Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.
Anytime Fitness is a busy, popular fitness chain that works to remove common obstacles to working out. At any one of the 21 locations this Groupon is valid for, clients have 24/7 access to the gym’s cardio and strength-training equipment, and some locations offer group fitness classes, such as Zumba and small group training. Certified personal trainers are available to help those looking to take their workouts to the next level, and members can finish their exercise routines with a stop off at the onsite tanning booth to add a summery glow to muscles.
ActivEdge Fitness Club's large, two-story fitness temple burns calories with its high-tech cardio deck featuring mounted flat-screen TVs, drowns them in a 25-meter lap pool, and scares them off with the help of peers in more than 20 fitness classes. On the first level, members pump free-weights on a carpeted floor that cushions joint strain, or on a variety of machines designed to sculpt lats, glutes, and thighs. As parents make a splash in aqua aerobics, their kids can burn off excess energy and talk about their favorite characters from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in the supervised childcare center. Members can also make use of the club's basketball court and follow it up with a trip to the tanning room. For a high-intensity full-body-blasting boot camp, the gym’s own GTX program answers with an intense cross-training regimen. Instructors lead groups through a series of interval stations where clients build muscle definition and whip cardiovascular systems into shape with the help of punching bags and medicine balls laid out on turf and rubber floors. During those training sessions, guests lift and push giant tractor tires, swing heavy ropes, and hop high onto plyometric boxes—all exercises that incorporate functional movements to help people perform everyday tasks, such as hurling giant tractor tires into the air and lassoing them with heavy ropes.
New Life Fitness World motivates calories crusaders with personal trainers and more than 140 hours of group classes. Launch fitness plans in a one-on-one training session before bounding into any of the four locations' exercise courses, such as cycling, Zumba, and Piyo, a combination of yoga, Pilates, and trick yo-yoing. After land-based laps around the indoor tracks, or the aquatic equivalent in the indoor heated pools, fit fiddles can indulge in a sauna steam, a hot-tub soak, or a tanning session. Towel service and locker rooms facilitate transitions out of the gym, while childcare frees parents from the stress of pushing strollers while jogging on the treadmill.
The women-only Inches-A-Weigh health club helps clients meet their fitness and weight-loss goals via a three-part figure-correction program. Each customized treatment plan involves private weekly weigh-ins, nutritional counseling, body sculpting, and cardiovascular exercises. A medley of spa-like services accompanies each program for quicker results. Treatments include body wraps, 30-minute sessions in an infrared sauna design to blast up to 800 calories at one go, and a French-algae skin-tightening wrap that will leave skin as taut and shiny as a shrink-wrapped skyscraper.
When Wayne and Jackie Meier opened the first Midwest Athletic Club in 1984, it was a tiny, 3,000-square-foot facility with a modest staff of one trainer. A lot has changed for the Meiers since the ‘80s; they’ve since ditched the splatter-painted stirrup pants made famous by Ronald Reagan and expanded into six spacious locations throughout the area, helming a diverse staff of personal trainers, expert fitness instructors, and swim teachers. Instructors lead cardio and strength-training classes, as well as sessions of yoga, Pilates, and tai chi. In the pristine waters of the Xtreme branch’s 75-foot pool, coaches demonstrate strokes and techniques and guide fitness-seekers through aquatic aerobics. All locations abound with professional cardio equipment—many of which boast individual TVs—and strength-training equipment from top brands such as Icarian, Universal, and Nautilus.
After workouts, guests can unwind in the wood saunas at the Xtreme and South locations. At the Xtreme location’s café, servers blend a variety of beneficial smoothies and shakes chock-full of fruits and protein.