For Fast Fitness Boot Camp’s Chad Skinner, exercise should feel more like play than work, even during intense physical challenges. Filled with obstacle courses, tug-of-war bouts, and games of catch, his 30-minute boot camps summon the fun of grade-school playgrounds even as they push exercisers toward goals and away from lost weekends with the Cookie Monster. Each session pairs cardio activities such as running and hiking with strength-training drills to melt calories and sculpt muscles. In between solo challenges such as pushups, squats, and jumping jacks, participants build friendships during partner activities that foster teamwork and boost energy levels. Personal-training sessions put exercisers up close and personal with Skinner, who coaches them through custom workouts while dispensing exercise tips, nutrition advice, and an abundance of motivation.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Our Health Club & Spa corrals a state-of-the-art fitness center and full-service day spa under one roof, helping clients radiate health from the inside out. Weight rooms, a swimming pool, saunas, and a juice bar comprise the physical-focused side of the center, where certified personal trainers monitor form and fitness trainers lead more than 30 classes per week. Pampering is the priority on the spa side, which offers everything from customized therapeutic massages and European facials to gentlemen's pedicures, which skip the polish in favor of a barely perceptible coat of Armor All.
Though the club's focus is mainly on adult activities, kids can flex their growing flippers in one-on-one swimming lessons or socialize with other tykes in a childcare center, where colorful toys spill out from rows of cubbyholes. Seniors will find themselves equally at home at Our Health Club & Spa with arthritis-focuses classes that provide an opportunity to stretch out aches and whirlpools that provide a perfect setting for stage readings of The Caine Mutiny.
Backed by the 28 years of dancing experience of owner and director Dawn Brooks, Dawn's Dance Depot offers a variety of boogie-bettering classes for anyone ages 2 and up. Children, teens, and baby-bodied Benjamin Buttons can enlist in any of schedule's dance classes, which incorporate multiple styles and skill levels.
When asked about their teaching qualifications, the instructors at Finney's HIT Squad—including Jesse Finney himself—all point to their win records. All of them have a competitive fighting history in their chosen disciplines, and several have earned championships or black belts. As full-time employees of the gyms, they school guests on MMA, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They also access their inside knowledge of the industry for fighter-development programs, which strive to transform beginners into professional combatants without stuffing them into hollowed-out punching-bag cocoons for 5 years. For amateurs and experts alike, they assert that "you fight how you train," and aim to simulate official rounds inside their onsite cages, boxing rings, and matted arenas. In 2011, their professional chops helped Finney's HIT Squad take the title of Best MMA Gym in the Riverfront Times Best of St Louis feature.
Despite their investment in competitions, however, the staffers view the two gyms as all-inclusive spaces. Whether they are instilling confidence in children through kids' jujitsu, orienting a new member to the fitness equipment, or leading a women-only martial-arts class, they mentor students of all backgrounds.