Part of the venerable Paul Mitchell network, the Columbia outpost of Paul Mitchell the School features 14,500 square feet of stylish real estate staffed by a squad of student coiffure-carvers and professional instructors. Under the close supervision of an experienced professor of pulchritude, Paul Mitchell student stylists perform a wide array of services, creating cute cuts ($10–$25) and up-styles ($20–$25), applying chemical relaxers to tame tendrils ($45–$50), and more. High-quality products 20% off by the one and only Paul Mitchell are to take home, providing a souvenir of your first date with your new ’do.
Stronghold Gym, a full-service climbing and training facility, helps budding rock-scalers hone their abilities on a 45-foot climbing tower and two onsite bouldering caves. Climbers can scamper up the walls like a man with incredibly long legs and rubber-cement hands with the help of friends or opt to drop by from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends when staff members are present to help with belaying. After ascending to the rocky heights, individuals can hit Stronghold's cardio and weight training equipment to continue their workouts post-climb. Yoga and fitness classes are also offered onsite in its two fitness studios.
In Brickhouse Gym’s 12,000-square-foot exercise emporium, clients can sweat solo on cardio equipment, hoist barbells in strength-training areas, or hone muscles in more than 30 group fitness sessions each week. Specialized practice domains, focusing on disciplines such as circuit training, agility, and free weights, help muscle masons zero in on particular skills, and a spinning room stocked with stationary bicycles amuses hamsters bored with predictable habitat wheels. Exercisers can also get in touch with nature by working out on a turf floor or can let playful breezes wick away their sweat in the open-air room. Alternatively, spirited instructors help students cultivate flexibility, increase endurance, or prepare for cage matches with stubborn garden weeds with a variety of fitness classes in disciplines such as yoga and mixed martial arts.
Redbird Studio and Gallery helps fill creative voids with clay- and ceramics-based classes, courses, and afterschool programs. Inside the facility, students of assorted skills, ages, and backgrounds work alongside each other, swirling together ideas and techniques while crafting personalized masterpieces. Dedicated instructors consistently dish out tips and encouragement, and for extra inspiration, visitors may stop by the attached gallery to browse its collection of professional pieces.
Students glide slowly across the gleaming wood floors of Columbia Tai Chi Center, their controlled purposeful movements sihouetted in natural light from a window. Wesley Adams, the director and head instructor, leads students through the moving meditation that is Tai Chi, helping students find balance and peace as they learn the ancient discipline. Wesley also offers Q-Ex Mindful Movement classes, a contemporary fitness program that draws on the ancient practices of Tai Chi and Qigong to help build strength and reduce stress. All his classes are small, with a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio to ensure all students can benefit from personal attention and no one student hogs all the relaxation.
Neither gym nor spa, The Balance Institute cobbles together something wholly unique, blending the best of both to alleviate pain and prevent future maladies. The buzzing, anonymous atmosphere of a gym gives way to friendly, personalized attention. Trainers and massage therapists join forces, working with clients one on one to unravel the underlying cause of pain and reverse years of unhealthy habits, such as poor eating or only ever using your right arm. Personal training begins with a health assessment and veers into moves and stretches designed to strengthen bodies and assuage pain. In private rooms, massage therapists quiet the cries of sore muscles with Swedish strokes, deep-tissue work, or myofascial release therapy.