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.
Sisters Brenda McCullen-Moeske and Maryann Fischler are devoted to disproving the stereotype that exercise is boring and chore-like. In an effort to do this, they married their love of hula-hooping with their passion for physical fitness to craft a fun and effective counterargument to the monotonous workout routines that most people and alien-hybrid clones designed to look like people are used to. Flexing their matching AFAA certifications, the pair helps students tone entire physiques with the gyrating movement of hula-hooping. In their tune-blasting studio, which is nestled inside The Court Club, they lead low-impact aerobic exercises that incorporate hula-hoops, stability balls, and resistance bands.
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.
At the eba Center for Dance and Fitness, the world of West Side Story coexists with the folklore of Tahiti and the fluid performance art of Isadora Duncan. That's because the class catalogue is both sprawling and diverse, accommodating guests of all ages and abilities. Move Your Body classes, for example, cater to students 50 and older with a restorative and rhythmic workout, while ballet and modern hip-hop fusion courses hone in on specific styles. Some classes, like Pilates and yoga, focus on developing muscle and flexibility. Others, like Ballet Workout, gracefully combine dance and fitness aspects without having students do the Macarena on a treadmill.
At the Knowledge Network, experts in fields such as dance, spirituality, cooking, and writing teach a cornucopia of cultural, commercial, and life-skills classes with a flexible schedule of diverse classes held throughout the capital district. In Best Holiday Treats from Around the World on December 7 ($50 plus one nonperishable item for the Latham food bank), Chef Ric Orlando—champion of the Food Network’s Chopped—puts his signature spin on sizzling Hanukkah latkes, Kwanzaa peanut soup, the Italian feast of the seven fishes, and figgy pudding, taking holiday cooking far past the realm of microwave-cooked Peeps. Author and dream warrior Robert Moss imparts his synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic practices in The Power of Active Dreaming on December 8 ($45), where students learn to solve problems, improve health, and spark creativity during nighttime reveries. Revisit bygone eras of hip hop with four Breakdancing classes ($45), in which students learn to spin, toprock, and perform basic floor routines under the guidance of instructor Turbeau, who has performed on MTV’s The Grind.
Spreading across five floors of the Steuben Building, Steuben Athletic Club houses a plethora of exercise machines and fitness classes to help clients achieve their ideal physiques. Initiate a personal transformation or maintain an already-sculpted silhouette with a month of full access to Steuben's fleet of treadmills, stationary bikes, and magical flying yoga mats. When taking a break from the club's immobile modes of transport, customers can bolster their biceps in the free-weight room, glide through the chlorinated waters of the swimming pool, or cultivate sweat beads in the sauna and steam rooms. Social exercisers can work alongside other fitness enthusiasts in any of the gym's classes, including body-strengthening yoga sessions and intense spinning courses, fast-paced regimens that utilize hardcore Ring Around the Rosie repetitions. Check the club's class schedule for up-to-date information.