Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
The dynamic instructors at each of the six centers teach a holistic approach to yoga and noncombative martial arts that targets flexibility, strength, breathing, and energy sensitivity. Schedules vary from studio to studio, with regular open-level classes such as those at BR Holistic Healing integrating a core regimen of stretching, breathing, and strengthening postures that improve keg-stand techniques tremendously. Vibration sessions at the Body & Brain Center in Metuchen and Dahn Yoga in Closter and Oradell can release stagnant energy and recharge bodies to take on exhausting second jobs impersonating the Energizer bunny at birthday parties. Instructors monitor students' progress, suggesting home-workout plans tailored to personal strengths and vulnerability to fire.
Clicks & Bricks Learning Center has a simple motto: building smarter children, one brick at a time. The center runs workshops that introduce young kids to engineering and architecture using legos and computer-programming toys. In weekly classes, kids improve problem-solving and communication skills while constructing robots and simple machines out of colorful plastic blocks.
Signature service: engineering lego classes for children
Staff size: 2?10 people
Average duration of services: one to two hours
Brands used: lego educational bricks and programs
Pro tip: children enjoy an hour of creating and building while parents shop, work, or just relax.
Black Belt Institute hosts a variety of fitness and martial-arts classes for students of all ages. Children's classes, which start at age 4, include karate, tae kwon do, and kung fu, and emphasize self-esteem and confidence. Adult classes include yoga, tai chi, and cardio kickboxing, and work to reduce stress and build positive self-image while bolstering self-defense.
Many gyms offer advanced fitness equipment, motivating programs and classes, and a host of amenities. But unlike many conventional gyms, Lady of America Greenbrook caters specifically to women. In spacious, comfortable workout rooms, resistance machines are custom-fit to women’s smaller frames. Trained staff plays with kids 6 months and older in the childcare area, which features health-focused activities as well as a PlayStation 2. The team also offers services such as nutrition counseling with certified sports nutritionists and one-on-one workouts with certified personal trainers. Additionally, fitness evaluations—which come free with every membership—are designed with women’s needs and concerns in mind.
In the gym, free weights build muscle, and recumbent bikes and elliptical machines boost endurance enough to outlast a dolphin or a submarine painted like a dolphin in a swimming contest. The advanced Precor model 956 treadmills’ impact-absorbing system saves joints while an active cardio monitor allows users to literally follow the dictates of their hearts. Instructors provide motivation in group classes such as ball Pilates, fitness yoga, spin, and Zumba. And the therapeutic heat of the infrared sauna allows for a nice post-workout relaxation session.
A good gym often resembles a forest, with canopies of crossing metal bars, pulleys, and weights. Snap Fitness boasts a few more jungle-like attributes than most, with a stretch of green turf floor ideal for sprinting and dragging exercises. Clients shed sweat throughout the gym, aided by personal trainers who stop by to provide bits of advice or hour-long sessions of one-on-one attention. Once they've learned to use the weight equipment properly, members can head to the cardio theater for and jog or cycle while watching a favorite show.