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.
Ask the coed instructors of Streetwise Cycle School to name their favorite roads to ride, and they'll describe places that would rival the pictures in Condé Nast—New England's meandering back roads, South Dakota's arid Badlands, and Oregon's lush Cascade Mountains. Certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and upholding the training standards of the state's Motorcycle Rider Education Program, these instructors ready riders from beginner to advanced for their own open-road odysseys. Courses and private lessons in both motorcycle and scooter riding prepare riders to apply for their licenses. When they're not busy aiding current riders, Streetwise's team members also encourage new enthusiasts to explore motorcycling, arranging incentives through local dealers that include gift cards and discounts on diamond-encrusted helmets.
This women-only local chain of fitness centers is beyond popular, if the numbers mean anything: 15,000 members, 500-plus employees, and four locations (plus two non-profit fitness centers). Over 30 years, clearly Healthworks Fitness Center has figured out what women want in the fitness world. The Back Bay location in Copley Square is steps from the nearby subway station, making it convenient for those coming to work in the area, as well as residents of the Back Bay and the South End. The formula is easy: offer literally hundreds of group classes each week, a team of personal trainers on tap and provide a spa-like atmosphere in the locker rooms, which are stocked with amenities like hair dryers and towels. A wide variety of equipment, plus services like childcare, nutrition counseling, massage therapy and special events and programs, keep things buzzing all day long.
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Town Sports International's network of fitness loci, opens up a number of equipment-stocked facilities across New York to exercisers. Strength-training gear, such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls, molds muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Sessions on cardio machines, ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles, inspire burnt calories to pack up and move to cooler climates. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draws from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, ensuring that no member has to jazzercise without a spotter. Each location rewards exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features such as babysitting, saunas, and steam rooms.