In 1990, Christina Rondeau fell in love. With martial arts, that is. After earning her black belt and competing in amateur karate and martial arts tournaments all over the United States and Europe, Rondeau decided to go pro. She travelled the globe as a member and coach on the USA WAKO kickboxing team, and went on to win the women's lightweight title. Rondeau continued to feed her athletic hunger with a switch to pro boxing and appeared in numerous print media and television shows, including The Maury Povich Show.
Having achieved fame and glory, Rondeau took on a new fight: she wanted to help women and children defend themselves while gaining indomitable confidence. She has authored books, created instructional DVDs, and opened Rondeau?s Kickboxing. The 24/7 gym garnered Rhode Island Monthly?s readers? pick for Best Fitness Center in 2010, due in no small part to its empowering blend of fitness and martial-arts-based classes. Rondeau also promotes safety in her community by participating in events geared towards ending violence toward women and girls and teaching local schoolchildren how to defend themselves or pass a math quiz without using weapons. She also coordinated a box-a-thon to help line the shelves of a Rhode Island food bank.
Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness first opened its 35,000-square-foot fitness centers in 1979, and the specialists have since maintained a commitment to helping their members lead healthier lifestyles. They work in partnership with hospitals and medical professionals to stay keen on current research, turning this information into personal-training programs and professional advice for members of all fitness levels. In addition to programs in fitness and recreation, health education, and nutrition, Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness offers more than 60 group fitness classes. Members can shake up their routines with group cycling, yoga, and Pilates sessions, or tune out the surrounding world while burning calories on TV-equipped cardio machines. Member amenities also include basketball courts and an aquatics center in addition to outlets for kids including a youth activities center and babysitting services for kids that are tired of pretending to be their mom's fanny pack as she works out.
Planet Fitness' massive, brightly colored edifice teems with aerobic, strength-training, tanning, and massage options, tailored to suit burgeoning buffs of all ages and abilities. A two-month Black Card membership (a $39.98 value) with enrollment fee included (a $99 value) offers exercisers a wide range of Planet's benefits, including access to an extensive fleet of cardio equipment, strength-training equipment, and free weights, which move unhindered by large machines or political censorship. Tan-seekers can bask in the unlimited artificial sunshine of the gym's tanning booths, and an army of shiatsu massage chairs stands at the ready, twiddling soothing robot thumbs and waiting to coax tension from tired tendons.
Taken at face value, laid-back fitness is an oxymoron. But when distilled into the same philosophy, these three words can put a whole new spin on getting in shape. The brains behind this approach is founder Ryan McGowan, who uses his background in engineering to view fitness through a systematic lens. When designing programs, he and his team take into consideration ancillary factors—mood, surroundings, how strong gravity is that day—and always leave plenty of room for rest and healthy eating between bouts of intense training.
For Ryan, the road to Laid-back Fitness was one of trial and error. Years ago, he bulked up as a college football player; after an injury, he slimmed down and trained for triathlons. Wanting to find that happy medium, Ryan came up with what his facility's website calls a "casual approach to intense training." That approach shines through during sessions of personal training as well as group kettlebell classes, where participants swing, snatch, push, and press their way into better shape. Outside the Laid-back Fitness facility, Ryan also calls on his engineering experience to design and build gyms in the homes of clients.
Inside Serenity Yoga’s calming confines, attentive instructors guide students toward physical fitness and inner peace with the help of ancient poses and mind-focusing exercises. Yogis of all skill levels congregate in group classes, where they work to build community and self-awareness with each stretch, bend, and game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Classes range from gentle, chair-based routines to athletic Vinyasa sessions, where students transition from one pose to the next with balance-challenging movement and concentration-honing breath work. To help new pupils build a strong foundation for future yogic endeavors, teachers spout technique tips and encouraging words. In addition to yoga classes, the studio also hosts soul-stirring events, including meditation workshops, tarot-card readings, and metaphysical fondue parties.