Shawn Crawford has been climbing for more than 40 years, working with wilderness search and rescue at age 13 and later serving as a park ranger. Today, he’s the owner and head instructor at Rock City Climbing, where he puts his American Mountaineering and Guiding Association certification to use as he teaches climbers of all experience levels techniques of top-rope climbing, belaying, rappelling, and bouldering.
Inside a gym equipped with more than 10,000 feet of climbing walls, as well as top-rope and bouldering areas, students learn basic and advanced climbing techniques in a range of classes. As they climb, instructors introduce techniques such as hand and foot placement and what to do if gravity starts working in reverse. Visitors can leave the main floor to explore a tunnel maze behind the climbing walls, filled with trap doors, narrow passageways, and drops of up to 11 feet.
When not overseeing his gym, Shawn leads outdoor climbing excursions to challenging locales such as Joshua Tree, Riverside Quarry, and the Statue of Liberty. He also oversees a nearby ropes course, where staffers help groups and individuals navigate two ziplines, as well as more than 20 aerial challenges at heights of up to 60 feet.
As she struggled to surmount issues with her own weight, Boogie Box Fitness creator Dede Barbanti drew from her professional dance background, martial-arts training, and enthusiasm for exercise to pioneer the gym's rigorous yet fun workout routine. The calorie-flaming moves, which have been featured by Dr. Oz and publications such as Dance magazine, have since spawned BBX Live at Universal City Walk and the more vigorous BBX Hardcore. Behind the regimens' popularity lie easy-to-follow steps culled from kickboxing, strength training, plyometrics, and Latin and hip-hop dance. In addition to motivating patrons to shimmy into fitter physiques, Dede channels her expertise as a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist into the BBX Body membership site. Here, visitors can peruse custom menu plans, exercise tutorials, and life-coaching advice given by the world's smartest biceps.
Pure Barre program founder Carrie Rezabek Dorr continuously tweaks her dance-inspired workout regimen, relying on the traditional ballet accouterment to support body-lengthening moves. Dorr started her first class in the basement of an office building in 2001 without so much as a mirror to call her own, but in the intervening years, she managed to grow her workout into a national franchise. Her method involves a ballet barre, which practitioners grasp as they perform isometric movements of discreet muscle groups. Such movements isolate the buttocks, thighs, and core to build strength and burn calories. Though results vary on an individual basis, some students report seeing the beginning developments of long, lean ballet muscle after just 10 classes, which, incidentally, is the same number of eggs one must break to improve at the art of omelet making.
At Embody Pole Fitness, shimmying and spinning does more than make for a good performance, it also inspires self-confidence. The studio?s certified instructors lead women through an eclectic series of classes that lift spirits while toning bodies. Pole dancing tightens cores with combo spins, inversions, flips, and rippling like a flag, while barre sessions blend fast-paced ballet positions with strength-training moves that lengthen muscles and improve flexibility and posture. Exercise-centric classes such as ChickFit keep the focus on fitness with routines designed by Navy SEAL instructors to keep muscles coordinated with a bombardment of high-intensity interval training and isolation movements.
If you feel as sexy as a pair of non-sexy orthopedic shoes, transform yourself into a sexy pair of orthopedic shoes in time for Valentine's Day. For $24, today's Groupon gets you two pole-dancing classes at From Mind to Body (a $60 value), plus 10% off the purchase of one retail product on the studio's website. Both classes must be redeemed at the same location.