All athletes welcome at Miami Lakes gyms

Sports By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Friday, January 19, 2024

     Abram Zuniga was getting fussy during his mother’s work out, but her classmates weren’t bothered by the toddler’s whimpers on a recent weekday morning. 

     Caution CrossFit and Fitness Coach Connie Amador held and soothed Abram while continuing to lead five women at her Mommy and Me class. 

     Across town at Movement Lab, athletes from the NFL and NBA train alongside regular folks who may be inspired by the young Adonis figures who sweat nearby.

     The two gyms exemplify the breadth of fitness facilities that Miami Lakes has to offer: spaces that cater to everyone, for every kind of body that seeks them out. 

     At Movement Lab, “What makes us different is that those pro athletes are training with the general population in Miami Lakes,” Co-Owner Stefan Valdes said. “They’re training with an abuelita (grandmother) and a kid who is 12 years old in the same facility.”

     Caution CrossFit’s class for women who have recently given birth is held three times per week. It was designed to help them exercise and as one woman said, get out of the house and be with other women who are going through the same phase in their lives. 

     The large gym at 14660 NW 60th Ave. offers classes for anyone interested in getting fit or taking on the challenge that is crossfit. 

     General Manager Chad Sorentino said all the trainers are certified in crossfit and have a minimum four-year college degree. 

    “Because of that we are able to tailor and scale the workouts to the individual person,” Sorentino said. 

      Members can work with a personal trainer, lift weights like Olympians and exercise their cardiovascular systems. The gym is open to all who want to start a fitness journey or improve on existing skills. 

     “I would say that’s what separates us is the community,” Sorentino said. 

     Caution CrossFit members have a running club and hang out together inside and outside of the warehouse. Some even found their lifelong partners there, he said. 

     Dori Mirabal, a personal trainer at the gym, met her husband at Caution CrossFit. She began taking crossfit classes as a senior in high school and became an instructor. 

     “What I like most about it, it’s an hour and you burn 500, 600 calories,” Mirabal said. 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     Movement Lab, at 16200 NW 59th Ave., is tucked away in an office plaza not far from the Costco Wholesale warehouse. 

     “On a year-to-year basis, it is general population people like office workers and moms, but then we have the mix of professional athletes,” Co-Owner Miguel Molina said about the clientele.

     As may be expected, some sports professionals choose semiprivate sessions for their work outs or physical therapy. 

      Movement Lab offers a variety of training options. Owners Molina and Valdes grew up in Miami Lakes, which they feel also gives them a better understanding of the local clients. 

      The gym serves all levels of fitness and has a strong attention to detail, with programs tailored to meet an individual’s goals. 

     That targeted method is what has kept Adriana Garra coming back during the past four years. 

     “When I started here it was a little different, but it was affordable and you get personalized training,” Garra said. 

     She prefers the one-on-one attention over a large class or a larger gym. Molina said the Lab isn’t full of clients because they focus on the quality versus having a large volume of clients. 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     Miami Lakes Athletic Club at 15150 Bull Run Road has been open for 41 years. It is loved by the community that -- for the fourth year in a row -- chose it as Best Fitness/Wellness/Gym in the 2023 Best of Miami Lakes contest.

     It offers something for everyone no matter their fitness level or age. George Esfakis, 71, has belonged for over 30 years and goes every day. 

     “One main thing that stands out … is that they give you towels and none of the others give you towels,” Esfakis said. “And another main thing there is the usual regular people.” 

     With Medicare, he could attend Silver Sneakers classes at other gyms, but the community and towel service keep him returning to that class at the athletic club. 

     Members get to know the staff and other clients. 

     “It’s basically a family athletic club and that’s what’s different about what we have to offer,” Anthony Artiles, general manager said. 

     The Athletic Club offers 70 classes per week including yoga, Zumba, Pilates, kick boxing and spinning. There’s personal training; tennis; basketball and kick ball games, and leagues for tennis and pickle ball. Kids can take gymnastics, tennis and soccer classes. 

     “It’s one location where, as a mom or a parent, you can come work out [while] your kids are in the programs,” Artiles said. “It’s a concept you don’t see in the area as much.” 

     If the kids aren’t participating in any programs, there is childcare available. Parents can work out while the kids play in a secure room on the first floor. 

     With the variety of sports offered, “It allows you, through the years, to diversify your training methods,” Artiles said. 

     It also has events to help build and serve the community such as a Zumba-thon to raise money for breast cancer causes. 

    “If you’re thinking about a bigger concept [for fitness], we have everything for the whole family,” Artiles said. 

    The gym has a multigenerational approach where parents have a trainer, the kids have a tennis coach and the family comes together to use the gym.  

     As kids get older, they can, and have, become camp counselors there or supervisors and managers. 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     As the music booms out of the storefront that houses Sweat 440, men and women work at different stations and follow videos that direct their next moves. 

     Whether using a machine or executing squats with weights, athletes progress through the routines to achieve full body conditioning. 

     “It’s the most effective and convenient workout in 40 minutes,” said David Robertson, operator of the gym at 6766 Main St. “When you show up, you know your workout is going to be 40 minutes.”

    Sweat 440 offers high intensity interval training [HIIT]. Classes vary daily and begin every 10 minutes, which is great for people on the go. 

     Sometimes members focus on legs by pushing carts, sometimes it’s upper body work, pulling and throwing heavy ropes and lifting weights. 

     Kassandra Companioni joined Sweat 440 in Doral before moving to the Miami Lakes studio. 

     “I love the gym, I love the way the training is set up [and] I love that I can go in and out,” Companioni said. 

     It welcomes members at 5:30 a.m., is closed mid-day and reopens in the late afternoon.  

     “We serve the entire community, starting at 15 years of age all the way up to their late 60s,” Robertson said. He said families work out together. Companioni sweats with her sister at the gym. The drop-in model suits their schedules. 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     At My Gym at 6763 Main St., baby backpacks line the window sill, a hint that preschoolers are inside. The little ones get a head start on movement and fitness and learn how to make friends, too. 

     It welcomes children ages 2 to 11. Kids can play Ninja Warrior Jr. and run a small course in the middle of the storefront. They can also take dance classes and perform at events such as the Main Street Festival of Lights. 

     “[It] is a special curriculum that is created to help kiddos in their age development, not just in the physical development but also their social skills,” Owner Amanda Saltiel-Montilla, said.

     Younger children who tumble under the watchful eyes of their parents graduate to individualized play time as they get older. 

     They also learn to listen to directions. One day they lined up to get on a train that was pulled around the room by a counselor. 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     Under a bright orange marquee with a neon splat that represents fat burning is Orange Theory Fitness, at 15490 NW 77th Court. The gym in Royal Oaks Plaza challenges athletes to compete with themselves. 

     It offers hour-long, HIIT workouts. Clients ages 16 and up move from a rowing machine to a treadmill to a bike or elliptical machine while wearing a heart monitor. 

     “We’re open to anyone [and] any fitness levels, from beginners to intermediate to advance levels,” said Head Coach Bryanna Morales.

     “It is a mix of some sort of cardio … we also have free weights,” Morales said.   

     There are workouts for those who want to focus on balance and stability. 

     Morales said the gym works to foster a community, which in January includes a wall filled with Polaroid photos of each athlete with their individual resolutions written on them. 

     “We’re not only about fitness…we’re very inclusive and we adapt to the time,” Morales said. “It’s very interactive for them.” 

     To learn more about schedules and pricing go to

     In addition to gym options, Miami Lakes has two martial arts studios. 

     Rilion Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of Miami Lakes, at 7337 Miami Lakes Drive, teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

     Owner Carlos Ramirez has run the studio in the Cypress Village Shopping Center for almost 10 years. 

     “It’s ages four and up, and there is no limit to the age at the top end,” Ramirez said. 

     He has students in their 60s who are still training. A competition team has won various titles in the state.  

     “You’re going to have a very structured training program,” Ramirez said. To learn more about schedules and pricing go to 

     Quest Martial Arts at 6806 Main St., offers taekwondo.  To learn more about Quest Martial Arts, where programs span their Little Lions class to Krav Maga self-defense, go to