My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 weeks—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her team of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.
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.
Equipment: Poles by X Pole and equipment by Lil Mynx, PoleDanzer, Cybex, Schwinn, and Hampton
Students should bring: Water bottle and towel
Average class length: 45 minutes
Number of Staff: 5?10
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
We are a private women's facility, and we offer both group fitness classes as well as one on one personal training. Our group fitness program offers classes ranging from pole fitness and burlesque chair workouts to yoga, step aerobics, and ballet. There is a little bit of everything to keep people interested.
What is a typical session of your program or class like for a student?
We keep our class sizes small to ensure a welcoming, safe, and fun environment for women.
Has your business won any awards?
Sharon Polsky, the owner and founder of Pole Position Fitness, has won first place in multiple fitness competitions.
The certified trainers at 6 Degree Fitness believe that the best motivation for keeping up a gym routine is measurable results. Working to make their gym a welcoming, accessible place for everyone, regardless of fitness level, the professional staffers here offer intense personal training and group fitness sessions such as boot camp. Nutritional counseling is also available, helping members boost their metabolisms while they're shredding calories. The fitness center features a full array of weight-training and cardio machines—everything clients need to succeed along their path to better health.
Alliance Training Center's classes make students stronger in more ways than one. Instructors not only help clients reach peak fitness through CrossFit, but also arm students with the world-renowned self-defense techniques of Krav Maga. Both these activities qualify as "functional." For instance, CrossFit athletes focus on becoming experts at the kinds of movements that come naturally, as opposed to putting stress on their bodies with forced motions. For its part, Krav Maga teaches combat techniques that deal with real-world scenarios, including handling assailants who have knives or guns.
The trainers offer a few other equally practical programs to spice up the week so students don't have to turn to baffling Danish game shows for stimulation. Kettlebell courses provide a nice alternative to CrossFit's Olympic-style weight lifting. And Brazilian jiu-jitsu builds on Krav Maga's repertoire of strikes with potent grapples capable of taking larger opponents to the ground or locking up their limbs.