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.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The trainers at Pure Workout have stripped away the glamour of giant, impersonal gyms. They usher guests into a no-excuses zone where simple weights and calisthenics reign supreme, leading their classes with a potent mix of fitness expertise and tough love. Their routines vary, but each boot-camp session sparks friendly competition between attendees as they flip tires, heft weights, and sprint up hills. With no regard for noncommittal members who sneak helium into their kettlebells, the staff prizes Pure Workout's exclusive atmosphere—a quality that earned the gym a feature on NBC 5 and the title of CityVoter's Best Boot Camp in 2012.
Created by dancer and choreographer Carrie Rezabek, Pure Barre utilizes the ballet barre to dissolve fat and tone muscles throughout the body. In group classes, upbeat music ushers participants along as they perform intense, concentrated movements, which manifests a fit physical transformations as well as mental results similar to those garnered in zen practices such as yoga, meditation, and eating ice cream in a dark room.
The enthusiastic instructors at local Yoga patiently coach aspiring yogis as they stretch torsos and reach toes sky-high in supportive group yoga sessions. Amid ivory walls and colorful accents, students vogue through fundamental asanas in Intro to Yoga classes, as the session-helming relaxation gurus eagerly impart expert tips and answer questions. To kick-start cardiovascular health, Power 2 classes sweep sinews through a fast-paced sequence of fluid Vinyasa poses, and Express Yoga loosens up taut muscles and rusty Leave It to Beaver lunchboxes during swift 45-minute sessions. Alternatively, pupils can gradually banish stress with Deep Flow classes, which nurture supple sinews with meditative, sustained poses that make The Thinker statue seem fidgety.