MG Fitness’ instructors summon sweat during fun group workouts while solo students try out more than 75 pieces of exercise equipment at two convenient studio locations. Workers-out looking to go it alone can bask in the glow of personal TV screens on Precor treadmills or opt for elliptical machines to help arms and legs build strength by repeatedly tracing low-impact ovals and hand turkeys. Men and women alike can tone up, using the sprawling selection of dumbbells and plate-loaded machines by Icarian and Hammer Strength to press, curl, and ripple. Fitness seekers in need of butt-busting camaraderie can drop in on classes that range from calorie-torching step aerobics to limbering power-yoga sessions, where students melt stress with stretches, poses, and deep-breathing exercises. To push clients toward fitness goals, certified personal trainers employ one-on-one coaching, exercise instruction, and the motivating growls of monster trucks.
The instructors at Defensive Edge Martial Arts Training Center see martial arts training as something bigger than a path of becoming a more skilled combatant. They see the tradition of training as a way of becoming a better person. In every youth and adult program, students develop character as much as they develop muscle, deepening their understanding of patience, respect, and integrity. Those virtues prepare them for success in relationships and the workplace as much as they prepare them on the mat.
Each program—from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Muay Thai to iCAT Reality Martial Arts—is held in Defensive Edge's 5,000-square-foot facility with separate combat and fitness areas. In addition to martial arts training, instructors lead students of all fitness levels through non-combat fitness programs such as FightFIT, a high-intensity CrossFit-style regimen tailored to anyone's specific fitness needs and helps to quickly increase performance and conditioning for combative sports. Simulating two professional MMA matches, FightFIT classes use items such as dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX, battling ropes, and grappling dummies to pump up heart rate and increase metabolism. Most classes take place on weeknights and weekend days to accommodate members' day jobs and the FDA's recommended 18 hours of sleep each day.
Trapeze School New York’s expansion west meant Angelenos no longer had to cross the country to join the circus. At their outdoor studio on the Santa Monica Pier, highly trained instructors teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers during classes on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, trampoline, and Spanish web. All of Trapeze School New York’s countrywide facilities in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, and LA hold themselves to high safety standards that account for everything from equipment to instructors and safety belts. In an effort to bring their flying-trapeze instruction to surrounding communities regardless of funding, the school also gives lessons through their nonprofit branch of operations.
At Reading Athletic Club, firm yet friendly trainers and modern equipment from brands such as Nautilus whip exercisers into shape. Personal trainers stage workouts in the cardio deck and weight area, packed with weight machines, treadmills, elliptical machines, and other mechanisms that foster fitness. Ladies break a sweat in the women's only section while youngsters play with babysitters. During fitness classes, instructors help boost their students’ endurance via high-energy boot camps that tighten all areas of the body or the flowing poses of yoga. After workouts, students can unwind under the soothing strokes of the center's massage therapist.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.