Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
South End Yoga owner-instructor Patrice Flesch has been studying yoga for nearly four decades, but it was Kripalu yoga that finally inspired her to become a certified yoga instructor. Extremely accessible to newcomers and people with physical limitations, the discipline is distinguished by an extensive system of pose modifications that build flexibility gradually. Flesch applies these principles outside the studio in work with Alzheimer?s, cardiac, and cancer patients at her home base, a tucked-away space on a leafy street lined with row houses that all have excellent posture. Many of the classes at South End Yoga are tailored to accommodate students of all backgrounds, and most are limited to a small number of students.
Among other styles of yoga, Iyengar classes incorporate lightweight props to methodically tone muscles. Some classes are designed specifically with moms and moms-to-be in mind. During prenatal yoga, expectant mothers work on focused breathing and gentle stretching, whereas Mom & Baby classes incorporate tiny tots in a series of toning stretches.
Fitcorp's trainers have big shoes to fill. Founder Gary Klencheski earned his exercise technician certification from the American College of Sports Medicine and served on the Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports for 20 years. Klencheski's passion and expertise trickle down through each of his gyms' eight facilities, where each personal trainer has a degree in exercise science, a nationally accredited certification, and the charisma of a dictator holding pompoms.
The gym's array of fitness services includes cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as group Pilates, yoga, boot-camp, and Zumba classes. Massage and acupuncture sessions keep the body in high gear, and an onsite nutritionist offers nutrition tips developed by registered dietitian Amy Boyce.
As natural light streams through the windows, members at Fisique Fitness run on treadmills equipped with their own screens, take to Cybex elliptical machines, and make the rounds on strength-training equipment. In group exercise classes, instructors lead cardio-centric spinning workouts or model mindful breathing during Vinyasa yoga's flow of poses. Dedicated personal trainers take things up a notch, pushing their clients past a plateau or preparing them for the arm-wrestling portion of a corporate job interview. After workouts, members can hit the showers equipped with convenient toiletries or plunk down on one of the lobby’s leather armchairs.
In addition to providing chiropractic treatments and physical-therapy sessions, Fisique Fitness partners with Joint Ventures to offer a menu of spa services that includes massage and acupuncture.
Courtney and Corey Nappa complement each other’s skill sets well. Courtney has a wealth of business experience and a passion for beauty, and Corey has years under his belt as a personal trainer and fitness-center manager. They realized that they could combine their skills into an ideal health-club experience, and Ten X Club was born.
On the fitness end of the business, instructors hold group Pilates, yoga, and spin classes. Cardio and weight-lifting rooms feature equipment from manufacturers such as Nautilus and Precor. A kids’ playroom keeps tykes entertained while parents shed sweat. On the other end of the spectrum, the sleekly appointed salon features hair services, mani-pedis, and spray-tanning services in a quiet environment, the air perfumed with the scent of hair products. Here, too, members can send their kids to the playroom while they enjoy grownup relaxation time with beautifying services, adult conversation, and the freedom to eat animal crackers any way they choose.