In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Whether inside the gym hopping on and off plyometric boxes or outside lifting weights when the sun shines, the trainers at Westsound CrossFit keep routines interesting with ever-changing daily workouts. It’s all part of the CrossFit system, which is designed to employ all muscle groups while staving off the boredom of repetition. Intense classes feature functional movements—such as lifting, pushing, and pulling—that prep participants for all sports, work, and daily activities.
At The Dance Within, teaching the steps for belly dancing, hula, Bollywood, and burlesque isn't enough. The instructors also want to teach students about the culture surrounding the dance. The studio features a salon where you can get a henna tattoo, and a boutique shop where you can find dance garb such as burlesque bustiers, Bollywood disc earrings, and jerseys of popular ballet dancers.
Dina Innominato firmly believes that "everybody knows how to dance, even if they think they can't." To prove this assertion, she opened up a neighborhood dance haven with her friend and fellow dance enthusiast Barb Duff in 2003. Over the course of eight years, the passionate duo has taught more than 4,700 classes and seen more than 75,000 students aged 7 to 70 walk through their intimate, mirror-lined studio, previously named Nia Underground. Since opening, they've acquired a team of instructors to help broaden the spread of classes, which now includes hoop sculpting and strength-training courses. Whether they're teaching students in the studio's signature More than Dance class—created and trademarked by both Innominato and Duff—or in the globally-inspired Zumba class, they work to cultivate a supportive and noncompetitive space where people with and without previous dance experience can let loose, shed pounds, and learn new ways to ceremoniously lacerate rugs.
After descending the stairs to the subterranean dance space bathed in soft, red LED lights, students leave their differences at the door. According to a glowing feature in the Capitol Hill Times, all participants, regardless of age, build, or experience level, "move together…hooting and hollering" as they joyously shake, rattle, and electric-slide across the hardwood floor.
American Athlete’s owner, Tony Held, and his team strive to foster a community that inspires their members to carry health and fitness throughout all aspects of their lives. To push them toward reaching their fitness goals, they’ve stocked their facility with strength and cardio equipment, such as Precor ellipticals and Keiser M3 cycles. They lead students in a broad range of group fitness classes, such as the heart-pumping, Latin-inspired global dance party known as Zumba. Their Les Mills classes include BodyCombat, in which participants unleash a furious array of martial-arts-inspired moves on imaginary armies of parking-meter maids. For more solitary workouts, personal trainers customize one-on-one sessions, offering encouragement as they help their clients blast past plateaus to new levels of fitness.