Megan Ryan Kaiser doesn’t remember her first hot-yoga session as a transcendent, transformative moment. She recalls the feeling of intimidation that almost sent her packing. Over time, the class did enhance her life as she felt the benefits throughout her transition, but it might not have without the support of a welcoming community of students and instructors. She struggled to find such an affirming place to pose after moving to the Madison area from Los Angeles. Instead of continuing her search, she decided to build the community she sought by launching Dragonfly Hot Yoga.
Students of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels flock to the studio’s award-winning classes, which range from beginner-friendly Intro to Yoga sessions to Advanced Flow routines filled with challenging inversions and arm balances. Spacious classrooms let students move freely, and flooring specifically designed for hot-yoga classes repels sweat and odors. During most yoga classes, the room’s temperature rises to 85–105 degrees, which promotes flexibility and toxin release. The instructors also lead traditional fitness classes, including a boot-camp-style workout filled with resistance training, calisthenics, and plyometrics. Before and after classes, students bond over tea and books in a lounge that’s as cozy as a fireplace wearing a hand-knitted sweater. To help busy parents integrate yoga into their routine, the studio also offers childcare during many morning classes and private yoga sessions, which can be scheduled at a convenient time. Dragonfly Hot Yoga | Barre also offers non-heated yoga and barre-amped classes in their new Studio Mild space.
Madison Pilates?s owner, Marissa Lins, founded her studio to nurture a supportive fitness community for students of all levels, including those who aspire to become Pilates teachers themselves. The staff of comprehensively trained instructors leads a schedule of beginner to advanced classes with a therapeutic approach, taking time to encourage and guide students through verbal cues, hands-on instruction, exercise demonstration, and professional-quality semaphore.
During newbie-friendly Pilates sessions, teachers introduce the basics of floor-based mat work, where pupils support their body weight themselves, and the fundamentals of spring-resisted equipment workouts, where apparatuses such as the Pilates Reformer and the Wunda chair resist or support students? movements to add strength-building benefits. Students in the intermediate- and advanced-level classes incorporate more demanding Pilates techniques while learning to monitor their own form during each smoothly controlled movement. In addition to group sessions, the teachers also lead private lessons for attendees seeking one-on-one instruction or help with their income-tax paperwork. Nestled amid a bouquet of towering oak trees, the Madison Pilates studio boasts a practice space with gleaming, wood floors and ceilings that are high enough to accommodate Paul Bunyan's coat rack.
When swimmers plunge into either the warm-water or lap pools at Pinnacle Health and Fitness, they might feel as if they?re relaxing in the ocean. That?s because the pool isn?t pumped with harsh chemicals?instead, the staff maintains a salt water system. And rather than restricting themselves to swim lessons and laps, the staff leads aquatic group exercise classes, aqua-based boot camps, and even personal-training sessions in the pool.
Their array of on-land fitness activities includes boot camps and group exercise classes such as kickboxing-based TurboKick, Zumba, and TRX Suspension Training.
Travis, Pinnacle Health and Fitness?s on-staff dietician, buttresses fitness routines with nutritional guidance. Personal trainers also assist patrons who want to get fit, lose weight, or focus on specific goals such as triathlon training, volleyball conditioning, and finally winning the egg-and-spoon race at the next family reunion. After workouts, members can reward themselves with a trip to the sauna or steam room, pick up a smoothie from the juice bar, or retrieve their offspring from the childcare center.
In a homey diner setting with stained glass and a large mural that depicts a small town, patrons perk up for the day with PC's menu of European and American breakfast and lunch fare. True to its name, PC’s offers a diverse roster of classic pancakes, which can come flecked with bacon or chocolate chips; baked with fillings such as spiced apples and peaches; or spread thin as crepes and sewn onto the elbows of sports jackets.
Not content to let pancakes hoard all the oven territory, thick-baked omelets jostle for space with hearty fillings such as portabella mushrooms, red peppers, and cheese. Fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice make for a refreshing quaff, and cups of Kona coffee—specially blended for the café—send toasty aromas steaming into the air alongside carafes of real whipping cream.
Sandwiches and salads populate a lunchier section of the menu, alongside burgers such as the towering Lemont-ster burger: dual half-pound patties draped in cheddar, toasted onion strings, and thousand-island dressing.
The techniques that Lauren Birkel imparts to her trainers are the same ones she used on herself while preparing for and completing the rigorous Ironman World Championships in 2005 and 2011, as well as the France-held International Triathlon Union Long Course World Championships in 2007. With this history of achieving difficult goals, Birkel knows how to inspire students without commissioning a band of rabid coyotes to chase them while they run.
She and her many cotrainers use these thoroughly tested methods of motivation to push students toward healthier lives in one-on-one, small-group, and large-group training sessions. She decks out her indoor studios with all the necessary equipment for personal-training sessions and isn't afraid to lead all-outdoor boot-camp academies in the heat or rain.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in kinesiology exercise science, ACE-certified trainer and Fit Fun Bootcamps founder Dustin Maher designed MamaTone Fitness to help moms vanquish weight gain after childbirth. Inspired by his own mother—who cooked his siblings and him healthful meals but rarely had enough time to exercise—Maher strives to imbue his clients with the motivation to do both. Whether training new moms, moms-to-be, dads who had moms, or curiously fast sons whose moms found them in the middle of a Kansas corn field climbing out of a spaceship, his group classes and boot camps immerse participants in a full-body workout with moral support from neighboring exercisers.