A basket greets visitors at the entrance to Soula Grove, inviting them to kick off their shoes before they pad through the door. Inside, up to eight students or two fitness-focused octopodes gather inside a cozy studio space that hosts yoga, Pilates, and meditation sessions for all skill levels. During each type of class, seasoned instructors guide pupils toward greater levels of inner calm and mind-body balance. Traditional Hatha Yoga classes revolve around ancient poses and breathing exercises that strengthen the muscles while centering the mind, and private hatha instruction can focus on alignment of specific poses or larger fitness goals such as toning the limbs and boosting flexibility. Filled with core-sculpting isometrics, Pilates mat classes help make physiques as long and stretchy as a slinky made of string cheese. Many classes conclude with relaxation treatments, which range from soothing eye masks to cool cloths scented with lavender or peppermint.
In its mission to elevate students to another level of physical and mental balance, ReCharge Pilates and Barre doesn't reject its industrial environment. Instead, it embraces it. Featuring exposed brick walls and pipes, bare mahogany floors, and sparse decor, the studio surrounds students with a minimal space lit mostly by giant windows and the fire of a mystical, eternal torch. Here, four classes blend the techniques of Pilates and barre fitness, and occasionally incorporate other exercise styles. Much like these classes, ReCharge's owner, Sloan Rachmuth, draws from several disciplines. The Stott Pilates–certified instructor's passion for wellness has led her to study psychology at Harvard, develop a clinical weight-loss program, and open more than one fitness studio.
The all-female clientele at Women's Only Workout sweats in solidarity during more than 15 types of fitness classes or individual workouts in the fully equipped gym. Members get 24-hour access to exercise machines, free weights, and gym facilities, as well as personal training, boot camp, or group fitness classes.
Nationally certified instructors push physiques through Pilates maneuvers atop floor mats, building core strength more effectively than a reinforced-concrete jerkin. Pedals whiz as legs strive to crest hills during spin sessions, and Zumba's Latin-infused dance steps shimmy off calories with a sassy cardio workout. In the candlelit yoga class, students arch into limb-lengthening tableaus to ramp up flexibility and cast more complicated shadow animals onto softly glowing walls. Other classes include step, total-body conditioning, and Nia—an adaptable variant of nonimpact aerobics that melds martial arts, dance, and yoga.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
It takes a village to build a healthy lifestyle at the Chapel Hill–Carrboro YMCA. Fitness and friendship intertwine as positive staffers infuse the community with values such as generosity and perseverance. Teamwork fuels group sports such as soccer and baseball and more than 40 weekly exercise classes, which range from yoga to cycling to Zumba. Solo exercisers can flutter toward physical fitness in a 25-yard pool or chase it down on a host of cardio machines. In addition to building strong bodies, the facility fortifies spirits with fun-filled programs such as youth summer camps and parent retreats. Memberships come with several complimentary perks, including childcare, fitness orientations, and short-term access to other YMCA branches, and a free iPhone app shares updates about class schedules and flying-saucer landings.
Husband-and-wife team Eric and Valine Zeigler strive to transform fitness into a party with their high-energy Zumba classes. The pair makes attendees sweat with easy-to-follow dance moves set to invigorating Latin tunes. With a consistent series of Zumba workouts, patrons can shed pounds or win at job interviews with their stepping skills.