Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre. The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities Allyson and Rob Carrier have always dreamed of owning their own business— so when Allyson started taking Cardio Barre classes, Rob took note as he saw her body change and heard her talk about how great she felt because of the class. When they moved to Costa Mesa in 2010, they decided to bring Cardio Barre to Orange County with their own studio.
Blaine Eastcott's love of the outdoors is rooted in fond childhood memories of family camping trips. On one such trip, Blaine's teenage self impulsively climbed a 100-foot rock only to soon find himself struck by panic high up on the rock face. He was paralyzed by fear, until a surge of adrenaline gave him the courage needed to scramble the final 10 feet up. This ordeal spurred him to take rock-climbing classes—and eventually led to his current position as the president of Rockreation. His three adrenaline-inducing arenas challenge climbers of all skill levels with more than 28,500 total square feet of climbing terrain, composed of jagged cliffs, bouldering nooks, and craggy archways. The faux-mountain range mimics the conditions of real rocks with indentions, overhangs, and eagle's nests.
The gyms devote one-third of their space to a bouldering area, which blends into a top-rope course fraught with varying angles, and a large lead area with an overhanging arch. Across these angles, passionate instructors with extensive outdoors experience—and a background in conversational mountain goat—guide students through the Fight Gravity program. The three-class series focuses on belaying basics, and progresses through technique instruction and bouldering. They also lead seasonal kids' camps where tiny humans can explore the routes, or plunge on a big swing and zipline. The gyms also have a separate area with machines, traditional weights, and cardio equipment for members who want to not only climb rocks, but also lift heavy ones above their heads.
The trainers behind Meraki Barre don't just want to help their clients get in shape. They want to make the world an all-around healthier place by leading dynamic fitness classes in a 900-square-foot studio space built with eco-conscious, exercise-encouraging decor from the ground up. Padded and sustainable bamboo floors cushion exercisers during workouts, and energy-efficient LED lights keep the studios bright. Along the walls, 80 feet of ballet barres provide stability, and a 14-foot, multimount TRX installation allows for group classes using the suspension-training equipment.
Seven days a week, the staffers lead total-body training sessions that enhance classic fitness methods such as yoga and barre training with the incorporation of free weights and other strength-developing circuits. Their specialty Pound classes draw on musical inspirations that transform the motions of playing the drums into a series of core, leg, and upper-body conditioning moves. Students wield weighted drumsticks called Ripstix to echo the rhythms of the Poundtrack, a playlist of everything from rock to dubstep broadcast over the professional-grade audio system. As the music plays, the color-controllable LED lights cast club-like hues around the studio to help students get lost in the music or pretend to be a rainbow.
Studio founder Patrice Simon established the Bikram Yoga College of India "to nourish the soul as well as the body," a mission reflected in the studio's noncompetitive environment, highly trained instructors, and deliberately designed practice space. Each of the studio's certified instructors studied Bikram at the feet of the style's eponymous guru Bikram Choudhury, where they learned to master the athletic Bikram style, and to shepherd students of all skill levels through Bikram's 90-minute, unchanging 26-pose regimen. During each of the seated, lying, and standing poses, instructors assist students by supplying modifications to accommodate inexperience, injury, and pregnancy. Every posture methodically pushes oxygen-rich blood throughout the entire body, encouraging healthy organ function and building muscle tone. A pair of mindful breathing exercises helps students maintain focus amid the practice space's sultry temperatures of up to 105 degrees, a sweat-inducing environment that allows attendees to safely push each stretch further while perspiring away any toxins that fail the body's citizenship test.
When Sheila Kelley broke into the fitness scene, fitness pole-dancing classes were unheard of. However, in just a few years, the S Factor—her unique fusion of yoga, ballet, Pilates, and striptease—became renowned for its physical benefits and confidence-boosting ability. Due to this focus on both mind and body, the S Factor garnered widespread acclaim, with endorsements from Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Martha Stewart. The workout's mission is clear: engendering female empowerment, confidence, and respect through sultry pole dancing. The S Factor's healthful impact on its students' bodies can be attributed to its combination of diverse workout methods, all of which build lean muscle mass. The course's six levels build on one another, relying on stretches, pole work, and traditional dance to get students twirling around the pole safely regardless of their athletic experience.
As she struggled to surmount issues with her own weight, Boogie Box Fitness creator Dede Barbanti drew from her professional dance background, martial-arts training, and enthusiasm for exercise to pioneer the gym's rigorous yet fun workout routine. The calorie-flaming moves, which have been featured by Dr. Oz and publications such as Dance magazine, have since spawned BBX Kids and the more vigorous BBX Hardcore. Behind the regimens' popularity lie easy-to-follow steps culled from kickboxing, strength training, plyometrics, and Latin and hip-hop dance. In addition to motivating patrons to shimmy into fitter physiques, Dede channels her expertise as a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist into the BBX Body membership site. Here, visitors can peruse custom menu plans, exercise tutorials, and life-coaching advice given by the world's smartest biceps.