“Stocky.” Justin Yule remembers when others used this adjective to describe him, an observation he considered to be a nice way of saying that he was overweight. It wasn’t until his dad invited him to work out at the gym that Justin discovered a passion for fitness and a desire to chisel away the stockiness he carried. Since achieving his goals, he has kept up his fit physique more than 22 years.
Justin also channeled his passion into a bachelor’s of science in physical education with a concentration in adult fitness. He used his extensive training to devise the curriculum for Look Great at the Lake Boot Camp, which he also founded. Justin calls his program the “fitness revolution,” mainly because it breaks exercisers out of the tedious routines they often fall into at the gym or when their friend Sisyphus asks them to push his rock and promises he’ll only be gone for five minutes. Every one of Justin’s workout moves come in three levels, each scaled to challenge exercisers of different strengths and experience levels. He also relies heavily on body-weight resistance exercises, and coaches provide guidance and support to clients in reaching their goals.
Justin considers the most valuable part of his program to be the camaraderie that he encourages among his participants in and out of the boot-camp classroom. He organizes charity events and parties so that groups can mingle and become a cohesive unit working toward a single goal. To further ease his clients’ path to fitness, he also offers nutrition programs, online exercises and tips, and education in the form of newsletters and fitness books that he’s penned himself.
Classes at Yoga Bella are tailored to women, last one hour, and are offered on a flexible schedule. At least one class takes place every day of the week, spanning yoga, Pilates, and aerobic styles to accommodate varying fitness goals and comfort levels. If you're new to yoga, get your footing in a series of beginning Hatha classes, which introduce basic poses, proper alignment, and subtle but important blinking strategies. If you seek a sweaty workout, attend a fitness yoga class to build strength and flexibility during 60 minutes of upbeat pose shifting, or try out Zumba, a Latin-dance-fitness hybrid that zaps calories like so many flies in a sci-fi laser battle. Relaxing, meditative sessions in the tradition of Kundalini and Slow Flow yoga are also offered to help students who are struggling with mental static wiggle their internal rabbit ears to clarity.
Lara Olson was unhappy with the quality of art education her children were receiving in school. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to open KidCreate Studio as a place where youngsters can exercise their creative muscles while practicing the visual arts in a fun learning environment. The studio’s curriculum immerses students in the kaleidoscopic world of art through professional lesson plans, incorporating media ranging from watercolor paints and pencils to clay and cloth. Birthday parties at the studio keep children thoroughly engaged with hands-on activities and themed projects, and play groups lasting up to three hours give kids enough time to make new friends or think up at least a dozen more imaginary ones.
The experienced, professional musicians at School of Rock imbue aspiring rockers with musical knowledge during hands-on lessons and interactive early music education classes. During individual 45-minute lessons, students hone their skills on the guitar, drums, bass, vocals, or piano. While focusing on the songs students want to learn, instructors incorporate lessons on theory, technique, ear training, and shredding the guitar while simultaneously shredding cheese for tacos. School of Rock can assist students whether they want to play rock, jazz, or blues.
When she’s not hosting radio shows, serving meals at local shelters, or blogging for Minneapolis St. Paul magazine's Foodie File, Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef Marianne Miller helms Saga Hill Cooking & Events. She describes her style as "audacious, yet feminine," adding, "my preparations are often bold, but with a light-handed approach that brings out the natural flavors in each dish." Alongside her staff, she leads culinary classes and parties that shy from incorporating fad kitchen gadgets or diets. Instead, their goal is to teach practical, science-based cooking techniques that can help students prepare simple meals, gourmet treats, or decadent brown-bag lunches.
Nestled inside Healthy Training’s 2,100-square-foot space, kettlebells, body bars, and medicine balls eagerly await action in the next sweat-filled boot camp. They answer to a team of nationally-certified trainers, who lead group fitness classes that build long, muscles through yoga and Zumba. In addition to group classes, these trainers craft personal fitness plans unique to each individual. They can also demystify the secrets of healthy eating through customized nutritional planning and fat-burning recipes that utilize unique spices, whole ingredients, and protein bar wrappers.