As a former national-level figure skater and ISSA-certified personal trainer, Jessica knows what a full-body burn feels like. However, she didn't know that a stationary bike could replicate the feeling, until a fellow trainer encouraged her to climb aboard a RealRyder cycle. Jessica became a devotee after just two rides. Determined to share her newfound passion with others, she gathered a team of certified instructors, populated two studios with RealRyder ABF8 bikes, and opened their doors to prospective pedalers of all fitness levels.
Inside Ryde For Life, Jessica and her staff host 45- to 60-minute classes synced to each teacher's music playlist. They lead stationary teams atop RealRyder bikes, whose specialized frames allow riders to lean, bank, and steer as they would an on-road bike. In addition to pumping up cardiovascular systems, sessions engage the core, upper body, legs, and the scalp muscles that hold helmets in place.
Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." Her boot camps have since expanded to 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
Unlike traditional gyms that take a laissez-faire approach to fitness, letting clients fumble through their own workouts, Orangetheory leads exercisers in innovative personal group-training sessions that run through four distinct steps. Inside the warm, citrus glow of each facility, dozens of treadmills, rowing machines, free-weight sets, and Trx suspension systems await the next interval changeover. Music sends electric currents of energy through the atmosphere as patrons sweat out calories, and personal trainers patrol the aisles, giving pointers for touching up form and blinking out motivational words in Morse code. Clients keep an eye on their heart-rate readouts to ensure they're in the peak range for burning fat and building muscle. After an hour—during which guests complete a 10- to 30-minute interval at each of the four stations—the "orange effect" sets in and jump-starts metabolisms, possibly for days after the workout has ended.
Orangetheory Fitness has been highlighted in the New York Times for its seminal workout plan, which was designed by Florida fitness expert Ellen Latham to help people to turn their workout plateaus into springboards. With more than 50 classes per week at each location, members can capitalize on the gym's personal-training vibe and stimulating group setting at their leisure.
Fitness studios often work hard to cultivate a relaxing setting. They might install floor-to-ceiling windows, play soothing music, or enforce a strict policy against flash mobs. But Urban Kai ramps up the relaxation to the next level. Their fitness classes take place on the Hillsborough River, where yoga groups stretch and bend atop stand-up paddleboards. The aquatic setting surrounds exercisers in waterfront architecture and open skies, which take on brilliant hues at sunrise and sunset. Dolphins, turtles, cats, and other marine life make occasional appearances as well.
Urban Kai was founded by Michael Conlee and his wife, Aimee. Mr. Conlee originally started paddle boarding as a hobby, but he quickly realized that his new pastime had toned his physique. Mr. Conlee started Urban Kai, and—along with his fellow instructors—he now teaches several on-water fitness classes. Urban Kai's yoga-on-water class, for example, helps participants build strength and flexibility, while warrior-zen workouts combine paddleboard exercises with on-land workouts. Mr. Conlee and his team also take groups on long-distance paddleboard tours.
Since Joe Gold opened the first location in 1965 in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 700 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength.Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members—which include professional athletes and celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Faith Hill, and Jessica Alba—chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers in cycling sessions.
At the Tampa location, the owners team up with an expert crew of trainers to help clients achieve their fitness goals. The gym floor corrals modern equipment such as low-impact ellipticals and treadmills outfitted with individual TVs, and the spin room showcases Livestrong stationary bikes. Instructors also lead dynamic group fitness classes that include disciplines such as yoga and boot camps.
At 4 a.m., few people are awake, and the roads are quiet except for the purr of the occasional insomniac car. It can be hard to get work done or even find anything that’s open, but light still spills from the door of Anytime Fitness, even on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Members have access to the workout facilities at any hour of the day, any day of the year, so they can bench-press free weights before dawn or ride an elliptical after giving their broken home stairmaster a proper midnight burial. Though club amenities vary by location—there are thousands of Anytime Fitness franchises throughout the world—most gyms offer a wide variety of workout wares and resources, including cardio machines, strength-training equipment, and personal trainers. In addition, most locations offer 24-hour tanning beds, letting guests soak in rays by night.