Nonantum Boxing Club's seven instructors have countless riveting stories from the ring. Nico Gargaro can detail a blow by blow of his 2009 Rocky Marciano Tournament victory, and Nathan Busa can tell of duking it out in the All-Marine Tournament at Camp LeJeune during his four-year stint as a sergeant. It's these experiences the team draws on during the center's daily one-hour boxing conditioning classes, which not only train students of all experience levels in boxing fundamentals, but also incorporate cardio and strength training. At private and semi-private lessons, trainers refine each student's technique, giving the student skills they can hone during the open gym hours the club holds six days a week. Kids can participate in youth classes every Saturday morning, and early risers can stop by at 5:30 a.m. three days a week for heavy bag conditioning, which is more effective than waking up early to punch out the paperboy.
No one is born with the ability to do a roundhouse kick, but—under the guidance of the sage instructors at Giroux Bros. Martial Arts—most can learn. Classes for both kids and adults are centered around Chun Kuk Do, a well-rounded style of karate founded by Chuck Norris and made famous by his performances in blockbuster films and bestselling flipbooks. Students learn to kick, chop, and block from instructors who hold black belts, including founder Steve Giroux, a 6th-degree black belt and regular contributor to the martial arts community at large.
A team of experienced athletes and certified strength-and-conditioning specialists work to help athletes and regular exercisers reach a higher level of fitness. Inside a hybrid training facility with a clean locker room and a smoothie bar, instructors lead metabolic conditioning workouts, spinning classes, and mobility and recovery sessions. Training focuses on increasing speed, agility, and coordination while also teaching stabilization techniques that help prevent injuries.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Town Sports International's network of fitness loci, opens up a number of equipment-stocked facilities across New York to exercisers. Strength-training gear, such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls, molds muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Sessions on cardio machines, ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles, inspire burnt calories to pack up and move to cooler climates. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draws from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, ensuring that no member has to jazzercise without a spotter. Each location rewards exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features such as babysitting, saunas, and steam rooms.
At Boston Taekwondo, seasoned martial artists pass on their skills to kids and adults alike in classes ranging from black-belt tae kwon do to krav maga and kickboxing. Teachers also lead cardio kickboxing courses, which combine dancing and upbeat music with workouts that build self-defense skills.
More than three decades have passed since head instructor Bobby Giordano founded American Martial Arts Center. Giordano spent that time earning not one, but five black belts, and learning the ropes of muay thai and jeet kune do. The former bodyguard spreads his expertise to the masses through private martial-arts classes and enlists a staff of talented instructors to amplify the effect. Together they expound practical self-defense techniques designed to preempt attacks in the ring, on the streets, and in grocery-store aisles the day before Thanksgiving. Teachers whip students into shape during mixed-martial-arts, muay thai, Brazilian jujitsu, and kickboxing classes, which are all practiced in a fun, safe environment.
Kids and teens warrant their own kid-friendly branch of the business. Whereas adult classes aim for fitness and skill, the kids’ sessions emphasize values such as self-confidence and self-discipline, which come in handy when betting a punching bag that you won’t punch it.