As a former NFL linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, 1st Class Training owner Antonio Armstrong knows what it takes to lead a healthy, fit, lifestyle on and off the field. At both of 1st Class Training's studios, he and his team of fitness and nutrition experts lead small-group and private workout sessions for people of all ages, abilities, and most security-clearance levels, all while coaching them to make certain their lifestyle changes are sustainable long term. Armstrong's metabolic workout system is designed to maximize fat burn, combining quick spurts of intense strength training with bursts of cardiovascular exercise, and the team customizes each workout to avoid mundane repetition and cater to each client's maximum level of intensity.
Dahn Yoga integrates Korean Taoist philosophies and holistic Korean Oriental medicine into a form of yoga that strives to forge stronger connections between mind and body. The certified instructors at Dahn Yoga adhere to these ancient practices and help students of all ages and fitness levels develop core strength, which, according to Dahn philosophy, is the basis of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Through classes, private lessons, and workshops, students learn to link postures with breath control, ultimately developing greater bodily awareness. Besides improving flexibility, strength, and posture, instructors also emphasize the brain's role in overall well-being. They lead brain exercises that challenge and sharpen the mind to develop more productive habits and levitate pennies out of mall fountains.
Dahn Yoga's founder, Ilchi Lee, also built a comprehensive brain-development program—called Brain Education—from the principles upon which Dahn Yoga is founded. Combining physical, emotional, and cognitive exercises with guided imagery and games, Dahn Yoga's instructors develop emotional control, improve communication between the brain's hemispheres, and inspire guests take decisive action. This program has five progressive steps that can be applied to a dedicated yoga practice as well as everyday life.
At Ego Fitness Studios, certified instructors strive toward the goal of helping clients cultivate a healthy ego. To that end, they welcome men, women, and children inside for personal-training sessions, sports-training sessions, and a slew of group-fit-training classes that are typically capped at 10 students. Their expertise is put to work in the studio's signature class: Boost. During these sessions, they run exercisers through a circuit of abs exercises, cardio exercises, and lower- or upper-body strength training with weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and TRX bands.
Beyond the accoutrements incorporated during Boost, Ego Fitness also maintains rows of 100-pound punching bags that dangle from the ceiling. They get a thorough plumping during Kickboxing classes. Meanwhile, a forest of shiny poles awaits robot campers and guests for women-only Sexy and Pole Dance Fit classes and in-studio pole dancing parties. Alternatively, the facility houses karate classes taught by sixth-degree black-belt-master instructor Ron Williams, and offers chiropractic services from on-staff licensed chiropractors.
Jennifer Buergermeister is very flexible. She not only moves from job to job—she's an entrepreneur, independent filmmaker, spiritual healer, and app designer—but also from pose to pose while teaching yoga. She has created two yoga DVDs and has a third coming out in November. She's also the owner of Jennyoga, where she works with a deep bench of fellow yoga teachers, offering a variety of classes for all levels. These include Sunrise and Awakening, Hatha Flow, and Deep Relaxation and Restorative yoga classes.
The team at Jennyoga strives to make coming to the studio easy. They built a Jennyoga app for mobile devices that allows students to schedule classes on the fly. And they run an in-house store, where visitors can pick up any yoga gear they might need before heading into one of the studios. They even made a short film to inspire attendance, a sort of narrative commercial about the beneficial effects of yoga in our noisy, modern world where neighbors rev motorcycle engines and fire alarms scream in delight whenever you get home.
Dance fitness is already fun, but for her own classes, Amy Ell at Vault Houston sets her sights a bit higher. Literally. Aerial dance classes can help students get in shape and try something they might not have even considered before, all while having a blast. In aerial fabric, beginners can get a feel for the swaths of cloth aerial dancers use to suspend themselves, and build their upper body and core strength as they practice climbs, locks, and tricks. In Air-Tone, Amy combines Pilates, yoga, and aerial hammock exercises for a conditioning workout like no other, while in trapeze classes students learn to fly with the greatest of ease. And in aerial hoop, students learn to navigate a suspended metal hoop while building upper-body strength and preparing for next season's gigantic-earring trend. In every class, teachers spot and offer modifications to students while stressing strength-training and flexibility to ensure each maneuver is as safe as possible.
When champion long jumper Wayne Davis pulled a hamstring during the 2000 Olympic trials, he turned to Pilates to augment his recovery—and was instantly wooed by its therapeutic and athletic benefits. Today, together with fellow certified trainer Lauren Smith, Davis blends weight training, yoga, and traditional Pilates into classes at his studio, Hardcore Pilates. Each Pilates class of eleven students includes exercises on an Allegro Reformer, whose roller- and spring-propelled platform helps strengthen torsos and straighten students’ posture. Rounding out its staff of all-star athletes, the studio also employs a former pro football player, who leads spin classes set to lively music and incisive play-by-play analysis. After class, one-on-one stretch therapy helps refresh muscles and connective tissues, relax joints, and expand range of motion.