At Victory Fitness Center, members pump iron in the weight room and pedals on the stationary bikes before giving weary muscles respite in the whirlpool or sauna. Besides providing fitness coaching to keep everyone on the right track, the gym also provides an environment free of intimidation with men- and women-only workout areas. To supplement those workouts, the staff designs easy-to-follow weight-loss programs, and certified trainers lead group classes such as Zumba, boxing, and boot camp.
After living everywhere from Washington, DC, to Guatemala, the owners of Urban Moves wound up in Columbus, and decided to pursue their passion for fitness and entrepreneurship. They bought the gym from its previous owner, and transformed it into a membership-free fitness studio dedicated exclusively to exercisers working with trainers, either one-on-one or in group classes.
In the boutique studio, the team of personal trainers designs programs to suit their clients’ goals, whether they want to complete a 5K race or take a bite from the famed nougat peak of Mount Everest. The troupe also hosts a variety of group classes in a wide range of exercise modalities, from gentle yoga to high-tech Power Plate training—a bona fide miracle of modern science that shapes muscles through vibration.
Next Level Fitness fosters a nurturing family environment by fielding a supportive staff, furnishing a host of up-to-date equipment, and gearing training toward each visitor's individual goals. Cheery yellow walls augment the gym's welcoming vibe, which is less intimidating than a puppy playing soft jazz on the piano. The 7,000-square-foot workout area brims with both machines and free weights. Treadmills direct their glare toward mounted flat-screen television screens and holograms of canteens situated just out of reach. A cadre of certified trainers—all of whom were college or pro athletes—impart their kinesthetic wisdom during one-hour personalized sessions, and group classes and boot camps spur wholesome bouts of perspiration with spinning courses and core-bolstering moves. Next Level specializes in athletic-performance training for all ages and sports, having run players from the NFL, NBA, and MLB through their paces in a 12,000-square-foot turf field house. Amenities such as batting cages, pitching cages, and cages containing surly pythons can sharpen clients' speed, strength, and evasiveness for upcoming games. Next Level even rents out the field house for sundry other inertia-obliterating purposes, such as games of dodge ball, rugby, football, and track and field events.
Fueled by Joseph Pilates' belief that exercise should enhance and support the natural machinery of the human body, instructors lead students through a tapestry of intense, focused moves that draw from weight training, aerobics, yoga, and tai chi. In addition to leading group mat classes aimed at boosting core strength, they stock their hardwood studio with machines such as Cadillacs, ladder barrels, and reformers that rely on handles, ropes, and pulleys to heighten the workouts. The staffers offer semi-private and private lessons that focus exclusively on these reformer machines, which each face their own mirror so practitioners can perfect their poses and James Cagney impersonations simultaneously. To liven up the floor routines, they sometimes combine elements of TRX suspension training or ballet-barre workouts, both excellent complements to the intense core work of Pilates.
The kitchen can seem bewildering to a child peering up at the many colanders, peelers, and skillets on the shelves, but a lesson from the trained cooks at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna quickly demystifies kitchen utensils and cooking techniques. Weekly classes introduce kids to culinary concepts that vary each month, and full-day camps explore the culinary traditions of different countries and time periods. Weekend events highlight exotic dishes or take children on cartoon-themed picnics. In addition to kid-friendly offerings, the academy hosts team-building exercises for adults and businesses, pitting friends and coworkers against one another in Iron Chef competitions with all food, recipes, and English overdubs provided.
After years toiling anonymously away in "big box" gyms, Greg Woods and professional bodybuilder Rich Lauro wanted to create a gym that felt a little less impersonal. Members get a keycard that lets them in at any time of the day or night, so they can work out on their own schedule. Personal trainers—three of who are competitive bodybuilders—work one-on-one with clients to headlock their goals, whether they'd like to lose weight or kick-start a career as a strongman and future governor. For a more communal fitscapade, instructors lead a host of fitness classes, including Zumba and Strongman and Strongwoman Saturdays—a boot camp that outfits bodies with rip-roaring muscles with squats, bench-presses, and sled work.
For guests who want to work out at their own pace, the gym stocks a staggering array of equipment. Guests buff up with the help of free weights, including Ader kettlebells and Intek dumbbells, or befriend Life Fitness and Hammer Strength strength-training machines to hedge their bets against the coming robot apocalypse. For a break from traditional workouts, members can get acquainted with functional fitness equipment, such as medicine balls and tires that weigh anywhere from 150–610 pounds.
Within the temperature-controlled interior of what used to be a warehouse, students flow from sun salutations to standing lunges before rising into rigorous poses. At the head of the class stands the studio's founder, Julie Verhoff Pipes, relaying the athletic blend of yoga and aerobics that she personally developed from a combination of Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram yoga techniques.
Though softened by woven curtains and hanging lanterns, the studio's raw, industrial feel remains. The Spartan decor increases focus since the studio possesses no distracting pictures or traditional yoga clowns.