Throughout history, it was swordplay that was the true universal language. Working to expose budding swashbucklers to a long history steeped in tradition, the duo of coaches at Ocean State Fencing Club bring their unique experiences to their eager students. Owner Mikhail Kolker’s competitions throughout the former USSR, and coach Sergey Kolker’s national medalist status give them all an expert edge and perspective. Pupils aged 6 to adult can expect to obtain the quickness of a cat while participating in low-impact drills that prepare them for competition or intense Renaissance Fair auditions.
Maria Kishfy understands that, at any age, starting an exercise routine can be difficult. At Symmetrics Wellness Movement Center, she and her staff—which includes another trainer and a licensed massage therapist—work to inspire clients of all fitness levels to be proactive in achieving healthier lifestyles. They take pride in creating an no-mirror atmosphere free of distraction designed to empower individuals to celebrate physical activity from the inside out. The trainers lead boot camps, a slew of fitness classes such as Zumba and FitYoga, are certified to teach a class in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation tailored for those who suffer from arthritis and other related diseases. Her experience as a trainer proves that she’s up for the challenge; she has also created a wellness program for elementary-aged children—Camp Trophies. For an extra level of inclusiveness, they take on groups of three with similar fitness goals, ranging from burning fat to chiseling more muscles than Michelangelo when he was on deadline to finish David.
Located in Pawtucket's Hope Artiste Village, PE Fitness Studio is an award-winning private fitness center, offering personal training and small group classes. Worlds away from the anonymous big-box gym, PE Fitness Studio strives to have a nonintimidating environment that is bolstered by its certified, friendly staff. Sunlight spills onto the hardwood floors as small groups dance through Zumba classes or tone up during TRX Circuit Blast sessions. And during self-directed workouts or personal-training sessions, clients can enjoy top-of-the-line exercise equipment, such as Keiser spin bikes and TRX suspension trainers.
Though Breathing Time Yoga is housed within an old jewelry textile mill built in the 1800s, its classes hearken back to an even earlier time. Beneath the lofty 20-foot ceilings, seasoned instructors?many of whom have completed several hundred hours of teacher training?practice ancient poses and breathing exercises designed to promote strength, flexibility, and inner peace. During heated yoga classes, they turn up the infrared heating system to deepen stretches, help bodies sweat out toxins, and prevent arctic penguins from waddling in and interrupting class. Within this communal practice area illuminated by the sunlight drifting through the oversize windows, they also host non-heated classes that explore the breath-fueled sequences of Vinyasa-style yoga and the lengthy, alignment-focused poses of the Iyengar tradition.
In addition to leading yoga routines for students of all levels, the instructors supply free spring water, tea, and props. Mats are available for a $2 rental fee. After class, they encourage students to socialize in the reception room or browse the onsite library. Those interested in bolstering their mind-body connections may also schedule private meetings with a certified yoga therapist or personal coaching from yoga teachers.
When a car accident broke Jen McWalter’s back, she didn’t know it. She only discovered it years later, when she had a sudden back spasm during a dance class. Healing such an old injury was challenging, but with a Pilates-infused physical-therapy routine, Jen’s spine gradually returned to working order. Since then, Jen has not just practiced Pilates—she also earned her Gold Certification from the Pilates Method Alliance, and founded her own 3,000-square-foot Pilate studio. For the past decade, she and her team have led equipment and mat sessions there, teaching techniques from basic breath work to the one-armed planks needed to work out while tweeting a tribute to Joseph Pilates.
At Fight2Fitness, students learn how to throw a punch from Rich Gingras, a two-time Golden Gloves champion in Vermont and New England, and two-time Rocky Marciano champion, and the only amateur to win a National Championship in the history of New Hampshire. Rich, who also participated in season four of The Contender, teaches alongside his wife Alyssa, who is an exercise physiologist with a master's degree. It's not just punching, though. Clients also learn the technical side of boxing, such as footwork and where to punch a person to make them your friend, as they blast between 600 and 800 calories per class. If the classes aren't enough of a workout for you, Fight2Fitness also stages boot-camp classes and personal-training sessions.