As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The certified trainers at Phase 5 Personal Training believe the human body is more efficient than any gym machine. Using each client’s body weight for resistance, instructors in small-group boot camps lead clients through cardio workouts, agility training, and plyometrics exercises held at this laid-back studio.
Even before he founded PowerFit Bootcamp, JR Spear always felt a calling to transform people into fitness machines. A fourth-degree black belt and studied martial artist, Spear spent years training future Marine Corps officers and Iraqi soldiers in self-defense and combat skills. Later, Spear taught his own MMA fitness and cardio-kickboxing classes, along with personal and group training sessions. At PowerFit Bootcamp, he and his staff of fitness instructors encourage each student to persevere by leading motivational and high-energy classes. At 14 indoor and outdoor locations, students undergo full-body workouts designed to jettison fat and tone muscle. Trainers welcome students of all stripes, giving them a period of time to complete each move, rather than a number of repetitions, encouraging each student to do as much as he or she can without feeling uncomfortable, overexerting, or resorting to time travel. Along the way, coaches track progress and motivate students by noting benchmarks during physical fitness tests on the first Monday and Tuesday of each month.
Sunset Hills Community Center is home to 25,000 square feet of fitness and wellness facilities. Inside its 4,000-square-foot workout room, 20 cardio machines team up with strength-training machines, free weights, and kettlebells to whittle waistlines and carve chiseled physiques. Its expansive gymnasium metamorphoses into basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, and the sunlit multipurpose room resounds with the encouraging shouts of certified instructors as they lead an ever-changing mix of fitness classes, including Zumba, boot camp, and senior fitness.
In addition to group fitness classes, trainers lead individual or group training sessions and nutrition consultations to help patrons achieve their fitness goals. For youth fit seekers, the center hosts a summer hip-hop camp taught by the famed professional dancer and St. Louis–native Nick Gates, who teaches kids to serve even the smoothest of animated cat MCs. The center also sponsors a regular weight-loss challenge, in which competitors gain the tools to shed pounds while vying for cash prizes.