Recognizing the interdependence of fitness and martial arts, Thump Fight Gym & Fitness Center married the two, inspiring patrons of all ability levels to hone their combat skills while making strides toward an overall healthier lifestyle. The trainers and certified exercise physiologists lead martial-arts classes including boxing, muay thai, and jujitsu, challenging fighters to face off in the regulation-size boxing ring or the half cage?which has proven inadequate for housing feral exercise bikes. During each class, students burn calories and learn practical and potentially lifesaving self-defense skills. To supplement the combat training, the instructors also lead yoga and Pilates classes, spinning, kettlebell training, and CrossFit classes. The gym also accommodates solo workout routines with a weight-training zone and functional fitness equipment such as oversize tires and climbing ropes.
At some point during Elite U’s signature X-Training classes, an exerciser probably wishes they could spread out across the facility’s turf-green floor to rest their aching body. The intense 60-minute workout consists of various functional and unconventional movements such as pushing a weight sled, climbing a rope, springing into the air holding a kettlebell, and pounding a tire with a sledgehammer to get to its candy center. The class is one of a handful of group classes offered at the center, along with MMA cardio and sport-specific training.
On the surface, Susan Hilferty appeared to be living the American dream—a promising position as a pharmaceutical rep, plus an upcoming marriage. But for a woman who grew up studying at The School of American Ballet and dancing on stages including Lincoln Center, selling pills felt empty at times, and Hilferty found her need for physical expression growing stronger. While visiting a friend in Los Angeles, she took her first pole-dancing class, and almost immediately, her life took a new direction.
Though she faced resistance from friends and family, Hilferty saw in her classes how pole dancing transformed women—giving them new confidence, encouraging them to overcome insecurities, and helping them heal from past traumas. She called off her wedding, continued taking classes, and eventually opened Pole Fitness Miami. Today, she and her team of trained ballerinas lead pole-dancing and dance-based fitness classes at two locations. Ranked on CBS Local Miami's list of Best Places For Unique Workouts, the boutique surrounds saunterers with purple walls, subdued lighting, and gauzy curtains to create a sultry atmosphere. Additionally, Hilferty and her crew help students obtain pole-dance certifications, as well as arrange pole-dance parties so groups of damsels can strengthen their bonds or celebrate becoming volunteer firefighters.