As twilight approaches, Mary Beth Nishime can hardly sit still. Her inner party animal is purring, and its insatiable hunger can only be quelled with a hearty helping of beats, moves, and action. Fortunately, Zumba provides all three, plus the joyful atmosphere common to Latin salsa and merengue. So Mary Beth and her crew move the party to local churches, schools, and senior centers, where students of all fitness levels melt calories and stress with each chest pop and hip swivel. A team of teachers leads many of the church-based classes, filling the room with more energy than a newborn quasar. And to help students vary workouts, Mary Beth also hosts boot camps, yoga classes, and kickboxing sessions at her dojo, Nishime Family Karate.
At Covington Yoga, body benders flex and relax toward greater fitness atop hardwood floors in an airy studio filled with natural light. Patrons can turn unsavory skeletons into delicious pretzels with one of many expert-led classes such as yin yoga, which works the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine with poses held for up to five minutes. Those stretching for two can attend the prenatal class, which helps soon-to-be mothers unwind and strengthen their rapidly changing bodies.
Fitworks is home to a dedicated cadre of certified muscle architects who guide eager physiques through intense, small group workouts. Peruse the schedule before sampling a tension-undoing yoga class or a weekend-morning muscle-pump session, ideal for prepping for an underwater bench-press that will determine the office's next round of promotions. One-hour Zumba classes harness the rhythmic power of merengue, conga, belly dancing, and more to kill calories while resuscitating sleepy toes. After classes, students can freshen up or flex unused singing muscles in Fitworks' shower facilities.
PoleKittens Fitness offers fitness-focused females fun alternatives to conventional workout classes and methods. The 90-minute aerial silks workshop starts by warming up the muscles used for anti-gravity maneuvering, then embarks on a tutorial of basic climbs and aerial skills aboard a dangling expanse of fabric. Students hone their abilities close to the ground to avoid accidental collisions with bald eagles, and the class winds down with conditioning exercises used by professional aerialists to promote strength and flexibility. Each student receives a free souvenir photo ideal for showing off their silk-scaling skills to friends and prospective employers.
Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
While running a Stroller Strides exercise program for new moms, personal trainer Candice Peters found her calling. As she said during an interview with Cincy Chic, she wanted to recapture "the energy of women…[in] a non-intimidating and non-judgmental environment." To that end, she opened Hyde Park Body Boutique, where she ushers ladies of all ages and body types toward their fitness goals. She emphasizes no-frills functional fitness with TRX suspension gear and a distinct lack of fancy machines—the studio only stocks treadmills and elliptical machines that drop their "g"s and prefer bagels to crumpets.
Because of this stripped-down aesthetic, the studio leaves room for the sun to dapple the hardwood floors as Candice pilots weight-loss regimens, postnatal workouts, and sports-centric routines alike. During group classes, which include boot camp, TRX, and kettlebells, she continues to embody the accepting attitude that led to her studio's creation, encouraging students to set their own pace.