response to selling the face of the moon for ad space, has been positive. In addition to what boot campers say, Fitness Edge was voted Best Fitness Center/Gym by readers of The Santa Clarita Valley Signal in 2011 with Eastham winning the title of Best Personal Trainer by the same publication in 2012.
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.
What does it take to make a fitness class hardcore? At Hardcore Fitness Boot Camp, the answer is an intense, 60-minute workout held during the work week, since treadmills often refuse to work on the weekends. Instructors start with static stretching and other warm-ups before explaining the proper technique for exercises with barbells, kettlebells, treadmills, and stationary cycles. They might also have groups run a few miles, though exercisers can never quite be sure what to expect. Instructors constantly change the format of the workout from day to day to avoid fitness plateaus. In addition to this signature boot-camp class, the fitness instructors lead other classes such as Cardio Kickbox Fusion.
A former gymnast and collegiate diver suffering from a stress fracture in her lower back, Cassidy Farwell sought a total-body workout that would strengthen her core and alleviate her lower back pain. Around the same time, all-around fitness enthusiast Syd Shelton became curious about Pilates's growing popularity, and took her first class. Though they sought out Pilates for very different reasons, it made such an impact on them that they decided to open their own studio together to share the total-body toning techniques with others. As certified instructors, Cassidy and Syd now lead classes designed to tone the body from head to toe, with emphasis on strengthening the hips, thighs, core, and vestigial tail.