At Max Fitness Academy, coaches and certified personal trainers team up to devise custom nutrition and exercise programs around individual goals. Coaches tailor meals and workouts, and personal trainers mandate movements in a contemporary gym, which sports strength and cardio equipment alongside mirrored walls and a boxing ring. Guided by a unique Bodymap system, the team outlines nutrition needs and charts progress from each client's very first pushup until they reach their goal of bench-pressing a semitrailer. Specialized programs cater to specific demographics, including new or expectant moms, future brides, and current kids.
The fast-paced workouts of group kickboxing and cross-fitness classes merge socialization and sweating. Kickboxing enlists dynamic combos of kicking, punching, and cardio to chisel entire frames and shed up to 1,200 calories in an hour. Cross-fitness classes tone bodies and improve endurance with light lifting and cardiovascular maneuvers, preparing clients for an upcoming race or attempt to rob Fort Knox.
When Darren Levine received his first Krav Maga black belt in 1984, he wasn't the first man to have worn that particular piece of fabric. The belt originally belonged to the man presenting it to him: Imi Lichtenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga. Darren had had the good fortune of learning the self-defense technique from Imi himself, and eventually became one of Imi's most trusted practitioners, developing training programs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and military personnel throughout the U.S.
In 1998, just one year after his beloved mentor passed away, Darren founded Krav Maga Worldwide to meet growing demand from curious civilians. The hand-to-hand technique is focused on reacting to realistic attacks, and teachers use scenarios inspired by everything from military combat, to late-night walks alone, to heated matches of Whac-A-Mole. Darren and his team lead various programs tailored for law enforcement and military members, women, fitness buffs, and even children, and they also offer certification programs for those looking to become instructors.
Flashback to the 1990s, and there’s a good chance of finding one of two items in nearly any household: a Furby and a Billy Blanks Tae Bo tape. While the talking pet’s popularity may have diminished before the new millennium, Tae Bo still holds a predominant market in the fitness world. Inside group-fitness mecca Its All U Fitness, Kanika Brock—once an apprentice of Billy Blanks—pumps up heart rates with the fast-paced martial-arts-inspired cardio workout. And she’s not the only Tae Bo expert calling the kicks and punches; the founding father himself stops in on the occasional Sunday to lead classes and demonstrate how he can open a pickle jar with his fist.
Of course, uppercuts and jabs aren’t for everyone, so Its All U offers a few other group classes, including Zumba—led by native Cuban Danny—and Barre Control—which evokes raw athleticism with challenging ballet-inspired moves—taught by Michelle. Perhaps the most unique instructor is Maxi B. When she isn’t cooking healthful meals as a professional chef, the Workout Naughty Style enthusiast is showing pupils how to combine classic jazz with sultry burlesque and tactics for sneaking in past curfew.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
A diverse team of instructors fills Rising Lotus Yoga's bright studio with a profusion of beginner and advanced yoga classes seven days a week. Through more than a dozen types of yoga classes, the instructors help students deepen familiar poses, develop breathing techniques, and finally remove their yoga mats' training wheels. They teach traditional yoga styles such as Iyengar and hatha-based Gentle & Therapeutics, as well as the studio's signature class, Rising Lotus Flow, which aims to merge body and mind through dynamic, creative vinyasa sequences. The instructors guide students through three different skill levels and can train the most dedicated among them to become yoga teachers.
When not perfecting students' postures and teaching trees to breathe louder, Rising Lotus Yoga's instructors lend their time to the Seva Project, an initiative to bring the healing benefits of yoga to people in crisis.
Since she started tapping her toes at the age of 8, Nadia Eftedal has gone on to grace the global stage with ballroom moves that earned her prizes all over the world. Today, she organizes one of the nation's top dance seminars and has served as the American judge in the Open British Championships, which challenges dancers to maneuver their feet around extra U's. In her airy, blond-wood studio, Nadia leads an international cast of championship dancers that teaches ballroom dancing to children and adults, supplying them with skills in styles such as salsa, swing, and mambo. Group lessons, private classes, and workshops are each available in a variety of levels, whether pupils want to casually cut rugs, enter serious competitions, or settle legal disputes with courtroom dance-offs. Clients with a wedding or special event on their calendar can also consult with the instructors to develop a custom curriculum.