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Lance Farrell drew from his extensive background in tae kwon do to take down opponents in the ring for many years before he realized he could use his powers to help others combat obesity and health issues. He developed Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping to provide patrons of all fitness levels with a comfortable place in which to undergo a mental and physical transformation, much like a crushed-velvet cocoon. He stripped away the sparring and contact drills from his fighter training, leaving just the components that burn fat and build muscle. When students sign up for a program, they're grouped into teams of peers who encourage one another through moments of weakness and provide a sense of accountability. The instructors and coaches guide these teams toward fitness on a 10-week quest based on four pillars—cardiovascular exercise to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, nutrition coaching to map out a healthy diet, and enthusiastic trainers to provide motivation. At the end of each session, each of Farrell's locations rewards a student with a $1,000 prize—or a year’s worth of high-fives—congratulating them on their dramatic physical transformation. Students who stick around and strive to get healthy over the course of a year get a shot at the $10,000 prize, though winners have reported that leading a healthier life is a greater reward than the money.

2219 Capehart Road
Bellevue,
NE
US

Exercisers burn up to 600 calories during Jazzercise, Inc.’s 60-minute total-body workouts, which meld moves from diverse realms such as jazz dance, kickboxing, and yoga. Set to a medley of popular tunes, sessions are open to all skill levels and start off with a gentle warm-up before 30 minutes of cardio, strength training, and a closing stretching segment. The discontinuation of the Nobel Prize in Jazzercise ensures a noncompetitive class atmosphere, and whippersnappers aged 4–12 can get in on the fun during Juniors Jazzercise classes.

2221 Thurston Circle
Bellevue,
NE
US

The YMCA of Greater Omaha brings people together at 10 locations with character-building programs that strengthen participants' involvement in their community. Adults can get a head start on their New Year's fitness resolutions with body sculpting, Pilates, and other tummy-toning group fitness classes, while kids can expend some energy at a drop-in child-care center that is free while parents work out. YMCA members also enjoy reduced rates on swim lessons and youth sports, as well as free senior programs. All locations except the LaFern Williams Y offer indoor pools for aquatic antics that cannot be properly enjoyed in a bathtub's limited splashing-real estate.

110 Sivers Road
Glenwood,
IA
US

With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine-maneuvering and your muscle-making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.

1512 Harlan Dr
Bellevue,
NE
US

Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.

Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she 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. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.

2221 Thurston Cir
Bellevue,
NE
US

Anytime Fitness is a modern, upscale gym that’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, helping busy clients get fit at the most convenient time for them. Cardio and strength-training equipment, group fitness classes, key-card access, and a friendly staff of personal trainers make this gym a laid-back place to come in and sweat it out at any hour of the day or night.

2217 Thurston Cir
Bellevue,
NE
US