In 1990, Christina Rondeau fell in love. With martial arts, that is. After earning her black belt and competing in amateur karate and martial arts tournaments all over the United States and Europe, Rondeau decided to go pro. She travelled the globe as a member and coach on the USA WAKO kickboxing team, and went on to win the women's lightweight title. Rondeau continued to feed her athletic hunger with a switch to pro boxing and appeared in numerous print media and television shows, including The Maury Povich Show.
Having achieved fame and glory, Rondeau took on a new fight: she wanted to help women and children defend themselves while gaining indomitable confidence. She has authored books, created instructional DVDs, and opened Rondeau’s Kickboxing. The women-only, 24/7 gym garnered Rhode Island Monthly’s readers’ pick for Best Fitness Center in 2010, due in no small part to its empowering blend of fitness and martial-arts-based classes. Rondeau also promotes safety in her community by participating in events geared towards ending violence toward women and girls and teaching local schoolchildren how to defend themselves or pass a math quiz without using weapons. She also coordinated a box-a-thon to help line the shelves of a Rhode Island food bank.
Jay Brousseau, founder and sensei of ShoDan Karate, works with other accomplished martial artists to teach programs for children and adults. The school favors ancient techniques that hail from Okinawa, the Japanese island where 19th-century karate master Sokon Matsumura honed his skill. Sensei Jay aligns himself with the Beikoku Shido-kan Karate-do Association headed by Sensei Seikichi Iha. Instructors from all over the world—including Russia, Israel, and Australia—seek out the instruction and support of this master. To maintain their membership, Sensei Jay and his team must train regularly with Sensei Iha. All of their adult students who test for black belts must also do so in front of Sensei Iha, who nods when they succeed and opens a trapdoor when they fail.
Tired groans and shouts of encouragement echo throughout Pro Fitness’s expansive exercise facilities, which host individual workouts and a diverse schedule of one-hour group classes led by attentive instructors. Socially inclined gym-goers sweat their way through classes such as Zumba, cardio kickboxing, Pilates, and yoga as instructors scour their persons for energy left unspent. Calories shrink in horror at the sight of seemingly endless rows of exercise bikes, treadmills, and weight-training equipment designed to maximize the efficiency of solo workouts. Wall-mounted flat-screen TVs keep minds occupied while bodies wrap themselves in cocoons of sweat and emerge as muscle-bound butterflies.
Planet Fitness' massive, brightly colored edifice teems with aerobic, strength-training, tanning, and massage options, tailored to suit burgeoning buffs of all ages and abilities. A two-month Black Card membership (a $39.98 value) with enrollment fee included (a $99 value) offers exercisers a wide range of Planet's benefits, including access to an extensive fleet of cardio equipment, strength-training equipment, and free weights, which move unhindered by large machines or political censorship. Tan-seekers can bask in the unlimited artificial sunshine of the gym's tanning booths, and an army of shiatsu massage chairs stands at the ready, twiddling soothing robot thumbs and waiting to coax tension from tired tendons.
Inside Serenity Yoga’s calming confines, attentive instructors guide students toward physical fitness and inner peace with the help of ancient poses and mind-focusing exercises. Yogis of all skill levels congregate in group classes, where they work to build community and self-awareness with each stretch, bend, and game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Classes range from gentle, chair-based routines to athletic Vinyasa sessions, where students transition from one pose to the next with balance-challenging movement and concentration-honing breath work. To help new pupils build a strong foundation for future yogic endeavors, teachers spout technique tips and encouraging words. In addition to yoga classes, the studio also hosts soul-stirring events, including meditation workshops, tarot-card readings, and metaphysical fondue parties.
Gold's Gym began more than 45 years ago and today features an impressive array of next-generation fitness gadgets, a results-oriented focus, and clean facilities. An array of classes, such as Zumba, Turbo Kick or Body Pump, gives muscles participating in the 30-day pass endless opportunities to deliver seismic punches through cardio sound barriers. Exercisers seeking a more tranquil, centering workout experience can utilize yoga and Pilates classes, while go-getter garçons and calf-muscle queens can spin in a cycling class. Special-event classes and a constant format-flip keep attention, interest, and pulses piqued. Check the Greenwich and Pawtucket class schedules for times and availability. The 30-day pass includes a gym membership, giving buyers full access to all facilities and equipment.