Xtend Barre's founder, Andrea Rogers, has traveled the world as a professional dancer, sharing the stage with celebrities such as Enrique Iglesias and Aaron Carter along the way. Once she slowed her pace a bit, a second career path emerged: fitness instruction. As a certified Pilates teacher, she witnessed how focused, floor-based isometrics could sculpt muscles as long and flexible as a dachshund doing a gymnastics routine. However, these exercises didn't always raise the heart rate enough to provide a cardiovascular workout. Disappointed, she began to experiment. Lo and behold, when the moves were flipped upright, she could pair them with dance elements, which solved the heart-rate problem and added a dose of excitement. Barre exercises from her ballet training became a staple of the routine, helping to stretch and strengthen the body from the inside out. In addition to burning calories and enhancing coordination, the music-fueled workouts can be tailored to suit new exercisers, injured athletes, and moms-to-be.
While music lilts through the workout spaces of BarreAmped, instructors guide limbs through the muscle-lengthening maneuvers of Suzanne Bowen's BarreAmped programs. Many of them have augmented their extensive dance, gymnastics, and fitness backgrounds with training from Suzanne Bowen herself—including the Franklin studio's Amy Weber, who has practiced BarreAmped since before it was branded and now trains fellow teachers. She is one of five instructors onsite, not including subs. All of them specialize in the method's combination of dance, Pilates, yoga, and orthopedic stretching, demonstrating how to leverage the body against a ballet barre for deeper holds. With small movements that shift each posture, they tighten traditional problem areas such as the seat, thighs, and water wings that have been stuck on arms since childhood. They also align each student's physique with hands-on corrections during class.
“This is not a gym,” Kelly Barbera told Southern Exposure Magazine in 2010. “This is a boutique-style studio where everybody knows everybody.” Kelly, a former acrobat, and her husband, Joey—a former wrestler and magician who, with the help of his twin brother, performed a successful disappearing act in Las Vegas—run Temple Fitness. In their cozy orange-and-highlighter-green space bedecked with inspirational quotes, the two line the walls with everything comprehensive fitness programs need, from kettlebells to a room dedicated to TRX equipment. The studio wears many hats, with the two designing an assorted handful of fitness and health modalities: women's-only FEM Method classes, personal training, CrossFit, men's strength camp, and nutritional planning.
Together, they push exercisers through routines characterized by an abundance of positive feedback and motivation, a hallmark of their gym. Periodically, the two open the facility to host Able Youth nonprofit boot camp for kids confined to wheelchairs.
The coaching staff at D1?which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers?refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.
Koko FitClub’s automated personal-training system rockets both men and women toward fitness goals with 30-minute custom workouts that incorporate cardio and strength training. An initial consultation determines fitness level and baseline measurements, which Koko’s computerized equipment uses to design a tailored workout plan that precisely measures the weight, pace, and rest time appropriate for each exerciser.
The patented Smartraining machines guide exercisers through each workout and adapt as the user’s fitness needs change, to constantly challenge the body. Exercisers can track their results and body composition measurements online and even compare individual fitness levels to others in the Koko FitClub community.
Consistently Persistent Fitness founder and resident health expert Leks Stanic wasn't always as healthy as she is today. In fact, she long struggled with an unhealthy lifestyle and the tip-top physique she boasts today is a testament to the power of change. These days, she and her staff hope to inspire these same transformative changes in their clients, whether offering nutritional counseling, leading group fitness sessions, or making them play with a Rubik's Cube over and over again.