Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women’s-only gym’s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym’s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym’s complimentary daycare, whose staffers stay in touch with each other via two-way talk radios, rather than by sending them regular flocks of carrier pigeons.
While other children were playing outside Charlene Randolph's bedroom window, she was buried in her coloring books, scribbling intently with her crayons. This passion for two-dimensional art led her to take a slew of illustration classes in high school, but it wasn't until college that she discovered the clay medium and the world of functional, three-dimensional art. Tossing her canvases and drawing pencils to the side, Charlene became the primary instructor at The ClayGround Studio & Gallery, a BYOB workshop that provides novice potters with all the tools, materials, and fire-breathing abilities needed to craft stoneware art. Charlene's own masterpieces are available for purchase through the studio's website or at various boutiques and galleries across the country.
Children are best equipped to develop analytical skills for current and future learning between the formative ages of 3.5 and 14. That's why Best Brains sets students off on the right foot by offering focused courses in subjects such as math, English, abacus, and general knowledge. Certified teachers help students develop skills in writing, grammar, critical thinking word problems, and basic computational math, using an abacus counting tool to help develop spatial memory.
With a drove of dedicated instructors, Synergy imparts peace upon its practitioners through myriad mat classes. Both introductory yoga and Pilates courses––such as yoga for every body, gentle Prana flow, and Mat I pilates––cater to balance-seeking beginners, with a focus on building core strength and overcoming pipe-cleaner envy. In upper-level lessons (including Mat II Pilates and Vinyasa yoga), aspiring Stretch Armstrongs can fine-tune their flexibility with more challenging poses. Specialized classes such as Pilates for Golf help limberize link lovers by bestowing more powerful swings and bogey-erasing Jedi mind tricks. Classes take place in Synergy's 4,000-square-foot sanctuary, where natural wood floors complement expansive sage walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows let stretchers draw real-life inspiration for poses like the tree and the shy centaur. Synergy also fosters a supportive atmosphere for students of all abilities, complete with a relaxing lounge where classmates are encouraged to meet after their scheduled class, to socialize and read each other’s fortunes over cups of tea or coffee.
The staff at Top Shape Fitness, led by principal trainer George Tyler, believes that expert guidance is key to workouts. To that end, the fitness center focuses entirely on personal-training sessions and group fitness classes. The company's freakishly strong roots lie in its signature cardio kickboxing class, known as GT Box. In these sessions, trainers blend kickboxing movements with dumbbell training, plyometrics, and other toning exercises. Elsewhere on the weekly schedule, Latin music plays during Zumba sessions, minds and bodies meld in yoga classes, and TRX suspension classes employ equipment developed by US Navy SEALs.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.