As they enter the training circuit 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. Thirty seconds 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.
When asked about their teaching qualifications, the instructors at Finney's HIT Squad?including Jesse Finney himself?all point to their win records. All of them have a competitive fighting history in their chosen disciplines, and several have earned championships or black belts. As full-time employees of the gyms, they school guests on MMA, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They also access their inside knowledge of the industry for fighter-development programs, which strive to transform beginners into professional combatants without stuffing them into hollowed-out punching-bag cocoons for 5 years. For amateurs and experts alike, they assert that "you fight how you train," and aim to simulate official rounds inside their onsite cages, boxing rings, and matted arenas. In 2011, their professional chops helped Finney's HIT Squad take the title of Best MMA Gym in the Riverfront Times Best of St Louis feature.
Despite their investment in competitions, however, the staffers view the two gyms as all-inclusive spaces. Whether they are instilling confidence in children through kids' jujitsu, orienting a new member to the fitness equipment, or leading a women-only martial-arts class, they mentor students of all backgrounds.
Finney?s Hit Squad's clients have diverse goals?learn to throw a punch, train for a fight, shed pounds, or generally have fun?but the perks are the same for all. Exercise enthusiasts find a full-service gym with all the strength and cardio tools needed to achieve total fitness, and a packed schedule includes classes that range from Zumba to Brazilian jujitsu. 3,000 square feet of Hammer Strength weightlifting equipment inspires members to build bulk, while a competition cage, boxing ring, and grappling area offer an easy place to test the skills learned in coed boxing classes or from watching Rocky 90 times.
During her extensive dance training, K.I.S.S. Fitness Studio owner Kem Smith grooved alongside Zumba and pole fitness pioneers, mastering the steps that she now showcases for her own students. Offering simultaneous classes in three different studios, her staff covers everything from entrancing pole spins and belly dancing to gospel yoga, and strength training in the studio's rhythmic curriculum. Recently added amenities include spa services, such as eyebrow threading and lash extensions, as well as a caf? area. The studio also hosts private parties that impart empowering moves and help attendees break in high heels without resorting to foxy kickboxing.
The Boxing Gym's unfussy facility is abuzz with energy as patrons from all walks of life sweat their way to sculpted physiques in group fitness classes and personal-training sessions. A staff of amateur and professional boxers provides equal parts encouragement and tricks of the bag-tackling trade to help clients reach their weight-loss and fitness goals. For well-rounded fitness regimens, patrons may partake in the gym's group exercise classes, such as yoga, core-bolstering Pilates mat sessions, or Zumba dance fitness. Instructor and MMA fighter Dan Shafferkoetter helps his students hone varied martial-arts fighting skills while conditioning their bodies through jujitsu sparring, MMA training, and sandbag debating.
The certified and experienced instructors at No Excuses have one goal: to help their clients achieve more than they thought possible. To get them there, the trainers offer high-energy, focused workouts along with meal planning, grocery lists, weigh-ins, and a team-like atmosphere. Held in a no-frills indoor/outdoor gym, the Zumba, boot-camp, and Kangoo classes help participants burn fat and build muscle.