301 S. College St., Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28202
Conveniently located in the Center City, this branch of the YMCA is a favorite with business people in Charlotte. The state-of-the-art fitness center is equipped with all of the latest strength and cardiovascular equipment including Cybex, Nautilus, Free Motion, Precor and StairMaster, a cycle studio, indoor heated swimming pool, two half-court basketball courts and a 1/9-mile indoor running track. Amenities include complimentary towel service, private lockers and showers, free WiFi, massage therapy, a pro shop and the Fitness Bar serving healthy breakfast, lunch, salad bar and snacks. Non-YMCA members are welcome, with guest fees set at $10 a day or $20 per week. Several other YMCA branches are located nearby, including the Dowd YMCA on E. Morehead Street and the Gateway Village YMCA on W. Trade Street. Dowd is one of the Y’s largest facilities with racquetball and handball courts, two indoor pools, men’s and women’s health centers with saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs and numerous group classes, plus onsite shoe shine and repair, dry cleaners and a barber shop.
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1405 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
Boxing is one of the hottest fitness trends of 2014, so get your Rocky on at this gym on Charlotte’s south side, open from 6 a.m. to midnight every day. Contenders offers fitness and personal training, including jump rope and speed bag sessions, as well as nightly sparring practice. Lessons from beginning to advanced cover footwork, jabbing, punching, defense and all of the moves to make you a contender. The coaches offer a one-on-one trial session for $20. Single sessions are $45, with several cost-saving packages available. A second Contenders is located in the Gold’s Gym at Lake Norman.
9535 Monroe Road, Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28270
CrossFit, combining strength training, kettlebell workouts, martial arts moves and cardio conditioning in an intense, boot camp-style environment is one of the best ways to ramp up your fitness, and CrossFit regulars don’t take vacations. This gym on Charlotte’s east side has all of the equipment you’ll need for the CrossFit workout of the day (WOD), plus coaches to motivate your efforts. Drop-in sessions are $20 or sign up for the week for $50. If you’re new to CrossFit, the coaches here offer a free introductory class to introduce the nine essential elements plus safety practices. The kitchen at CrossFit Charlotte serves healthy smoothies and paleo lunches and dinners.
1900 East Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
One of the city’s most beautiful parks, Freedom sits between the Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods. A run here can be inspiring, especially in spring when the groves of cherry trees are in bloom. Favorite running paths circle the seven-acre lake and run through the woods on the far side of Sugar Creek, where you’ll also find free tennis courts with lights for night play. For those looking for a longer run, head down the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a paved path stretching nearly three miles all the way to the Capt. Jack statue at East Third Street and Kings Drive. Ready for prime time? Head out from Freedom Park on the famous Booty Loop through Myers Park, where Charlotte’s most beautiful bods bike, run and rollerblade under a canopy of trees.
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800 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28202
If you’d rather swim your way to fitness, Charlotte’s world famous aquatic center, the scene of many competitions, is just a couple of blocks from uptown. Facilities include the 50-meter competition pool, plus a 25-yard heated pool, adult-only hot tub, fitness center with cardio and weight-lifting equipment, locker rooms and a concession area. The center is open to the general public seven days a week, with non-resident passes priced at $8. Special programs include extended lap swimming, water exercise, water polo and kayak nights.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.