With an arsenal of workout regimens and classes, Willie Blanks—brother of Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks—carries on the family tradition as he and his team of trainers lead healthy hopefuls to their goals. Students of the Wil-li-netics program are instructed in positive thinking and self-motivation as well as physical strength, giving them the mental wherewithal to pursue their fitness ambitions and telekinetically deflect cannon-propelled hot dogs. Individual attention comes in the form of a series of personalized routines, which may feature step aerobics, kickboxing, dance, or hand-weight workouts. An approximately one-hour massage (a $50 value) softens tight tendons, and a series of 15-minute life-coaching sessions (a $12.50 value per session) tones thought patterns into sleeker, more positive outlooks. Each gym membership entitles trainees to as many classes as their de-jellified limbs desire (up to a $60 value).
Erie’s first and only power-yoga studio, yogaErie was voted Best Yoga Studio in 2010 by Erie Times-News readers. Taught by registered or certified instructors in a room heated to a gentle 85 degrees, most of the classes on the schedule are fit for all levels of experience, from the twistable-as-taffy to the first timer. The studio’s basic class focuses on building a strong yoga foundation, so yoga architects can develop a solid base of skyscraping poses. Throughout the class, students focus on their breath, alignment, and the mental and physical strength needed to box up unnecessary burdens and heave them out a window. In the all-levels classes, an instructor leads a power flow that offers both modifications and challenges so practitioners can pull back, push forward, or slide sideways as needed. Gentle directional lighting throughout the space fosters a warm glow on the walls that mysteriously attaches to the faces of students and continues to glow long after class has concluded.
At Art of Yoga, a team of instructors with extensive training and experience leads students in classes that build flexibility and strength and connect and heal the body and mind. Offerings include beginner and advanced courses, as well as gentle Yin and vigorous Vinyasa courses. The instructors also guide pupils through more unusual classes, such as fun multilevel Yoga Jams and Y12SR, a discussion group that combines yoga's insight with the practical tools of 12-step programs.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests of every fitness level come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. Workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. 30 seconds are spent alternating between hydraulic machines and recovery stations to maintain an elevated heart rate. 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. Workouts are designed to boost metabolism and build lean muscle, and there's always a coach to push and motivate students and help them maintain proper form. Nutrition guidance is also available.