You love a high-energy workout, but you could use a push from a trainer and motivation from a group of fellow fitness fans. Check out Orangetheory Fitness. In a studio setting, and working in a group, you move among treadmills, rowing machines and floor work (with balance balls, hand weights, TR-X and such) in each session. Plus, you’re guided by an instructor. You know if you’re on target by watching your heart rate on a monitor (Hint: You’re working for the fat-burning “orange” zone).
205 Main St., Norwalk, 203-883-6070
645 Post Rd. E., Westport, 203-883-9262
525 Tunxis Hill Cut Off, Fairfield, 203-883-8220
It’s not stress, heartbreak or a mountain of chores to do. It’s just that you want to work out at 11 p.m., 7 a.m. or maybe 2:15 in the afternoon. Go whenever, why ever, at Underground Fitness in Stamford. The place is open 24/7 to help you pursue your fitness goals (avoidance goals, whatever). Lift weights, sprint on a treadmill, dance with your Zumba group class. There’s plenty to keep you busy as you clear your thoughts about everything else.
473 Hope St., Stamford, 203-569-3640 undergroundfitnessct.com
WATER SPORTS: BOARDS AND BOATS
Photograph: Bruce Plotkin
While engines and sails are powerful and fun ways to move a boat, there’s something uniquely wonderful about using one’s own muscles. Downunder understands. It is devoted to getting people on the water. Take lessons, join a tour, compete in a race, rent a kayak or paddleboard or sign the kids up for summer camp. Don’t miss the shop, with all of the gear and apparel that suits the surfside lifestyle.
157 Rowayton Ave., Rowayton, 203-642-3660
575 Riverside Ave., Westport, 203-956-6217
The Bar Method
Long, lean, strong. Who doesn’t want a body like that? OK then, get that belly to the bar, because transformation starts at The Bar Method in Fairfield (and soon Westport). In this bright, clean studio, participants in small groups are guided through a series of small, precise movements that have big results on fitness and muscle shape—not to mention a boost to one’s confidence. An instructor keeps an eye on every detail, so you’ll never have to wonder if you’re doing things right.
85 Mill Plain Rd., Fairfield, 203-259-8825; fairfield.barmethod.com
Yoga for Everybody
Breathe. How many times do people tell you to just breathe? It has a way of settling your thoughts and emotions. Practicing yoga will help you not only breathe and re-connect, but also stretch, reach and realign. Gold Coasters say they turn to Yoga for Everybody to practice yoga in the studio or improve their teaching in the training facility. This down-to-earth, independently owned and operated Kripalu-affiliated studio welcomes all levels with classes seven days a week—so breathe easy.
27 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield, 203-254-9642; yoga4everybody.net
For people who topple tires, the members at CrossFit Stamford seem awfully happy with their gym. This place took gold as the best place for the challenging, results-driven workout. You’ll build willpower and push yourself physically—and just when you’re tempted to throw in the towel, you’ll catch sight of yourself in the mirror lifting that weight, jumping atop the box, pulling on the rower, doing another round of push-ups—then keep going. CrossFit Stamford has a way of asking more of you, and getting it.
75 Selleck St., Stamford, 203-569-2906; crossfitstamford.com
With a crisp white, super clean, streamlined studio, SoulCycle sets the stage for riders to focus on one thing: spinning that flywheel and keeping up with the instructor. Climb, sprint and sweat your way to fitness at this indoor cycling studio for forty-five minutes of confidence building. The lights drop, the heart rate zooms and you find balance—thanks to a mix of physical training and inspirational affirmations from the instructors.
266 Mason St., Greenwich, 203-653-7685
372 Post Rd. E., Westport, 203-683-7685
Offering mat and reformer classes, private, duo and trio sessions, Westport Pilates practices the strength-building, flexibility-producing series of movements that bodies love. It’s been open since 2005 and offers state-of-the-art equipment that gives you big results for your work. The studio is airy and pretty. The workouts are tough. Your muscles will quiver with effort, and you’ll see soon enough that Pilates works.
420 Post Rd. W., Westport
1015 Post Rd. E., Westport
Whether dreaming of that green blazer or just hoping to avoid familiar mistakes, golfers are perfectionists. That makes winning best place for golf equipment quite the honor. Golf Galaxy topped the leaderboard by offering options to address every possible tweak to your game that will result in that dream round. Clubs, balls, shoes, bag, apparel and every accessory you could ever need; plus, its lessons, fittings and repairs attend to the variables that prevent the dang ball from falling in the hole.
595 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, 203-855-0500 golfsmith.com
Connecticut Dance Center
Despite numerous and sometimes compelling claims, you don’t have two left feet. It just feels that way. The pros at Connecticut Dance Center can prove it to you and help you find your moves in hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet and contemporary dance training. In the company’s packed schedule of classes, find plenty of options for kids and teens, or consider private lessons.
76 Viaduct Rd., Stamford, 203-569-3131; ctdancecenter.com
SPORTS GEAR STORE
Darien Sport Shop
Darien Sport Shop has a reputation for carrying stylish clothes, but shoppers in Darien and surrounding towns know it also has an impressive selection of sports gear. The shop shows its serious side with tons of lacrosse equipment (shoulder pads, sticks, bags, gloves and so on), but it has a lighter side, too. Try something new, like archery, Beamo, Mega Bounce Ball, sport disks, croquet, bag toss and other lawn and summertime games.
1127 Post Rd., Darien, 203-655-2575; dariensport.com
Pacific Cycling & Triathlon
Gold Coasters like to win. Period. So when it comes to training for a cycling event, they trust Pacific Cycling & Triathlon to equip them well. The shop is packed with some of the best cycling products in the world, and its staff can set you up with gear that’s right for you, whether you’re a newbie or this side of semi-pro. Its fitting service will impress you. Enjoy the chase, but even when you’re rolling along in the slow lane for fun, the right bike makes it that much better.
984 High Ridge Rd., Stamford, 203-504-8960; pacificsbr.com
Working out eases stress, builds strength, increases flexibility—and is a great excuse to wear the cool fitness clothes at lululemon athletica. Whatever sport you’re into, you’ll find tights, shorts, tanks and socks you need here—and be the envy of everyone in your class. Perfect form comes with practice; perfect outfitting comes with experienced shopping.
151 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, 203-622-5046
91 Main St., Westport, 203-227-1378