Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 13, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Exercisers head to Snap Fitness's 24/7 fitness haven to work up a sweat on dozens of cardio and weight-training machines. With a 30-day membership, muscle constructors enjoy unlimited access to Snap’s facilities, from a room stocked with free weights and benches to a cardio theater area where 42-inch LCD TVs deck the walls. Newly minted members undergo a pair of one-hour personal-training sessions, during which they develop a custom fitness program under the tutelage of a certified conditioning guru. The global-access card allows members to carve scenic ridges into their physiques at any Snap Fitness center across the nation so that they don’t have to bench-press their cars while on road trips. This package also includes a free water bottle as well as a pair of two-week passes to dole out to family members, friends, or extremely motivated house pets.
Heather O'Neill is a renaissance woman. She started her career as a mathematician, and then developed a strong interest in fitness after becoming a mother. She made a complete career change, racking up certifications and innumerable hours of exercise experience, before becoming the owner of South Pointe Fitness Club. Today, Heather oversees a variety of fitness services ranging from personal training to group fitness classes such as yoga, kickboxing, cycling, Pilates, and just lying on your back and staring at the ceiling fan sessions.
Studio Booseh owner Souzan Mills grew up in Iran, surrounded by the performances of lifelong belly dancers. Since arriving in America, she has competed in the Miss Belly Dance competition, performed alongside Persian and Arab celebrities, and obtained her personal-training certification. Today she blends her passion for dance and her background in fitness into Studio Booseh, a women-only boutique gym.
Inside her classrooms, Souzan and a team of international instructors lead eight kinds of dance classes, including belly dance, Bollywood, and flamenco. They also offer fitness-focused dance derivatives that burn calories and build long, lean muscles, including Zumba, barre fitness, and pole dancing.