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.
Though the instructors and music selections rotate at My Hot Yoga, guests can bank on a steady temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This warmth is less cloying than it is liberating, loosening muscles so that students can ease into more pronounced poses during class. It also encourages a cleansing sweat, clears the mind, and boosts heart rates, providing a more focused substitute for traditional cardio workouts such as running or blinking very fast. Sessions range from the Vinyasa flow sequences of Hot 60 to the long holds of Deep Stretch, and they?re suited for all ages and fitness levels. This flexibility is what fuels the staff's overarching mission: to turn a hobby into a personalized lifestyle choice. Instructors further promote a comfortable, custom atmosphere by modifying poses and even allowing guests to submit song requests.
With more than 1,800 gyms in 10 countries around the globe and 24/7 access, Anytime Fitness makes it as easy as possible for its members to get in shape. Multiple strength-training and cardio machines can build stamina, increase agility, and tone limbs to rival the crisp bicep lines of statues in a nearby park. The center’s virtual classes teach fitness disciplines such as yoga, cycling, and kickboxing. Group training brings those disciplines into 3-D. As far as amenities, private showers and HDTV are just two of the many additional touches that make Anytime Fitness a welcoming workout arena.
There are few places that see the exercise potential of swinging a sledgehammer or dragging a palate full of weight across the parking lot. But the instructors at Extreme Fitness, which includes King Owens and Jon Hickman, don't wear blinders when it comes to what helps the body. Alongside such out-of-the-box techniques, these pros use ropes, medicine balls, boxing pads, barbells, and cardiovascular machines to help every committed person find his or her ideal body.
Big Time Results's meat and potatoes is regular exercise and healthy eating, both of which are served up by ACSM-certified trainer Noah Alldredge and his staff. For the former, the team schedules everything from personal training to group-fitness classes. For the latter, Alldredge, who is also a registered dietician, coordinates medical nutrition-therapy sessions and creates eating plans that adhere to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Inside its serene studio, Essential Yoga guides groups toward health and wellness with more than 10 different yoga classes, including multiple threads of Vinyasa and an intro to Ashtanga. The facility's roster of passionate instructors acts as a source of constant encouragement, and a flexible schedule of daily classes bends to accomodate students of all experience levels. To kick workout routines up a notch, Essential Yoga also offers energized sessions of Zumba.