While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
After the birth of her first child in 2001, Baby Boot Camp’s founder and certified trainer and spin and Pilates instructor Kristen Horler wanted a postnatal fitness program that didn't require her to leave her baby at the door. Her solution was to start a suit of programs just for new and expecting parents where mothers could bond with their infants while soaking up the support and camaraderie of their peers. During Strollfit sessions, certified trainers and Radio Flyers equipped with outboard motors lead ladies through innovative routines that incorporate baby-filled strollers into yoga, cardio, and strength training. For long-term fitness, coaches encourage aspiring runners to break through the tape during the 5K training program, and Kristen's own Nutrition Solutions teaches the benefits of healthy-eating habits during a four-week program designed by registered dieticians.
Stoneworks Climbing Gym's climbers while away their days on the gym's vast top-rope, lead, and bouldering walls. The walls soar to the ceiling and bear holds with multicolored tape to delineate each climbing route, which start at 5.6 and vary in difficulty. The diverse set of routes and climbing difficulties have made Stoneworks an ideal gym for climbing the past 21 years and for competitions, such as the annual Boulder Joust.
Avid climbers themselves, the route setters and staff at Stoneworks are also guides, leading teams of beginner and skilled climbers into the mountains of Oregon for outdoor climbing. They also equip members with the skills needed to scale their routes in both group and private lessons that focus on technique, sport climbing, and vertical Twister. Kids are welcome to join the junior climbing team or summer camps.
As they enter the training circle 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. One minute 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.
Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
A star offensive lineman for Stanford University, 315-pound Brian Cassidy—his team up by five touchdowns against Washington State—set up for a routine extra point. Suddenly, a player leaped across the line of scrimmage and landed on Brian’s knee, tearing both his ACL and MCL in one life-changing second. His hopes for an NFL career nearly dashed, Brian moved on to his rehabilitation, but instead he suffered one more debilitation: a herniated disc. Nearly paralyzed, Brian had a breakthrough: as a muscular-training specialist pointed out, his body wasn’t aligned properly, making his recovery nearly impossible. Brian started training with a new focus, emerging months later faster and stronger than ever before—and dedicated to a new multilevel training philosophy that he continues to develop at ADAPT Training.
There, trainers help clients recover from their injuries or simply enhance their personal fitness level by ensuring that four key structural joints—the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles—work in balance with one another and maintain their proper alignment, thereby strengthening the durability and gas mileage of the entire body. Clients participate in everything from classes focused on physical therapy to strength-training regimens to boot camps, all personalized to meet the individual needs of each student.