Registered yoga teachers Janel Norton and Christina Lowden mix up their years of exercise experience with their passion for alternative healing methods for a yoga stew chock-full of therapeutic benefits. Whether helping students striking their first tentative poses in beginner-friendly Hatha yoga classes or pushing patrons’ muscles to the brink during the hot power yoga series, Janel and Christina create a safe, friendly atmosphere through strong guidance and focused instruction. In addition to power, restorative, Hatha, and Yin yoga classes, they host Pilates mat-work sessions that bolster cores and 30-minute Body Blast classes that send students moving through time-tested, old-school routines—such as squats, pushups, and Model T flipping—to build muscle and character.
Surrounded by Yoga Shakti’s cheerful orange walls, yogis lift their hands toward the ceiling, root the balls of their bare feet into the wood floor, and stretch toward the sunlight that streams in through the window. During classes, instructors lead practitioners through their customized series of postures, which draw from several yoga styles to vary the routine and address specific goals. Classes range from gentle yoga, which focuses on meditation and breathing; to more rigorous Vinyasa flow, which links challenging postures to one another through the breath; to hot yoga, whose elevated temperature challenges students, allows for deeper stretches, and detoxes the body. The instructors also offer yoga-for-back-pain classes, which aim to increase mobility in stiff backs caused by injury, stress, or walking under the limbo stick in your doorway.
A pop-art mural on the back wall features musclebound bodies, exploding logos, and a bit of the starry cosmos. It's all the frivolity that the coaches at Battleground Training allow themselves. The rest of the facility remains unadorned cinder block and cement, a Spartan setting broken up only by the workout equipment that dots the gargantuan space. Heavy punching bags dangle in the middle of the room, and resistance bands sprout from the walls. Tractor tires and free weights occupy some of the floor, but the venue leaves plenty of space for the most important aspect of the training: room to move. The trainers take on past, present, and future athletes, helping them hone their bodies through boxing drills, lifts, and attempts to dodge echoes.
To distinguish themselves from lesser mud-race organizers, the founders of Sqwish Sqwash Challenges aspired to design the most elite of mud courses. Thus, they turned to the most elite of men, the Navy SEALs. Drawing inspiration from their special-ops training, SEAL members help design Sqwish Sqwash's four course levels, adjusting the difficulty of each to accommodate beginner, intermediate, and hardened athletes alike. Obstacles range from flooded ditches to piles of mud-caked tractor tires, testing the physical and emotional endurance of both individuals and teams. Each day ends with a post-race party thrown by sponsor and partner Yuengling, plus an awards ceremony that recognizes top runners, the best costume, and anyone who can reach the finish line in an unstained white linen suit.
For those wanting to get into race shape, Sqwish Sqwash's website provides online training plans, as well as recommendations on where to get fit. Proceeds from each race go toward select charities such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Above all else, Hammer Time Fitness aims to be inclusive. Its trainers lead a wide array of group fitness classes and personal-training sessions, appealing to patrons of all fitness levels and interests. Throughout the spinning classes, a 5'x7' screen at the front of the room keeps spirits up by playing music videos, light shows, and simulated rides, and upbeat music keeps pulses racing. Boot-camp sessions cast a wider net and incorporate everything from strength training and calisthenics to functional exercises and aerobic drills, creating adaptable, ever-changing workouts. For a more focused approach, the gym also hosts kickboxing classes that develop coordination and endurance by having attendees pummel punching bags and speed bags.
Mixed martial arts are brought to pupils in diverse forms at 300 MMA Fitness. Boxing, kickboxing, and tae kwon do heighten adrenaline. But women’s self-defense focuses on arming practitioners against attackers as much as sculpting bodies. The gym also holds camps for ages 4–6 and 7–15 and classes for the whole family.
Anytime Fitness, as the name suggests, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of the gym's accommodating calendar of classes, attending 10 targeted drop-in sessions over the course of six months. Latin beats inspire aspiring Zumbalinas to shimmy free of up to 600 extra calories per one-hour session. The C.H.I.S.E.L. class blends aerobics, strength training, and Pilates to build bodies fit enough to run a marathon inside a swimming pool filled with mud. The six-pack abs and stretching class offers patrons a one-two-punch of increased flexibility and core strength. Traditional Pilates sessions reinforce the mind-body connection by celebrating control, balance, and turtleneck sweaters.