Ma'Keba K. Spicer is doing what she loves. By leading pole-dancing classes, the owner of Vertical Venus Pole Fitness has combined her penchant for nonconformist self-expression with a liberating and alluring fitness form. In her recently opened, lounge-like studio, Spicer teaches spins, shimmies, and twirls around the pole to the beats of radio hits. Her sessions include both choreographed and freestyle moves, inspiring creativity and confidence in her students while simultaneously encouraging them to express themselves or their fireman persona as they slide down the pole.
"We give kids the confidence to protect themselves." These eight words sum up the motto for MartialArtsProgramsforkids.com as well as the mission of their curriculum. At a wealth of locations along the East Coast, youngsters learn confidence, discipline, and respect as they boost skills in a variety of disciplines, including jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. The skills learned in these lessons can also help them defend themselves in the face of bullies and family cats that won't share the remote control.
For Claire Diab, director of The American Yoga Academy & Studio, yoga isn’t just a matter of stretching, balancing, and breathing. It’s a way of being that promotes peace and transforms lives. In addition to teaching backbends and sun salutations, Claire and her team of instructors show students how to extend their practice beyond the mat. In her more than 25 years as an instructor, she has led yoga and meditation classes with Deepak Chopra and the popular Zen and Yoga course at Seton Hall University, where she’s a professor of Asian Studies. Hatha poses and Eastern philosophies guide the studio's teaching during classes such as yoga basics and power flow, which help yogis build enough strength, balance, and focus to rescue a bobcat from a sky-high redwood tree. Known as Modern Day Yoga, this system also informs her teacher trainings, in which students of all levels can become Yoga Alliance–certified yoga teachers or convincing Sting impersonators. Between classes at her studio in the Wilshire Grand Hotel, pupils can pose with Claire via several instructional DVDs and mp3s.
Equipment: Free weights, Smith machines, tires, battle ropes, Jacobs ladder, etc.
Students should bring: Bottle of water, towel, ENERGY.
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Nobody will judge you. Clean and a friendly staff.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
The NASM-certified personal trainers at Gifted Bodies strive to improve lives, not just bodies. Driven by the belief that all clients have the potential to become gifted, trainers redefine clients' limitations and push them toward progressive goals with a mixture of firm motivation and compassion. During boot-camp classes and group sessions, which include kickboxing, Zumba, ab work, and yoga, they guide patrons of all backgrounds through invigorating routines.
They also visit homes for one-on-one appointments—as long as they have a 5'x5' space or a permit to punch through drywall, trainers can commence a custom exercise routine. To instill sustainable habits for healthier living, they place emphasis on nutrition as well as gym drills. Troy Samuels, Gifted Bodies' creator and nutritional counselor, likens one's diet to the fuel put into a car: the proper fuel allows the vehicle to hit maximum speed.