As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
For more than three decades, locally owned Spectrum Athletic Clubs have aimed to create a resort-like experience for patrons with upscale perks and personalized care. After workouts, gym-goers can avail themselves of unlimited towel service and change in comfortable locker rooms. Other amenities include saunas, steam rooms, healthy cafes, specialized workout areas, and complimentary Internet access.
In addition, racquetball courts let athletes improve their game independently, and patrons can sweat solo on cardiovascular equipment with individual viewing screens. Group classes, more than 1,200 of which are held daily, include Zumba, Pilates, Body Combat, and CXWorx sessions and enable trainees to draw motivation from each other or from each exercise studio's complimentary tank of moxie. The Spectrum Kids Club gives kids a place to play while adults work out and hosts such events as pool parties and pizza parties throughout the year.
Live Food Wise helps clients maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight by teaching them to cook healthy food. In up to two-hour small-group workshops, an instructor reveals the basics for making up to five meals and baked goods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates. Though the topics change, recipes have included panna cotta, cheesecakes swirled with fruit flavors, and sugar-free chocolate mousse.
Rick Martinez began his career as a registered nurse, working in emergency rooms across the country to help patients overcome intense physical traumas. However, it was during an 18-month tour of service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Rick encountered the mother of a wounded soldier who changed his aspirations in life. Her indomitable spirit and the bravery with which she supported her son through his pain and recovery inspired Rick. Fully intent on helping people develop the unflinching resolve needed to better their own lives and well-being, he founded Fitness Porvida—Fitness for Life.
The center’s health gurus lead CrossFit and fitness sessions for students of virtually any fitness level, using functional exercises to create challenging, full-body workouts that build the strength and endurance necessary for students to bench-press their bathtubs. Yet physical exercise isn’t the only tool that the trainers employ—they also use nutritional guidance and camaraderie to empower their clients. Rick summarized this approach to the San Antonio Business Journal in 2010, saying, “when we treat the body as a whole the results are fantastic.”
Bikram Yoga San Antonio's instructors like to remind their students that for every expert yogi, there was a first class. They hold on to this humble philosophy at three studios, where high temperatures help both old hands and newcomers stay limber. The staff cautions their students against aiming for perfection during the 90-minute courses; instead maintaining that, by simply trying each of the 26 postures and two breathing exercises, bodies and minds achieve the maximum benefit.
To highlight the value of consistent practice, they encourage visitors to take the 60-day challenge, which charges students to attend one class every day for 60 days. Those who accomplish this task are immortalized by writing their name on the Challenge Wall, which doubles as the police force's superhero directory. The studios also honor individuals in their class community with the yogi of the month feature, a series of interviews with students about their Bikram yoga practice.
In cosmetology school, MieleDolce founder Luis Iturralde let his fellow students wax him for a class demonstration. His allergic reaction to the chemical wax made it a demonstration of more than proper waxing technique; his brief modeling gig also showed the importance of beauty treatments that avoid irritating skin. Iturralde carried this lesson to his spa, MieleDolce, where the staff sidestep chemical waxes in favor of threading or electrolysis.
The center’s specialty, however, consists of extending hair: its semipermanent silk and mink lash extensions come in a variety of lengths and curvatures, and technicians ensure a natural look by attaching them hair by hair. Additional services range from slimming body wraps infused with aloe vera and herbs to micro skin needling, an anti-aging treatment that can combat wrinkles, scarring, and signs of playing rugby in a crawlspace.