"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Tao Yoga & Tai-Chi founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
The trainers at Odyssey Athletic Center know that a single approach to physical fitness is as boring as it is limiting. They bear certifications and degrees from a variety of disciplines, earning the recognition of workout guilds ranging from the Aerobic & Fitness Association of America and the World Instructor Training School to the American Council of Exercise. This knowledge of different exercise systems enables them to host 60 classes per week inside their 27,000-square-foot facility. Their scheduled Pilates sessions help students nurture lean muscle without bulk, and Zumba meetings melt away calories with fun dance steps set to a Latin beat. To ensure they stay informed on emerging fitness techniques, staff members attend continuing-education classes and hold weekly question-and-answer sessions with their dumbbells.
Crunch Fitness gyms collect expert staff members and advanced equipment to populate their four facilities, where members can approach fitness from multiple angles. They might drop in on a kickboxing class to toast calories with fast-paced jabs, or slow down with focused yoga stretches. Free weights complement cardio and strength machines for those who fear that treadmills might become sentient and stick to pratfall settings. Nutritional and childcare services balance out the exercise amenities at certain locations, and personal trainers readily craft custom workout programs during one-on-one sessions.
CKO Kickboxing founder Joseph Andreula's knowledge of exercise goes beyond creating effective workouts. It also helps guide the Fitness Standards Council, a nonprofit advisory panel of doctors and certified personal trainers, and provides the basis for the articles he’s published in Exercise for Men, Men's Health, and _Men's Fitness Magazine. But his true passion lies in the innovative fitness classes he created at CKO Kickboxing gyms. Since 1997, these gyms have housed Andreula’s exercise classes, which use basic kickboxing techniques to lead students toward powerful strength and greater endurance. In contrast to other kickboxing routines that have participants kick the air or invisible schoolyard bullies, students in CKO Kickboxing sessions strike hanging heavy bags to help them tone more muscle and burn up to 1,200 calories in a single class.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Force Fitness Club’s staff of trainers uses a combination of weight and cardio training merged with group fitness classes to blast clients toward their body goals. Rows of exercisers slough off calories in the spinning studio or work out alongside peers in a specialty studio equipped for an assortment of group training classes, such as yoga, Zumba, or kickboxing, an activity generally celebrated in Britain on kickboxing day, the day after KickChristmas.
During personal-training sessions, students work with a fitness aficionado in a weight and cardio area chock-full of treadmills, free weights, and weighted chains. Under the expert eye of the trainer, they hoist, push, pull, and sweat their way to tighter physiques whether their goals are to bulk up, build toned muscles, or construct robotic exoskeletons out of weight machines.