The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Campus Recreation Center opens its doors to the community, encouraging fit-seekers of all ages to get active. The all-inclusive 150,000-square-foot facility has it all: swimming pools, cardio and weight-training equipment, aerobics studios, and an indoor track. For those who like to mix calorie burning with friendly competition, the site also hosts basketball, racquetball, badminton, and volleyball courts; an indoor soccer and floor hockey field; and even a climbing wall. Kids aren't left out of the fun, either. The center hosts kids' day camps, packed with athletic activities and arts and crafts, and welcomes youths to imitate mountain goats on the rock wall or play racquetball in the supervised Kid Zone.
Co-owners Cindi and Barbara put their 57 combined years of fitness passion to use by helming a team of expert instructors and stocking their bright, sunlit studio with cutting-edge equipment. During cycling sessions, instructors help students torch calories and tone muscle groups atop state-of-the-art RealRyder stationary bikes, which behave like real bikes by leaning into turns and cowering at the sound of thunder. They also work to enhance cores with brand-new Reformer machines in guided sessions for individuals or partners.
Pilates on Highland's dedicated instructors pool their collective experience from backgrounds in dance, fitness, and gymnastics to help students firm their physiques in dynamic Core Barre classes. In the well-equipped spearmint-hued studio, natural light washes over lush, nonsentient plants as students flex and bend during 55-minute Core Barre sessions. Using their own body weight for resistance and grasping a ballet barre for balance, students tone legs and arms while strengthening cores through precise isometric exercises. The fluid poses work to lengthen limbs and improve posture more gracefully than balancing the sheet music for Swan Lake on your head. To ensure attentive instruction, each of Pilates on Highland's Core Barre classes, like the national census, caps at 10 participants.
Instructors lead private, semiprivate, and group Pilates classes in Studio G Pilates’s cozy space. A wall of mirrors enables clients to watch their technique as they tone their body with Pilates equipment and a ballet barre. Daily classes are geared toward beginners, advanced students, and both men and women.
Helena Health Club's members tone up on their own using everything from treadmills to punching bags or with the support of others in group fitness classes. These include everything from Zumba dance parties and Pilates to TRX suspension training and spinning. Those who need extra attention can schedule a personal-training session. As an added bonus, the gym offers onsite childcare, which allows parents to work out without worrying if the leg press is a good babysitter.
Studio180 Fitness may have opened only recently, but the studio’s instructors have spent years helping clients transform their bodies. These instructors draw on their experience to lead group classes in yoga, spin, and Pilates. Their core specialty, however, is the prestigious BarreAmped method, which they insist is one of the best body-sculpting workouts available anywhere. This intensive method incorporates the movements of ballet to tone muscles and teach hearts to beat in time with The Nutcracker Suite. Studio180 Fitness also offers free childcare and one-on-one nutritional and wellness counseling.