At New Body Bootcamp & Wellness, personal trainer Aja Davis hopes to inspire two types of change in her clients. The first is visible: a fitter, slimmer physique resulting from her signature interval workouts. The second is philosophical: a lifelong awareness of how to preserve and pursue health. This model of "lifestyle implementation" encompasses nutrition as well as exercise while avoiding temporary fixes, such as fad diets and foam muscle suits. Instead, Aja's program uses challenging and varied routines, the motivational power of teamwork, and individual attention from a fitness expert.
At one-hour boot-camp classes, Aja leads groups through cardio and resistance maneuvers that employ stretchable bands, kettlebells, and TRX suspension cords. The routine has won the title of Best Post-Holiday Rescue in GO magazine, which also lists New Body Bootcamp & Wellness as one of its three favorite fitness venues. Aja aims to spark camaraderie as much as she does weight loss and toning—using partner drills to prompt campers to rely on one another—and even outside of class, patrons can run local races as part of the New Body team or tag-team wrestle the local mall Santa.
The Gowanus Print Lab is a community screen printing studio established in October of 2010 in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn. Their goal is to create a nurturing artist community by providing exhibition space for emerging artists, affordable access to tools and a workspace, and education through design and screenprinting labs.
In the screenprinting labs, the teachers demonstrate how to make single- and multi-color prints before helping students customize T-shirts, totes, and even shoes with personal designs. Sometime they have group exhibitions and additional art classes. In the nearby Mac computer lab, they help students master complex software ranging from Photoshop to the sound-editing program Pro Tools.
Sometimes, the staff tailors their programs to youths with interactive summer workshops, or caters to a more adult crowd with monotype sessions featuring live models and beer. A week-long DIY wedding workshop even helps betrothed couples create all the paper goods for their big day. For the truly dedicated artist, they offer memberships with unlimited facilities access and private studio and individual equipment rentals.
Having spent much of her life as a stay-at-home mom, Wendy Chanelis turned to yoga as a way to tone her muscles and awaken her mind. She quickly fell in the love with exercise form and, after studying with many different masters of many different styles such as Iyengar and Jivamukti, eventually decided it was time to open her own studio. She founded Yoga People in 1998 as a welcoming haven for like-minded yogis and curious beginners alike.
Wendy—along with a staff of 15 certified teachers—now conducts twelve different kinds of yoga classes multiple times throughout each week. Some sessions cater to the beginner, others to pregnant mothers, and still more to meditative practitioners. Beyond yoga, holistic health and wellness counselor Donnalynn Civello provides nutritional consultations, while massage therapists employ modalities such as shiatsu, craniosacral, and prenatal massage, which helps babies appreciate backrubs before they're even born.
Though chef Nadege Fleurimond was once forced to stretch her culinary creativity as a contestant on Food Network's Chopped, she experiments in the kitchen every day. Her menus blend a unique array of American, French, Italian, Latin, and Caribbean recipes into dishes for all on- and off-camera occasions. Her culinary teams follow her instructions to build international entrees and desserts, passed appetizers, and cocktails during festive buffets and lavish sit-down dinners.
When Chef Nadege and her staff aren’t traveling to events all over the East Coast, they host local group cooking lessons. These informal classes have taught guests to decorate cakes, simmer Thai curries, and cook traditional Caribbean dishes. They also host regular events, such as themed dinner parties and knitting circles using handmade pasta.
Before opening his own studio, owner and passionate yogi J. Brown spent more than a decade working as an independent yoga instructor. He credits this experience with creating Abhyasa Yoga Center's personal and inclusive atmosphere that welcomes students of all experience and skill levels. Each of the studio's 15 certified yoga instructors have been trained by Brown, resulting in a cohesive schedule of classes practiced in a therapeutic, breath-centered style. Though yoga's physical postures can help students increase strength, flexibility, and patience when training wild spirit animals, Brown and his fellow yogis encourage patrons to perform each pose at their own level of difficulty and link their movements with Ujjayi breathing techniques to sync the body and mind.
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.