Sabrena Wicker had a light-bulb moment as she received her first massage: her career calling was to become a massage therapist. Wicker enrolled in massage school, earned a degree, and opened Tinker Massage and Day Spa Studio. Within the spa's softly lit treatment rooms, massage therapists practice several modalities and perform spa treatments for singles or doubles. To enhance bodywork sessions, the therapists incorporate elements of nature—heated stones infuse heat into muscles, essential oils perfume the air, and a charm of hummingbirds creates a relaxing breeze.
It’s apparent to anyone who watches ballet that female dancers must be extremely light. After all, they often have to be swept across the stage and effortlessly lifted into the air, and their steps must be as silent as a sneeze at the opera. Yet, as slender as ballet dancers are, they still possess bodies that look as if they were chiseled out of marble. That dancer look—a slim body with long, lean muscles—is what barre3 helps its clients achieve with a combination of ballet-barre work, yoga, and Pilates.
At locations across the country, barre3’s instructors use a three-step process that first focuses on deeply exercising muscles using isometric holds. The workout then elevates heart rate with low-impact movements before cooling down the body with a recovery stretch that also helps elongate body lines.
The workout has proved to be so effective that it has received multiple press mentions, including in the Huffington Post and In Style magazine, and it has even drawn in body-conscious celebrities such as Madonna. Mothers in particular flock to barre3’s classes, as many locations offer on-site childcare.
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Achieve Fitness’s team of certified trainers builds healthy bodies from the ground up using cardio and strength exercises, ViSalus and LifeVantage nutritional supplements, and a hearty dose of encouragement. In addition to helping clients set specific long- and short-term goals, the trainers track their progress during custom fitness programs composed of personal training, small-group training, boot camps, or a combination of all three. Exercises are tailored to a variety of fitness levels during each routine, allowing new and seasoned exercisers to cultivate optimal levels of endurance, flexibility, and brawn. Personal-training sessions contain the highest level of customization and a rotating lineup of physical challenges that keep clients engaged and motivated. Workouts may take place in homes, at local gyms, or, in the case of boot camps, at nearby parks and churches.
In addition to designing exercise regimens for individuals, Achieve Fitness's trainers build fitness programs for companies, religious groups, and apartment complexes. Between face-to-face workouts, these programs' participants can access a host of online health resources, including more than 750 fitness videos, a recipe database, and a calculator that computes the number of calories burned while jumping rope or unattended roller-coaster turnstiles.
At Teaze Dance & Fitness, instructors draw from history to inform many of their classes—that's why you might see students channeling Bettie Page's famed burlesque twirls, or rehearsing disco moves on roller skates. During photo shoots, subjects drape themselves in feather boas and unfurl fans on antiquated furniture, emulating vintage pinups without enduring an old-timey cameraman's requests to smile and say "transcontinental railroad." Even the studio's performing troupe, the Oklahoma Showgirls, traverses time with their cancan, cabaret, and mod go-go routines. Just as they span the century with their titillating teachings, they welcome visitors of all ages and builds to participate, allaying anxiety with the fact that most of their students are beginners.
However, the staff embraces modern rhythms as well. They welcome guests to access their sultry side on 14 studio poles, where seven levels of pole-dance classes reveal techniques from basic spins to competition choreography. Their private parties entertain groups with empowering lessons on pole-, chair-, and lap-dances, and fitness options cover Pilates and barre workouts.
One could say that 1996 was one of the worst years of Sara Alavi’s life. Within the span of months, she lost sight in her left eye, was diagnosed with MS, and developed a heart condition. Any one of those conditions could have debilitated her spirit, but Sara always lived by the mantra of “gratitude toward the gift of life and being grateful for our loved ones' lives.” That devotion to celebrating life led her toward the mind-calming and body-strengthening practice of yoga. After continued dedication to the ancient art, her eyesight returned and her health began to skyrocket.
Now a certified yoga instructor herself, Sara uses her earth-toned studio to host the bodies and minds of her students. Her yoga classes aim to improve bodily health by increasing blood flow and releasing muscle tension while stimulating the mind for sharper concentration and funnier Mad Libs. In the studio’s flower-curtain-lined healing room, Sara performs the raindrop massage: a combination of essential oils and reflexive therapy. She balances disrupted energy flows with reiki healing and assists at-home meditation with a guided relaxation CD.
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled Sgt H20's Combat Swim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. Each aquatic session tests fitness practitioners of all ability levels with moves designed to maximize lung capacity, boost swimming speed, and tone the entire body. Water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of exercise, and the pool’s gentle gravity proves easy on the joints. Exercisers tackle tasks such as pool sprints, towel swims, treading water with weights, bending submarines over one’s knee, and group exercise drills, as well as aquatic conditioning kicks. In Dallas, Sgt H20's personal training programs entitle trainees to attend complimentary boot-camp classes if they complete three hours of personal training per week. An online depository of nutritional advice helps students keep their weight-loss or healthy-living efforts on track.