Like the full range of muscles it challenges, Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa affords a full range of experiences to a broad spectrum of visitors, from corporate coworkers to athletic kids. A 25-yard indoor lap pool hosts swimmers, who can dry off with towels in a full-amenity locker room. Group fitness classes challenge visitors to sweat through cycling, Pilates, and aqua Zumba. The latter gets swimming bodies boogying to the tune of energetic international and Latin rhythms. There are also more than 47 pieces of cardio equipment that allow visitors to work out independently, and some of the cardio machines have flat-screen TVs and satellite radio, which actually orbits you as you listen to it.
In order to offer their visitors ample guidance, Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa staffs several personal trainers, who assist clients striving for a variety of goals, including weight loss and injury recovery. The facility’s free childcare allows parents to work out without the hassle of finding a sitter, and its spa allows those same parents to shed every last scintilla of stress during a relaxing massage.
Chris and Pam Schmick had spent six months cleaning out the scrap metal from their abandoned silos and just finished drilling thousands of holes in its walls. With little time to spare, they prepared for their climbing gym's grand opening on September 2, 1995—a date on which they had already agreed to hold a regional JCCA competition. The effort they've expended in the nearly 20 intervening years shows: today, climbers scramble on top ropes, lead ropes, and more than 20,000 square feet of lava-free climbing surface.
Instructors prepare visitors to surmount the gym's features in a range of classes, such as Rock Gym 101, which is an introduction to top-rope climbing that covers climbing safety, basic technique, and equipment. Once climbers are equipped with gear from the pro-shop, staff shows them around a multi-level bouldering cave, a main climbing area with 30-foot walls shaped by arêtes, cracks, and waves, and the building's five original silos. Elsewhere inside the gym, six auto-belays safely cradle visitors who wish to climb without taking a class.
Having practiced since 1997, training under leaders in the field, and serving as the sole yoga instructor for the Kashi company in 2008, owner Brigette Niedringhaus opened Southtown Yoga with the goal of bringing a unique approach to the city yoga-studio concept. In doing so, Brigette built up a schedule replete with a variety of classes held in a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels. The Riverfront Times recognized her efforts by naming Southtown Yoga its Best Yoga Studio in 2008. The staff that helped earned that award features 11 highly trained instructors who guide students through a series of poses during 45- to 90-minute group classes. Slow-paced Basics courses pave the way for Mixed Level sessions that expand on the fundamental concepts, and rooftop classes enable students to mix up the workout scenery, like lifting weights in a phone booth. Classes are available seven days a week, with some sessions beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
A championship tennis player until age 19, Michelle Maue began practicing yoga in 1997 to complement her athletic lifestyle. She grew to love the mind-body connection inherent in yoga, and opened Clayton Yoga, which has now been in business for 10 years. A roster of Yoga Alliance–registered teachers have led more than 5,000 classes, guiding students of all backgrounds and skill levels through the calming movements of Vinyasa yoga, which helps detoxify bodies and strengthen the core. Along with Vinyasa-yoga classes, which meet six days a week in sessions of up to six students, Clayton Yoga hosts Thai-yoga-massage sessions, yoga retreats, and dance classes. Clayton Yoga was one of the first yoga studios in Missouri to offer a certified teacher training program, and Michelle herself has trained more than 300 yoga instructors. The studio also runs numerous wellness- and yoga-based corporate programs, where employers and employees collectively practice breathwork and restorative yoga.
The instructors at YogaSource strive to make yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of age or ability. To meet that goal, they offer eleven types of classes split between two studios, which are kept at different temperatures to accommodate those who prefer to stay calm and cool during practice, as well as those who like to sweat as they stretch. Yoga basics and intro to Hatha classes lead newcomers from pose to pose to build a foundation for future practice, and may incorporate props such as straps, blocks, and donuts that dangle just out of reach. Advanced options include power Vinyasa, where students flow through rigorous poses in 90-degree temperatures believed to help increase flexibility and promote detoxification, as well as the open-level class—known as The Practice—in which instructors and students attempt handstands and other challenging feats.
The sounds of flailing feet and fists correctly striking padded opponents pervade Absolute Martial Arts’ 3,600-square-foot facility, where students learn how to lose weight, tone up, and defend themselves simultaneously. Atop a large mat that the staff disinfects daily, professional instructors lead structured muay-thai kickboxing classes that slowly introduce exercisers to the fundamentals of the 1,000-year-old sport, which is similar to kickboxing and dissimilar to napping. Many of the trainers, including Thai-native Master Toddy, boast years of extensive training and practice, pushing students beyond their perceived limits but always keeping their safety in mind. It also offers Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed-martial-arts classes to allow students a chance to explore new forms or augment their muay-thai practice.