At downtown Toronto's Fit Factory Fitness, voted Top Fitness Club of 2013 in Toronto by Top Choice Awards, former US Marine Corps drill instructor and Fit Factory co-founder Tony Austin mimics the intense training regimen he completed during his military days. Along with his fellow instructors, Tony uses his 22 years of fitness experience while donning a military-style olive cap to lead exercisers of all fitness levels through more than 120 diverse classes, including personal training, boot camp, and boxing. One week, exercisers might jog with buckets full of water on the shores of a lake or swing sledgehammers into the sand, and the next, they might head indoors to drag heavy bags across the astroturf. With Tony's military background, the exercisers receive training and regiments like those practiced by the U.S. Armed Forces. Instructors also teach boxing boot-camp classes, in which patrons pummel heavy punching bags until they agree to personally train them.
As they enter the training circle 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. One minute 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.
Under the watchful guidance of founder and yogi Brynn Byrne, the dedicated instructors at Elemental Yoga: North Texas Yoga Therapy help students boost core strength and detoxify bodily systems with their schedule of yoga classes. Classes vary based on skill level and intensity, with meditative flow easing practitioners into centering poses and advanced posture sessions helping seasoned students progress on their yogic journeys. No matter the class, instructors embrace the tenets of holistic healing, crafting sessions that can improve respiration, sharpen mental faculties, and restore energy lost during attempts to power the television with a stationary bike.
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One of the country's largest ballet companies, Texas Ballet Theater produces performances that engage and inspire audiences. Attend Ben Stevenson's celebrated version of The Nutcracker, a well-known ballet that explores a dream world of princes, toy soldiers, warring mice, and 40-foot-tall Christmas trees. An orchestra seat inside the high-tech Winspear Opera House, a modern horseshoe theater designed by Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, grants great views of the stage as the skilled performers spin through scenes spurred on by Tchaikovsky's score and shiny snowflakes that flutter earthward like a sinking clouds.
Having shared his fitness expertise on Good Morning Texas and in his book, Living Lean, health expert Larry North offers a boutique gym that gives fitness-fitters an alternative to traditional workout facilities within a welcoming, low-key atmosphere. Redeem this Groupon for two one-on-one training sessions with an experienced fitness professional who will tailor workouts to your specific needs. You'll also get a month of unlimited access to the gym and enough fitness classes to exercise to your biceps' content (Southlake schedule here). Meditate away the day's drudgeries with a yoga class, or get the blood pumping with the kickboxing circuit class, which includes jump roping, hand weights, and hitting punching bags that electronically shout Shakespeare sonnets as motivation. Aesthetically appealing spaces encourage customers to relax their minds as they tighten their gluteals.