The professional staff and certified personal trainers at Optimal Sport Health Club, a popular chain of boutique fitness centers in Philadelphia, want to help their clients get into the best shape of their lives. The facilities have everything members need to reach their workout goals, whether they want to build lean muscle, lose weight, or simply get stronger.
Here, clients can work out with the cardio and strength-training equipment or head over to the group fitness studio to take classes in everything from Pilates to step class to yoga. Personal trainers are on hand for those looking to ramp up their fitness routines.
Fusion Cross-Training offers group and personal training; it's not an exercise factory where rows of strangers sweat silently, but rather a chic, imitate studio where the staff works with the workouts and the heart, muscles, and mind exercise in unison. During one month of membership, students of health get unlimited access to cross-training sessions that include 25 minutes of cardio (running, biking, and rowing), a half hour of strength/resistance training with weights and bands, and 20 minutes of flexibility development via yoga and relaxation exercises. The workouts—which help clients lose weight, tone muscle structure, relieve stress, and burn through fat like hot frying pans—are led by qualified, motivational coaches, and end with a rest period that incorporates aromatherapy and massage to help relax both body and mind. Up to 1,000 calories can be burned in one session.
Ten years ago, Jon Haas counted himself among other out-of-shape office workers. He'd begun to fill out and develop back pain thanks to long workdays spent in front of a computer screen. To stave off the effects of his sedentary lifestyle, Jon began performing short, powerful workouts in the comfort of his hotel room, often using simply his own bodyweight and a chair. Then he added a kettlebell. Eventually, the exercises gained such popularity among his family, friends, and coworkers that Jon opened Warrior Fitness Gym, which offers a variety of fitness classes, including boxing and martial arts, to combat ill health and extra pounds.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.
At the age of 4, Josh Gannone got his first taste of wrestling. His father thought the sport might be more captivating for his son, who previously had fallen asleep during a karate class. After being beaten up for the entire first session, Josh went on to win a state title in his youth, wrestle for the Team New Jersey for a select time before college, and begin coaching after graduating. Today, he teaches his first love, wrestling, alongside newer passions: Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and circuit training.
Hot yoga doesn't just help practitioners lose weight, increase flexibility, and tone muscles. It also helps them heal from life-threatening injuries. Bhakti Yoga South Jersey owner Ed Gergler is proof of that. After a near-fatal car crash, Gergler discovered hot yoga, which helped him treat his chronic back pain without surgery. It was so effective that he switched careers from a construction pipe worker to a yoga teacher and studio owner. Now he and his staff lead students through heated yoga classes that strengthen their cores and Warm Yoga with Nidra that helps them reduce stress and achieve peaceful mindsets. The teachers even offer up tips to new students, encouraging them to drink plenty of water and keep an open mind.