The sounds of stretch-induced groans and enthusiastic high-fives echo throughout the workout rooms at New World Fitness, an all-purpose facility that opens its doors to members of any age and fitness level. Though each of the gym’s group fitness classes blends a results-oriented workout with a healthy dose of social interaction, the similarities tend to end there. Toning workouts such as the Ab Blaster target core muscles with short, intense exercises—a marked contrast to the relaxed stretches of a yoga session that slowly eases tension out of overworked limbs. Feet lead the way through aerobics classes based on the movements of martial arts and dance. The gym’s indoor pool hosts an aquatic-therapy program alongside joint-friendly Aquafit classes, after which guests can dry off with a sprint around the indoor track.
At Hot Fitness, transformation can begin in midair. That is, if you attend the trampoline fitness classes. Participants bounce their way to stronger muscles and less flab at the fun, fast-paced class. Another workout that defies gravity: TRX suspension training. Though, there are also many classes that work with gravity. For instance, hot yoga, Pilates, and barre, real Ryder spin class, and Zumba, among many others.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Ebb and Flow Boutique dresses yogis new and old in yoga-inspired clothing and merchandise made to extend the holistic experience into life off the mat. Leg threads (average $85) range from drapey to form-fitting and include such enthused pieces as Karma's rouched bamboo leggings and Be Present's practice pants for men. Recover from a devilled egg bender with Aromatherapist essential oils ($20) or hang an inspiring pendant ($30–$90) from a centred neck. Tank tops (average $60) sleekly suit summer months, and meditation props (average $70) assist with year-round escapes to nirvana.
MAX Arts. Athletics. Wellness. is a kind of Athenian-style gymnasium that celebrates the intersection between physical and intellectual pursuits. The instructors teach arts courses in dance, music, and theatre and help to increase physical grace with jazz and ballet, train aspiring thespians through acting classes, or build musical acumen during one-on-one singing or instrument lessons.
On the other end of the spectrum, athletics programs include volleyball and basketball camps to hone sport-specific skills, such as spiking the ball or building new hoops out of peach baskets. Martial-arts instructors arm students with confidence and self-defence skills through youth karate classes, adult kenpo training, and women-only kick-boxing courses. Yogis and Pilates instructors also make use of the centre’s space to strengthen cores and limbs with stretches and asanas.
All classes take place within one of four top-of-the-line teaching centres, which house ample classrooms along with a fitness and conditioning centre. Inside, 66 feet of field turf stretch across the gym, providing better shock absorption as students work with kettlebells, battling ropes, sleds, and hurdles.
National Endurance Sport Training Association–certified yoga instructor Linda Barnes leads students through physically and mentally challenging classes. During each 90-minute session, as many as 30 participants can practice yogic breathing while moving gracefully through a series of seated and standing poses. Linda invites her charges to perform back bends, sun salutations, twists, and inversions, which culminate in a final meditation on the yielding, transitory nature of the pretzel. Each class ends with a guided relaxation and meditation period, enabling students to absorb what they’ve learned without having to wring out a sweat towel afterward.