Best of Boston Wellness 2016
Best Martial Arts Studio
Florian Martial Arts Center
Co-owned by former UFC star Kenny Florian and his brother Keith, the Florian Martial Arts Center is one of the state’s premier MMA facilities for hard-core martial artists. But you don’t have to be hard-core to enjoy this Brookline gym—the center offers classes for every skill level and age, including children. In addition to teaching world-class technique, the center feels like a tight-knit community.
6 Webster St., Brookline, 617-232-3228, florianmartialartscenter.com.
Best Parent-Baby Fitness
Mama & Me
When you’re a sleep-deprived mess, you crave a mellow sanctuary. Thankfully, Mama & Me caters to abs and well-being: Yes, it has excellent yoga and postnatal Pilates, but it also keeps the mind agile with the biggest roster of parenting support groups we’ve seen since Isis Parenting shuttered.
284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-3432, mymamaandme.com.
Best Personal Trainer
Some trainers tend to give pointless cues, like “Lengthen your muscles!” and offer nauseating advice straight from The Secret. Sarah Dussault isn’t one of them. She tells it like it is, whether you want to hear it or not. No, you can’t lengthen your muscles in real life—but you can have the best body for your body. Dussault’s believable, refreshing approach has made her a YouTube star.
Best Pilates Studio
Boston Body Pilates
This bright Newbury Street spot is one of Boston’s Pilates pioneers, and features trainers like Arnold Lee, whose humor and laid-back style make reformer Pilates seem fun and simple—even if the contraptions resemble medieval torture devices.
14 Newbury St., Boston, 617-262-3333, bostonbody.com.
Best Pickup Basketball
Back Bay Fens
Join a medley of adults, area high school students, and families for a pickup game any time of day. If there’s a line for the two courts, you can take a jog around the track, toss a football on the turf field, or stroll through the rose garden while you wait.
Back Bay Fens, emeraldnecklace.org.
Best Pickup Hockey
Larz Anderson Park
Situated on a plateau inside the 64-acre park, this rink is a temple dedicated to the sport’s outdoor roots. With better ice than most state-run indoor barns and a cozy locker room for lacing up, a pickup game at Larz is a steal at $10.
23 Newton St., Brookline, 617-730-2069, brooklinerec.com.
Best Pregnancy Workout
The only just-women gym in town also offers the most comprehensive prenatal package around, including yoga, nutrition counseling, acupuncture, and on-site babysitting once you’re sans belly.
441 Stuart St., Boston, 617-859-7700; and other locations; healthworksfitness.com.
Best Rock-Climbing Gym
Buy a day pass and learn from cheerful instructors who will get you scaling walls like Spider-Man in no time. Year-round kids’ camps and unusual classes like yoga with chocolate samplings and parkour engage fitness buffs of all ages and proclivities.
12A Tyler St., Somerville, 617-623-6700, brooklynboulders.com.
Best Running Coach
Dan Fitzgerald, Heartbreak Hill Running Company
The Heartbreakers’ free run clubs, offered multiple times a week, will get you on the road. When you’re ready for more, turn to Heartbreak Hill co-owner Dan Fitzgerald, who does it all: private or group training featuring long runs, speed work, hills, and strength training.
638 Commonweath Ave., Newton, 617-467-4487, southendathleticcompany.com.
Best Running Shop
If you’re looking for the coolest off-the-shelf shoes, Marathon Sports isn’t for you. If you’re looking for one-on-one attention, knowledgeable salespeople, a thorough gait analysis, and a huge selection of running-specific brands, this is your version of heaven.
671 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-4774, marathonsports.com.
Best Sports Medicine Department
Clough Family Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies
The list of amenities at this center reads like a tech junkie’s Christmas list: an underwater treadmill; a state-of-the-art exercise machine that uses body cooling and compression to maximize progress; and gadgets for gait and golf-swing analysis.
310 Baker Ave., Concord, 978-287-8200, emersonhospital.org.
Best Squash Club
The Boston Racquet Club
No stodgy vibe here: Members love Mike Downey, the head on-site pro, for his remarkable skills, as well as his instinctive matchmaking abilities. Plus, the facility has six wide international courts—a high number for a downtown club.
100 Summer St., Boston, 617-482-8881, thebostonracquetclub.com.
Best Yoga Studio
North End Yoga
At North End Yoga, even the all-levels vinyasa class incorporates ab workouts and back bends we’ve rarely seen at other local studios. Despite the intensity, its vibe is more incense-tinged serene than sweat-laden studio. Namaste to that.
256 Hanover St., Boston, 617-227-9642, northendyoga.com.
Best Niche Yoga Studio
Back Bay Yoga by YogaWorks
Here, creative classes stretch body and boundaries. Exhibit A: Yogaworks’ signature hip-hop yoga class, held in a heated room and soundtracked with explicit rap music. (Trust us, it’s amazing.) Approachable teachers keep things real, even while you’re upside down, sweating to Biggie.
364 Boylston St., Boston, 617-375-9642, backbayyoga.com.
Best Zumba Instructor
His license plate reads “Zumba.” Really. His clientele is equally devoted: A gaggle of women—and a few men—follow the theater-trained guru around town, from Boston Sports Clubs to Healthworks, for 60-minute sweat sessions featuring a mix of Latin rhythms and reggaeton beats. He’s adept at putting newcomers at ease, and he trained with Zumba pioneer Tanya Beardsley.
Boston Sports Clubs (multiple locations) and Healthworks (multiple locations), adambokunewicz.zumba.com.
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