In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
Xpose Fitness transforms its students into fit, confident divas with sultry exercise classes that have been featured on TLC and CNN. Certified instructors lead 50-minute workouts for all fitness levels, pairing muscle-lengthening stretches with isometric exercises to build strong, svelte muscles throughout the body. Floor and chair sessions blend yoga and Pilates poses into a dance routine that makes sexy props out of everyday objects such as desk chairs, loveseats, and throw pillows shaped like Grover Cleveland's moustache. In pole-dancing classes, the teacher imparts basic spins with step-by-step instructions and a steady stream of encouragement. Exercise modifications are available at each workout, helping new exercisers and injured participants move safely and comfortably. Consult the class schedule for times, and visit the FAQ page for a list of items to bring along.
Okello Dunkley designs his workshops for students who have just bought or are thinking of buying a DLSR camera but are mystified by its myriad gadgets and gizmos. The accessible nature of these classes has helped Okello spread them into more than 30 locations across the country, where students as young as 11 learn how to take a digital camera off automatic mode and manually manipulate ISO light sensors and aperture openings.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
With a drove of dedicated instructors, Synergy imparts peace upon its practitioners through myriad mat classes. Both introductory yoga and Pilates courses––such as yoga for every body, gentle Prana flow, and Mat I pilates––cater to balance-seeking beginners, with a focus on building core strength and overcoming pipe-cleaner envy. In upper-level lessons (including Mat II Pilates and Vinyasa yoga), aspiring Stretch Armstrongs can fine-tune their flexibility with more challenging poses. Specialized classes such as Pilates for Golf help limberize link lovers by bestowing more powerful swings and bogey-erasing Jedi mind tricks. Classes take place in Synergy's 4,000-square-foot sanctuary, where natural wood floors complement expansive sage walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows let stretchers draw real-life inspiration for poses like the tree and the shy centaur. Synergy also fosters a supportive atmosphere for students of all abilities, complete with a relaxing lounge where classmates are encouraged to meet after their scheduled class, to socialize and read each other’s fortunes over cups of tea or coffee.
LA Boxing’s fight-centric gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.