It's hard to get out rock climbing regularly. Basketball courts don't fit in the average home. The facilities at The Rush Fitness let everyone get in an exciting workout, though, with climbing walls, pools, athletic courts, and more. At 23 locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Dalton, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point and Greenville, skilled trainers preside over those amenities. They also lead more than 500 group exercise classes, which might touch on everything from yoga to Zumba. Those classes, as well as the requisite array of free weights and cardio equipment, have helped the chain win a range of "best gym" awards.
The back wall at ArtsyU⎯marked by multiple hues sectioned into Mondrianesque blocks of color⎯is an expression of the vibrant ambiance that characterizes the studio. It pops with color, creating a welcoming environment for painters to experiment with their own designs. Visitors come to this artistically designed studio to unleash creativity, often bringing along a bottle of wine to aid in the process. Seated side-by-side on stools, they dip brushes into provided acrylic paints. With an instructor's guidance, they render images that range from a peacock fanning its tail to a flower holding perfectly still.
At The Artist Studio, a staff of three instructors knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the drawing table. Though they have 45 years of teaching experience between them, Christian Bradford, Claire Bradford, and Skip Lyons have also all spent years studying art and honing their own styles, such as photorealism, classic portraiture, and mixed media. The resident artists turn to their own individual expertise and personable approaches when teaching students, helping guide them toward their own artistic goals.
Brush Paint and Sip's instructors host relaxed painting sessions at homes, offices, and venues such as DeBarge Vineyards & Winery. With step-by-step instructions, they guide students—even absolute beginners—through the brushstrokes required to replicate famous paintings or create portraits of pets. Students can bring their own libations to classes held at Ovella's Mexican Café, buy wine by the bottle at Terra Nostra Tapas & Wine, or just paint a bottle of wine and whisper "wake up" to it until it comes to life.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr's only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and eight years later, Pure Barre spread its franchises to what is now more than 160 locations across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, physiques can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The total-body workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers to regain their desired shape without leading the daycare's piggyback carpool. High-energy, intimate classes with small amounts of attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to derive the deepest possible burn from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills. Pure Barre also offers private barre-ties, DVDs, equipment, designer exercise apparel, and more.
Sports Barn welcomes students of all skill levels and interests with an array of classes that includes gentle, intensive, and restorative yoga styles. The studio’s robust schedule of sessions helmed by dedicated instructors, focus largely on flow sessions that synchronize gracefully cascading transitions with measured breaths to create an invigorating practice. Power yoga engages limbs with vigorous dynamism as it bolsters strength, stamina, and high-fiving ability. Yin yoga draws thoughts inward with a centering sequence of poses that helps loosen uptight connective tissues with deeply held stretches as students learn to focus on improving their range of motion. Although the studios cushion postures with the necessary yoga mats and props, instructors advise students to purchase their own, as chakras can become territorial over particularly good equipment.