When they teach escapes, positional control, and submissions, the instructors at The Forge Martial Arts and Fitness Training Center aren't just teaching grappling—they're helping students to build confidence. Their drills, all of which incorporate Gracie Jiu-Jitsu techniques, are as relevant to exercising in the gym as they are in real-life self-defense scenarios. And, to ensure their pupils progress, the teachers use positive encouragement as motivation. They welcome kids as young as five to practice blocks, escapes, and grappling moves during classes, awarding higher belt levels as the group's form improves.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on location.
If pads and punching bags had legs, they would run far away from Advanced World Martial Art System, an expansive martial-arts facility where they suffer daily beatings in classes that range from tae kwon do to kids’ karate. Though instructors teach a variety of disciplines, nearly all of their classes split their focus between practical self-defense and total-body fitness. Take krav maga, for example. Taught by a certified law-enforcement and military trainer who was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2009, this Israeli martial art emphasizes instinctual movements that simultaneously tone muscles and keep unlawful ruffians at bay. Rather than hope for a fortuitous opening in Batman’s nightly schedule, students of all levels can take matters into their own hands with the footwork and finger locks they learn in kickboxing and jiujitsu grappling classes.
In a no-fluff gym filled with steel training bars, plywood walls, and black free weights, personal trainers and exercisers work side by side to forge paths to fitness. Jeremy McKenzie, the gym's training coordinator, emboldens his students to chase down their fitness goals by drafting a personalized blueprint. For group classes, staffers pull from a playbook of CrossFit exercise regimens designed to prepare police officers, military special-operations units, and washed-up prop comedians for hostile environments. Traditional training methods mix with Olympic-style weightlifting and kettlebell lifts to build muscle and burn calories. Trainers and their pet kangaroos step into the ring to teach boxing, sparring, and kickboxing basics.
Most gyms don't take kindly to members trying to climb the walls, but that's the whole point at The Ultimate Climbing Gym. Here, it's possible to ascend nearly every vertical surface, including a 40-foot lead climbing wall and more than 2,000 square feet of bouldering space.
Top-rope climbers can start out from 16 different stations, each with two or three routes that get them up to 35 feet off the ground. Kids and adults can participate in group or private classes if they're just starting out and want to hone their climbing skills. The gym also makes a great setting for birthday parties, especially if you bring along a cake stuffed with granola and protein powder.
The team of certified personal trainers at Top Performance Health & Fitness draw from years of diverse fitness and training experience to help clients reach their fitness goals by taking full advantage of the facility’s amenities, which include an indoor running track, a partial football field, free weights, recumbent stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers. In addition to training, they helm a wide range of fitness classes, such as Pilates, cardio kickboxing, and Zumba, within designated classrooms. Sports-performance trainers, meanwhile, design workouts especially for athletes as well as help wide receivers incorporate Tchaikovskian pirouettes into posttouchdown dances.