Best Gym 2006 | Sweat! | Shopping & Services | South Florida
Gyms are being subjected to an unfortunate trend in South Florida: They're getting biggie-sized. National chains have moved in and begun the McDonaldization of workout facilities, bringing us legions of soccer moms pumping away on elliptical machines and stair climbers. While bigger may be better, that doesn't apply to your gut. Gus Hernandez of Sweat! in downtown Fort Lauderdale has come to save us from our super-sized habits with his intimate gym that offers one-on-one training and his 14 years of experience in personal training. The philosophy of Sweat! matches that of the old-school boxing gyms in Philly. Hernandez, not some corporate stooge, picked out every machine in the building and can craft a personal workout strategy for you -- just like Mickey did for Rocky.
While places like Whole Foods grow more like the supermarkets they once scorned, smaller, more traditional health-food outlets struggle. But it's not surprising that a small indie like Organically Fresh has a dedicated following of customers. Stuffed inside are a half-dozen tables covered in plastic where you can nosh on organic vegetarian or meat dishes like chicken and eggplant parm. Behind the miniature deli counter, workers prepare smoothies and juices chock-full of tasty wheat grass. On the far wall is a small selection of vitamins and dietary pills to cleanse your organs and boost your immune system. And there's just that extra boost to your chakras knowing that you're sticking it to corporate gigantism.
If you're having trouble finding George's Music in the Palm Beach Mall's directory, there's no need to get your guitar cord in a bunch. Simply go out the Borders exit, walk to the edge of the sidewalk, and look to your right. Yep, that's the only entrance. And if it looks familiar, well, it should -- it's the store formerly known as Mars Music, which George's took over after Mars tanked a few years ago. Call it a coincidence, but the sales reps are a lot less pushy than they used to be. You can actually walk from one section to another without some sales shark breathing down your neck. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the extensive selection of music gear, from guitars (Fender Telecaster, $649; Squier Telecaster, $229), amplifiers (VOX Valvetronix AD100VT, $549), drums (Tama kits range from $650 to $1,688), and digital mixers (roughly $229 to $799), as well as plenty of microphones, cables, recording software, and every accessory you'll need for the stage or studio. All right, so maybe there aren't any pyrotechnics. But that's for your own good.

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