The free-weight section of the local gym has commonly been a place to hear the thunderous sounds of Hercules-like lifters grunting their way through reps and clinking dumbbells falling to the floor. This scene could easily scare away beginners and guests with non-heroic physiques. Known for constantly straying from the norm, trainer Ashleigh Kast forged a routine that works equally well at initiating beginners and helping experienced lifters push themselves over a strength plateau, combining drills from the Functional Movement System with the Russian Kettlebell Challenge. The purpose of each kettlebell-bolstered movement is to stimulate as many muscle groups as possible, forcing them to work together towards the common goal of tone and calorie burn. Kast introduces a new kettlebell skill into the program each week to prevent muscles from becoming bored and defacing the bones with obscene doodles. When the weather cooperates, classes move outdoors, and one Sunday morning a month, she invites students to attend a specialized workshop.
As the owner of Sunlight Of The Spirit Yoga Studio, Diane Davey teaches her clients that they can be any age, weight, or ability level and still excel at yoga. Armed with with a 500-hour RYT certification and direct training from experienced yogis, she takes an approach in classes that focuses on accessibility. Diane teaches a style called Modern-Day Yoga, which blends Eastern and Western yoga styles and philosophies into flowing sequences of poses. Having trained directly with the style's founder, Diane has been able to add her own relaxing touches to the form, including holistic healing techniques such as deep-breathing and meditation. The studio helps put its students in the appropriate state of mind with a calming color palette of yellows, earth tones, and blond wood. Silk curtains hang alongside floor-to-ceiling windows to let in ample natural light while ensuring the space stays private and silkworms don't have to get second jobs.
As owner Harry Roth says on eyeQ’s website: “We are not here to just sell a pair of glasses, too many other places already do that.” More than three decades of work as an optician give Roth an insight into customer needs, which us uses to deliver personalized, thoughtful service. His clients can arrange private viewings of the store’s designer and boutique frames, or schedule meetings at their homes or offices. Customers can also bring in their current frames for repairs or to be fitted for new lenses. The shop can often do minor repair work for free. Technicians can complete custom fittings in the store’s on-site lab. The lab’s computer-based equipment creates precise lenses quickly, and clients can even commission specialty glasses for tasks such as night driving, computer work, golfing, or looking through eyeglasses catalogs.
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.
The Ballpark's 15,000-square-foot indoor baseball facility has been the training ground for regional all-star youth league players and state championship teams since 1999. A team of experienced coaches, led by three-time Star-Ledger Coach of the Year Tony Picaro, teaches fundamentals such as bunting, fielding, and signing autographs while wearing an oversize novelty foam finger. Private and group lessons hone skills after school, and multiday clinics immerse rookies and pros alike in the sport's finer points. Outside class hours, players practice at six public batting cages, a timed home-to-first track, and a pitching mound monitored by radar and off-duty traffic cops. The Ballpark is also a great place to host a birthday party, which include pizza or hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, papers goods, and a free batting cage token.
All CrossFit coaches study the science of exercise, but the trainers at Crossfit Veracity take a particularly empirical approach to designing their classes. The lead trainer, Leonardo Mu?oz, describes his workouts in terms of simple Newtonian physics: force equals mass times acceleration. He designs new workouts everyday, challenging students to move increasingly large masses at greater speeds, therefore always increasing the intensity of their workouts. He says his workouts only last 5 to 20 minutes, and focus on fewer exercises done with perfect form rather than hours of training. The method seems to work for him and his fellow trainers, who have accomplished feats such as 50-mile endurance races, climbing 14,000-foot mountains, and overcoming a fear of their own ripped shadow.