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.
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.
Former college-football player Michael Reeves draws on his years of training and a degree in physical education as president of and a personal trainer at Top Form, a gym and field house. Whether training teams of young athletes or adults looking to get into shape, he blends his academic and practical experience to leave clients with a mental cache of exercises and routines. During personal-training sessions for individuals or groups, Reeves’ cadre of instructors uses muscle-isolating equipment such as stability balls, free weights, and medicine balls to shape cores or kick off impromptu games of dodge ball. On the artificial turf of an indoor field, athletes perform functional-movement drills while pulling weight sleds.
Reeves' wife and the gym’s vice president, Jen, leads mothers with newborns and toddlers through yoga-inspired workout classes. Little ones lie down or break dance on mats during the stretch and light-weight session as parents and progeny bond.
Corey House founded F.I.T. Boot Camps to help people get in shape with effective workouts bolstered by nutritional support. To come up with fun, high-intensity boot-camp routines, the staff pored over research and analyzed training formats aimed at burning fat and building muscles. They've seen the results time after time as boot camp members of every shape and athletic ability shed pounds, boost their health, and fare better at family log-tosses. Because the boot camps are indoors, the staff leads them continuously throughout the year, rather than putting members on hold during breaks between sessions or taking the winter off. They help map out smart food choices with nutritious meal planning, and offer private coaching to help members make the most of their workouts.
While E Studio Hot Yoga may never reach the size of General Electric—one of the companies for which owner Emily has led corporate fitness efforts—it's still an ambitious undertaking. A team of instructors leads the center's classes, which range from ballet-barre workouts set to upbeat music to power-yoga sessions held in a 90-degree studio. Like a crutch with a manufacturing error, the schedules at both the Clifton Park and Latham locations are flexible; classes take place seven days a week, with a variety of morning and evening classes held throughout the week.
The certified instructors at Hot Yoga Saratoga believe that heated exercise has more benefits than just boosting the body’s flexibility. For nearly 20 types of classes, they warm up their studios to help bodies heal injuries, release toxins, and thin the blood so it can flow more easily to tissues and organs. From silent Bikram sessions in 105-degree heat to yoga sculpt classes set to 90 degrees and upbeat music, the studio aims to have something for yogis of all ages and experience levels.