As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
In 2014, Curves partnered with celebrity fitness expert Jillian Michaels to design a new take on its traditional circuit. These workouts incorporate functional bodyweight exercises—each with modifications—into the existing sequence, providing a slightly more intense gym experience intended to jump-start metabolisms while still forging lean, toned muscles.
Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
At CrossFit West Allis, Coach Sara, Coach Kyle, and the rest of the crew lead their hard-sweating charges through a battery of functional exercises six days a week. Just as in the military or on a sports team, the group dynamic encourages participants to push themselves?and each other?harder and longer. The Workout of the Day might incorporate deadlifts, gymnastics stretches, or kettlebells on a given day, all designed to sculpt physiques and improve health at every stage of life.