"I am magnificent. I am powerful," is the mantra fitness instructor Carl J. Powell III strives to instill into his students, hoping to empower them with the knowledge that they can take charge of their health. To help students make these changes, Carl—a wellness guru who has been featured in Ebony magazine—has made more than 20 fitness videos, and has traveled the world training dancers. His team of instructors leads private and group fitness classes at The Magnificent Body. They lead Pilates, yoga, and three styles of barre, which blends ballet, yoga, and Pilates exercises to sculpt long, lean figures. Before students come to their first class, Carl assesses their athletic abilities and fitness goals in a 30-minute personal consultation.
Further encouraging folks to live healthier lifestyles, Carl hosts Magnificent Living, a one-hour talk show that airs on Laurel Cable. Six days a week, he doles out exercise and diet advice, such as eating fruits and veggies instead of butter sculptures.
The professionally trained instructors at Olney Yoga & Wellness soothingly guide yogis of all skill levels through a variety of stretchy positions in a tranquil atmosphere. The myriad classes include beginner yoga, which covers basic postures and breathing techniques, Vinyasa flow, which helps yogis execute powerful poses, and gentle yoga, during which pupils coddle baby lemurs. The versatile schedule is packed with daily class options from morning to evening, making it easy to schedule a class between hectic bird-watching itineraries and Bonanza reruns. Throughout each class, body-bending students receive personalized attention from instructors as they contort their way across the warm, open-aired studio, replete with lustrous wood floors and stained-glass windows. Although it is recommended that students bring their own yoga mats to class, Olney Yoga offers mat rentals ($1).
Movement is medicine for Sunyatta Amen, proprietor and head instructor at MamaSita Movement & Wellness Studio. She expresses this philosophy through an eclectic menu of group classes such as Urban Fusion Belly Dance, Zumba, and Brazilian Samba Workout. During classes, students gain confidence as they shimmy hips and undulate bellies through each 60- to 90-minute workout.
High-energy beats from artists such as Flo Rida, B.o.B., and the Black Eyed Peas bounce forth from the spinning studio at Rock Creek Sports Club, where nationally certified trainers lead stationary cyclists through challenging routes. In addition to these pop-powered workouts, the studio hosts more than 50 other fitness classes, an array of options that prompted the editors of Bethesda Magazine to name the studio 2012’s Best Neighborhood Gym. Zumba classes encourage students to boogie away calories to latin beats, and boxing clinics incorporate one-on-one attention from Golden Glove winner Russell Davis. The team of trainers can also coach visitors through the weight-loss process, or helm small group workout sessions capped at eight participants. The gym also welcomes independent workouts, with equipment such as treadmills, benches, and weights awaiting a few breathless reps of their own.
There's a Zumba class for every type of student at Savage Fit LLC. Beginners start with Zumba Gold classes, learning four basic rhythms ranging from merengue to reggaeton, and following along as an instructor sets them to international beats. Next, they expand upon this foundational repertoire with moves such as samba, belly dance, and flamenco, working their way up to follow simple choreography or incorporate strength-training with maraca-shaped hand weights.
While AquaZumba classes turn the dance party into a pool party, Zumbatonic turns it into a kids party where pint-sized students can shimmy and shake with friends of their own age and ability. When Savage Fit Studio isn't teaching Zumba, they also offer Pilates and yoga classes, as well as a girls' night out event on the last Friday of each month.
For Shauna Simon and her family, yoga is more than just a workout or stress-reliever—it's an integral part of their daily lives. She first discovered the transformative powers of yoga when she was a teen and later lived in an ashram for many years, traveling to India to deepen her knowledge. At her yoga studio, she creates a nurturing atmosphere for adults and kids so that each student can leave feeling energized and peaceful.