South Boston is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing?s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes?low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves?and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Owner Richard Lanza began Open Doors as a metaphysical healing center and store in 1992, and he carried that healing spirit into the yoga studio he opened in 2003. At Open Doors Yoga Studios, Richard's goal is to create a space where people feel empowered to explore their personal beliefs on a path toward self-healing. Thus, yoga instructors at the studio's numerous locations help practitioners achieve their personal goals through accessible classes, each designed to build core strength while quieting the mind and increasing body awareness. From slow-flow heated classes to unheated Hatha sessions, students can participate in a variety of yoga styles geared toward beginners, more experienced participants, and those who only feel comfortable in a 98-degree room.
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.
At Strike First Krav Maga, the first job of co-owners Adam Gleason and Ilya Akhter is to create a highly stressful atmosphere in order to replicate a realistic self-defense scenario where senses are heightened. Once students are sufficiently stressed, the duo begins teaching the tactics of Krav Maga, a self-defense technique used by the Israeli Defense Force. Akhter—a former sergeant in the Israeli Defense Force’s anti-terrorist special forces unit—has years of hands-on experience and Gleason’s background includes 5 years of Krav Maga training, along with experience in Kung Fu, and American kickboxing. And though each instructor strives to maintain an intense environment, they treat each student respectfully and tailor their lesson to fit all levels of skill, physical fitness, and experience.
Though her fleet of standup paddleboards may still bear some of the sand of Los Angeles beaches, Jill Link outfits Bostonians with the equipment and skills to traverse New England waters. Jill extols the sport as not only a way to get a good workout, but also as a chance to relax while drifting atop calm waves. Renters ride away on Riviera boards, using adjustable carbon fiber paddles to leisurely steer or exchange paddle-fives. Visitors seeking more intensive exercises can try SUPilates and SUPfit classes, which take place on the water on standup paddleboards, providing a change of pace from normal workout routines.