Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Rhythm Fitness pumps up the workout energy with enthusiastic instructors and an internationally inspired variety of cardio dance styles designed to shake shoes and sculpt physiques. One-hour Zumba classes tone bodies to the dynamic rhythms of Latin-inspired dance beats, inspiring students to spiritedly swing their hips and shout Shakespearean poetry in rapid cadence. Funky Fusion modifies traditional belly-dance techniques with a sassy soulfulness, fusing an ab-twisting assortment of maneuvers into fast-paced sessions that melt away the hours and pounds.
For Melissa Darrisaw, getting into peak physical shape starts with transforming your attitude as well as your body. That’s why she supplements her high-octane workouts with constant motivation and nutritional support, assisting her students in breaking bad habits and leading healthier lifestyles.
Inside her studio, sunlight streams onto professional strength-training equipment as she and her fellow trainers lead small-group conditioning classes and personal-training sessions throughout the week. To help clients pursue healthy lifestyles outside of the gym, the trainers use the comprehensive online DietMaster program to assist them in designing nutritious meal plans and grocery lists. Their studio is home to an innovative body-wrap system, which uses infrared rays to help melt away excess pounds as the user watches television, reads a book, or gains the ability to read their dog’s mind.
The team at Thrive Yoga have done something that human beings have attempted since the dawn of civilization: harnessed the power of the sun. The first thing that visitors to their expansive studio notice is the gentle heat that radiates throughout. That warmth comes from infrared energy, the same kind of energy produced by our solar system's favorite star. Absorbed through the skin, this energy compliments the exercises done during the studio's hot yoga classes. As students move through yoga poses, flow-sequences, and meditative moments, the infrared heat infuses their muscles with a healing warmth, conveying potential benefits ranging from toxin removal and increased circulation to boosted flexibility and decreased inflammation. The building itself also aids in the body's recovery; the studio boasts shock-absorbing Zebra floor mats, which cushion joints as they move through each class's exercises.