Ali True has been an All-American lacrosse goalie, trained Dolph Lundgren, earned a degree in kinesiology, and received Baltimore magazine’s 2009 Best Personal Trainer award. No amount of accolades, however, can replace her passion for educating and training others to lead healthy, fitness-friendly lives. To this end, she left behind her days of celebrity-sculpting to open True Balance Studio, a facility that welcomes students of all levels of health and fame.
Neat rows of black kettlebells sit in front of mirrored walls until one-hour classes fill the gym with grunts of effort and the whistles of kettlebells about to boil over. Standard strength machines sit beside flexibility-boosting climbing frames or gymnastics-style rings suspended from the ceiling. Oscillating between the classrooms and the gym floor, Ali and her trainers coach their clients on cardio equipment, offer nutritional advice, or coax one last rep from straining muscles.
Designed by founder and renaissance woman Lynne Brick and her accomplished husband, Victor, Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick's health clubs share a fitness cornucopia of group classes, personal-training sessions, and women’s health tips. They stock their workout facilities with premium cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as offer amenities that may include pools, childcare services, and volcano-free saunas. Each of the seven locations sports its own personality, including the Owings Mills and Belvedere facilities, which operate as all-female communities.
The Brick's also employ a team of certified instructors, who lead more than 30 types of group fitness classes, allowing students of all skill levels access to sessions that range from low-impact workouts, such as BodyVive, to more intense courses, such as the kickboxing-inspired BodyCombat classes.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.