No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Whether it?s rooms, clothes, or pet hamsters, sisters share everything. For Faaridah and Nahari, that transaction extends to their love and appreciation for belly dancing and the Middle Eastern culture. Eventually, their passion led to the shared ownership of Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, where they?along with four other instructors?lead sultry, body-sculpting belly-dancing and Zumba classes.
Basic classes lay a foundation of arm and hip movements, and specialty sessions fuse belly dance with a number of other dance styles, including hip hop, blues, and Bollywood, for a dance m?lange that tones muscles more effectively than waltzing with a Bowflex. Classes may cover traditional Egyptian, Turkish, Tribal, and Gypsy styles, while others create innovative choreography set to steam-punk-tribal fusion, Arab electronica, and tango fusion. Some even incorporate such props as fan veils, canes, and brass candleholders, all available for purchase so that guests can practice at home, or play makeshift games of Clue.
Certified personal trainer Kimberly Y. Fleming believes that exercising with others is the key to staying motivated and on-track with a fitness routine. Offering one-on-one personal training, small group training, and boot camp classes, she helps her clients burn fat and build muscle in a challenging team-like atmosphere. Her structured, competitive workouts cause muscle confusion to help bust through fitness plateaus, combining cardio with strength training. While Kim emphasizes results, she’s also a big believer that her classes should be both intense and fun, and her client testimonials attest to the way she achieves both goals in every workout session.
Ten career women step into their hot shorts, high heels, and alter egos when teaching at Vertical Joe's. They go by monikers such as The Headliner and Sexy Locs, teaching pole dancing, twerking, Pilates, and cardio kick classes all while encouraging students to jettison their inhibitions. To create a comfortable atmosphere, the studio hosts groups of bachelorette partiers or girls-night-outers for private sessions that teach the techniques behind pole dancing, lap dancing, and sexy tax prep. Vertical Joe's brand of flirty fun has even made guest appearances on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Braxton Family Values.
Though Sharika Giddens grew up dancing, her family was afflicted with obesity and diabetes. So when she put on weight after college, she quickly joined a gym, and discovered a workout that catered to her love for dance: Zumba. At Hot Body Fitness Boutique, Sharika banishes boredom from her Zumba, pole-dancing, and yoga classes with energetic exercise routines.
The trainers at Body Design University have developed a scientifically based program to help people battle excess weight and lead fuller, healthier lives. They incorporate both resistance and cardio training into each routine, offering encouragement and tips on how to perform each exercise safely. In addition to maintaining a strong focus on fitness and nutrition, they help clients consider which multivitamins, supplements, or radioactive serums from outer space might be most helpful as they get into prime physical shape. Body Design University also offers hands-on personal-training-certification courses that prepare students for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) certification exam.