A five-time American Taekwondo Association World Champion, chief master Von Schmeling, began Victory Martial Arts to teach pupils confidence and leadership skills while imparting martial-arts techniques. Classes capped at 30 students, with at most 10 students per instructor, cover disciplines such as general martial arts, krav maga, and self-defense for thwarting assailants and heavily armed spiders. Budding martial artists hone their craft alongside loved ones in family sessions or practice maneuvers in age-specific sequences for kids, teens, or adults.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
"Pain is weakness leaving the body" may be mantra at Mean Genes Fitness, but founder Chris and his fellow trainers just want to help people feel their best. In the boxing rings and spacious studios of the Fighting Arts Emporium, the training team guides kickboxing classes, boot camp sessions, and the fitness outfit's signature workout. Though most of the students are novices, Chris himself has an extensive martial arts background, having studied a wide range of martial arts since his teens rather than being raised by a pack of karate uniforms.
Sweat Factory's trainers expect hard work of their exercisers, but for good reason. Their CrossFit workouts change every day, which means muscles never become complacent and stop changing. CrossFit's blend of conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting, and throwing helps clients power right through weight-loss plateaus.
It's hard to learn how to fight until you've actually stepped into the ring, which is why the expertise of professional fighters is so highly valued in instructors at martial-arts clubs. With teachers whose in-the-ring careers earned them nicknames like "Merciless" and "Little Giant," American Combat Club's crew members turns their own grappling and striking experiences into a lineup of mixed-martial-arts classes fit for all levels. They teach a fusion form of boxing and kickboxing that incorporates elbow and knee strikes, as well as a Brazilian-jujitsu-based grappling program that elucidates takedowns, submissions, and defenses against commonly encountered holds. Becoming a well-rounded fighter requires more than just technical skill, however, so the teachers also offer full-body conditioning classes in which participants flip tractor tires, swing sledgehammers, and heft medicine balls until they finally confess that they can't actually cure the common cold.
The staff at Legacy Fitness never yells, berates, or curses at their patrons during Legacy Fitness boot camps. Instead, they motivate them with a sense of humor and positive encouragement. To keep them engaged and prevent them from suffering workout burnout, they lead them in a new routine every day. This ever-varying approach prevents bodies from adapting to the workouts, so muscles must always work their hardest, burning more calories and building strength more quickly. They conduct the camps at multiple indoor and outdoor locations, drawing from the surroundings to guide the workouts. On any given day, students might flip oversize tires end over end and work as a team to push a car down an empty street or do sprints and heave medicine balls in a gym. These functional workouts help patrons tone their entire bodies more safely and effectively than swimming laps in a quicksand pit.