At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.
"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.
Bolstered by a master’s in exercise physiology and a passion for body-sculpting competitions, Sarah Longshore opened Empire Fitness, a 24-hour gym stocked with modern equipment and amenities including a childcare center. She can often be found on the gym’s floor working out on Cybex leg-curl machines, offering words of encouragement to fellow exercisers, or curing dumbbells’ fear of heights in the weight room. Accompanied by a crew of experienced instructors, she offers group classes that motivate participants to burn fat by stepping on and around a step machine and singing along to an energetic soundtrack pulsing from overhead speakers. Also on the slate of classes are calorie incinerators such as barbell-heaving BodyPump and dance-based Zumba.
Founded 16 years ago by Jay and Beth Handline, Dance Trance's twinkle-toe team constructs an upbeat fitness regimen incorporating various dance styles appropriate for all ages and ability levels. Unlike other fun and funky workouts, such as the Hoedown of Antietam, Dance Trance workouts don't require reenacting historic dance battles to burn calories but keep things exciting with popular songs and dynamic lighting effects. Classes aimed at 10- to 15-year-olds encourage young adults to try the calorie-burning footwork, and special-needs students work through routines designed by the instructors to meet dancers' abilities.
Under the tutelage of certified instructors, Paul Mitchell The School's scissor-wielding students cut, color, and primp keratin capes to professional-level heights. Although tender-footed trimmers don't carry their licenses quite yet, they skillfully trim and sculpt tresses into stylish creations worthy of their mother's mantel or specimen cooler (an $8 value). Newly sheared strands also receive a basic color treatment for a prismatic spectrum shift (a $25 value). Those who wish to focus on more phalangeal regions can opt for a soothing mani-pedi, a revitalizing spa treatment that pampers paws sullied from hours spent in the office, kitchen, or local tar pit (a $34 value).
Inspired by the artistic prowess of her mother, Debbie Russler made her first brushstroke two decades ago and has gone on to create vivid pieces of art in a variety of mediums. Intent on unlocking the same joy in others, Debbie now guides students through the finer points of paintsmanship in three-hour classes. Armed with a canvas and all required supplies, students follow her expert instruction to capture landscapes, still-lifes, or portraits of portraits of Abraham Lincoln.