AFAA-certified fitness instructor Kari Fundingsland did three decades' worth of research before opening Kari Kardio. Beginning with her first Jazzercise center in 1983, she amassed group- and personal-training knowledge at gyms stationed from the United States to Australia. She took note of club fads and their effects, and experimented with different exercise styles to create the Kardio Flex System—a malleable workout template that allows instructors to pair her proven exercises with their own music playing over speakers or inside their heads. Today, more than 30 group classes per week at Kari Kardio attest to the breadth of her industry savvy.
With backgrounds in competitive athletics, personal training, and other high-level fitness activities, Kari Kardio’s teachers pair time-tested training methods with the latest workout trends. Their classes—which run the gamut from spin to kickboxing to strength training—accommodate all experience levels with safe exercise modifications. Treadmills and stationary bikes line the 9,000-square-foot studio, helping students chase their fitness goals and complete stationary paper routes when not attending classes.
World Gym is a no-nonsense fat-blasting factory outfitted with more than $250,000 in brand-new equipment, a friendly staff, and professional personal trainers. Spinning classes are offered daily, and with more than 50 new spinning bikes, presenting myriad opportunities to embark on imaginary bicycle rides through the sunlit streets of Paris circa 1953. Professional trainers, such as Cathy “Cat” Griffith, winner of several NPC Women’s Figure Championships, are available to help take exercise regimes up a notch, and more than 60 cardio machines, circuit equipment, and a garden of free weights round out the spacious interior. Childcare is available for grandparents whose children refuse to spot for them, and weekday hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. make sure that surly early worms and coffee-jitter night hawks have equal access to the bench press.
At Puh-la-teez, certified instructor Bridget Kolshak helps students fortify their cores with an arrangement of specialized Pilates equipment. Begin the pursuit of fitness with a one-hour private Reformer, Tower, or Mat session (up to a $50 value), then move on to group classes for additional power-ups and the chance to stare down fellow exercisers. Physique sculptors can carve themselves a sexier shell and solidify gooey cores with the purposeful movements of a Pilates Mat class, a 55-minute fusion of mat exercises and modern Pilates props (a $10 value). Finish off the body-trimming adventure with a 55-minute Pilates equipment class (a $20 value)—the Reformer class refines balance, core strength, and flexibility on the Stott Pilates Reformer, and the Tower class relies on the Balanced Body Pilates Springboard to challenge muscle groups with resistance training.
Vertical enthusiasts test their anti-gravity gumption against Red Dragon’s 14'x14' climbing wall during open-climb sessions six days a week. Divided into three sections for beginner, intermediate, and advanced scrabblers, the multifaceted wall can introduce an element of danger to first dates or partnered physics study sessions. After an experienced instructor explains safety precautions and basic belaying techniques, each novice scaler straps into a rental harness before going aloft to explore myriad handholds and footholds. Alternatively, a 6'x16' roof section challenges more advanced grips, while bouldering courses and a wall-to-ceiling climbing rope help mix up routines for regular customers or easily bored spiders.
Soni Anderson has been a yoga enthusiast since infancy. As a baby in the Fiji islands, she received yoga massage from her grandmother while her grandfather danced and performed stories from ancient Hindu texts. Today, as a teacher and co-founder of SoniYoga, she strives to combine her grandfather's playful mindset with the therapeutic customs of her homeland, working with her husband and co-founder David, a fellow Yoga Alliance instructor.
Though SoniYoga's focus is on Hatha yoga, certain classes also incorporate restorative, Kundalini, and yin and yang postures. A serene atmosphere of acceptance welcomes students to challenge themselves each time they visit, whether they wish to push the boundaries of their flexibility with a more advanced pose or by practicing in a restrictive suit of armor. Soni also channels her holistic upbringing by offering ayurvedic counseling, products, and massage services which can help customize a wellness plan for clients based on their body type.
After seeing herself in photos from her sister's wedding, Amber Tiernan felt it was time to make a change. In a flurry of crumpled notebook papers, she began to draw up the very program that would help her lose 58 pounds, using her extra energy to become a Zumba instructor. As the founder and first client of Nu Image Wellness, Tiernan combines straightforward eating and exercise plans, a one-on-one support system, and supplies including protein supplements to help other people on the road to their weight-loss goals. The plan is based on the latest weight-management research, designed to promote healthy, sustainable results, and comes with a personal nutrition coach. The weight-loss guides tailor each program to a client's needs, and incorporate tips and strategies for dining out and grocery shopping, such as avoiding empty calories or challenges to eat your own weight in gummy bears.