Health & Wellness

Fitness Options Exploding In Madison


MADISON, NJ -  It’s a new year, and if you have made a resolution to get in shape and lose weight in 2017, geography should be no excuse. Recently, there has been an explosion of fitness options right here in town. On Main Street alone, there are seven locations currently open or about to open where you can start burning fat and defining muscle, including a studio that features isometric leg work at a wall-mounted ballet barre, and a studio that blends Pilates, ballet and strength training, a 10-week body and mind renewal studio with a nutritional component, two store-front personal trainers, three yoga studios and The Bar Method.

Off of Main Street, there is also a new Pilates studio opening, a yoga studio, and of course, the Madison Area YMCA, which features an indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, a large variety of group classes including Zumba, gymnastics center, gym, cycle room, teen room, playing fields, and an indoor playground.

“At the Y, there’s something for everyone in the family,” said Senior Director of Healthy Living Joe Gonsalves. “We focus on the health and wellness of the whole person -- physically, mentally and emotionally. We also stay on-trend with the latest fitness equipment, facility upgrades, and small group training like TRX and Pilates Reformer.”

“Madison has seen an increase in both franchise and privately owned fitness companies in the past year as the nationwide trend toward health and wellness grows,” said Karen Giambra, Executive Director, Madison Chamber of Commerce. “It makes sense because we have a demographic and lifestyle that fits the fitness industry profile. Combined with a solid track record of supporting and embracing our local businesses, there is simply no better place to live, work, shop, dine and now -- exercise.”

Also, just outside of town in Chatham, there is a kickboxing studio as well as the Chatham Club, which offers the latest cardio and strength training equipment, more than 90 group exercise classes a week, sports performance training for student athletes and one of the strongest squash programs in the area.

“A Chatham Club membership includes all of your studio classes under one roof, such as spin, yoga, barre, boot camp, and Pilates,” said Barbara Grobert, Director of Marketing and Sales at The Chatham Club. “In addition, our gym offers squash, the latest cardio and strength building equipment, experienced personal trainers, and two age-specific nurseries.”

"I love that the array of local, convenient options will enable individuals to find something that changes their lives from the outside in. Best part, we will collectively role model the importance of wellness for our children," said Gina Striffler owner of The Bar Method, a Madison borough favorite.  "As business owner and a resident in the town, I am excited that the local, convenient options will contribute to Madison's wellness across all ages," Striffler added. 

To help you make your decision on what to try or even what to add to your daily fitness routine, here is a definition and the pros of some current fitness trends found in and around Madison:

Pilates -- Pilates is a series of nonimpact exercises using special apparatus to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness. A particular focus is on your core, or mid-section, which is supposed to help ensure proper posture. Pros: Good for all fitness levels. Amazing for your abs, which can help relieve lower back pain. Pilates also helps to increase joint mobility. 

Bar/Barre -- A ballet barre workout differs from other fitness options in that the movements occur in tiny, one-inch increments called “isometric movements.” These movements differ from larger, longer leg squats or shoulder presses on heavy gym equipment and will allow you to do more reps, helping to increase strength and endurance faster. Pros: Proponents say you will develop a long, lean dancer’s body. Also, multiple muscle groups are in play, and people who are bored with their current workout will find the barre approach refreshing. Also, there is a low risk of injury. 

Yoga -- Yoga is a mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation that originated in ancient India. Pros: There is a reason why yoga has been around for 5,000 years. It provides a host of mental and physical benefits in a world that can be full of stress and anxiety, and is good for people of all ages and fitness levels. There are many different forms of yoga, and choosing one to suit you can be daunting.  Depending on what style of yoga you choose, the intensity level can vary greatly; while most yoga isn’t considered extremely aerobic, some “power yoga” classes will definitely make you sweat. And often, the quality of the instructor can make all the difference.

Zumba -- Zumba is an aerobic fitness program inspired by Latin American dance set to Latin American music. Pros: Zumba has been found to burn more calories than many other forms of cardio. Also, it’s so fun you almost don’t realize you’re working out. Be aware there is a good amount of choreography involved and the quality of the class varies by instructor.

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