At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.
"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.
Under the tutelage of certified instructors, Paul Mitchell The School's scissor-wielding students cut, color, and primp keratin capes to professional-level heights. Although tender-footed trimmers don't carry their licenses quite yet, they skillfully trim and sculpt tresses into stylish creations worthy of their mother's mantel or specimen cooler (an $8 value). Newly sheared strands also receive a basic color treatment for a prismatic spectrum shift (a $25 value). Those who wish to focus on more phalangeal regions can opt for a soothing mani-pedi, a revitalizing spa treatment that pampers paws sullied from hours spent in the office, kitchen, or local tar pit (a $34 value).
Musicology School of Music offers lessons in dozens of instruments, from guitar to mandolin and singing to trombone. Instructors hold classes in 12 private teaching studios, each built with sound-proofing materials to enhance privacy and concentration. Of course, part of a full musical education is learning to play with others, so the music experts also hold larger gatherings in their group classroom and recital hall.
They focus on multiple aspects of the musical process, providing amps, full drum kits with pads, and other accompaniment instruments. They also teach students the art of recording music, incorporating various types of music-mixing and playing software throughout their program.
Bender's Gym operates around its clients' busy schedules by providing members with their own sets of keys, which gives them secure, 24/7 access. Once inside, members are in exercise heaven. Certified instructors lead a variety of group fitness classes, including Les Mills programs, in rooms with full-length mirrors. Flat-screen televisions surround strength-training and cardio equipment to keep exercisers entertained. Members can also opt for individual attention with one-on-one workouts. Led by a personal trainer, these sessions help clients meet specific goals, such as getting ultratoned to prevent embarrassment during an upcoming wedding's cake-throwing ceremony.
SportsMed Fitness Center, named one of Tennessee Valley's best gyms by CityVoters, operates 24 hours a day on the ground floor of SportsMed Huntsville Clinic. Members can tone muscles and burn calories with cardio and strength training equipment and group fitness classes such as kickboxing or hatha yoga, or opt for sessions with a personal trainer. New Core Barre classes are fat-burning exercises based on ballet techniques and are designed to increase strength and flexibility and give a lean, ballet-body look. A class schedule is available, and as an added convenience, the gym offers complimentary childcare during select weekday hours.