Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Gold’s Gym lures fitness seekers from all walks of life with cardio decks, strength-training equipment, and aerobics rooms filled with energizing classes. Instead of reciting Shakespearean monologues as they jog and pedal, guests can watch movies in a cardio theater lined with treadmills, bikes, and an oversize projection screen. Free weights encourage biceps to bulge, and resistance machines tone arms, abs, and legs. Sports lovers dribble basketballs and volley racquetballs on shiny courts (available at most locations), raising their heart rates as they hone hand-eye coordination. Like the nightly news, Zumba classes take an hour and set Latin-inspired dance moves that vaporize calories to vibrant world music, along with a slew of available selections, including cardio and spin classes. Consult each location’s webpage for a class schedule and a list of additional amenities, which range from childcare to personal training (not included in today’s Groupon).
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.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
At Snap Fitness’ 24-hour gym, guests come and go armed with their access keys and are able to work out at their convenience. Around the gym, rows of cardio machines and stacks of free weights stand by as personal trainers show guests the most efficient ways to pump iron and bench-press their old refrigerators.
Studio Soiree takes the age-old art of pole dancing and supes it up with a bevy of core-training techniques. Certified instructors kick off pole education with an initiative course required of all beginners. In Intro to Pole, students learn how to safely maneuver on and around the pole while developing elementary dance moves. Five advancing course levels follow, each building toward an eventual masters degree in anti-gravitational gumption. Studio Soiree provides a welcoming environment for students of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels, and most classes are exclusively for women. Reservations are required, as admission is offered on a first-to-sign-up, first-served basis.