Fueled by Joseph Pilates' belief that exercise should enhance and support the natural machinery of the human body, instructors lead students through a tapestry of intense, focused moves that draw from weight training, aerobics, yoga, and tai chi. In addition to leading group mat classes aimed at boosting core strength, they stock their hardwood studio with machines such as Cadillacs, ladder barrels, and reformers that rely on handles, ropes, and pulleys to heighten the workouts. The staffers offer semi-private and private lessons that focus exclusively on these reformer machines, which each face their own mirror so practitioners can perfect their poses and James Cagney impersonations simultaneously. To liven up the floor routines, they sometimes combine elements of TRX suspension training or ballet-barre workouts, both excellent complements to the intense core work of Pilates.
At Ohio Krav Maga & Fitness, a facility staffed by decorated martial artists and coaches, experienced instructors guide students through self-defense classes. Those that lead the studio’s namesake Krav Maga courses show students how to work with their body’s natural instincts to take down a predator or quell the body’s urge to start the wave with every conversational mention of sports.
Further self-defense skills emerge during muay thai combat and weapons disarming seminars. In the gym’s fitness corner, cardio kickboxing slings five rounds of fast-paced punches and kicks, while yoga helps fighters wind down and leaves them more relaxed than a sloth traveling through taffy. The facility also offers CrossFit classes, where students perform a variety of functional movements in short bursts of maximum intensity to burn fat and rapidly build muscle.
Even for avid yogis and cyclists, the yoga and spin classes at Burn Studio promise uncharted territory. The two separate entrances, Studio Yang and Studio Yin, offer very different atmospheres. When entering into Studio Yang, visitors are greeted with a pumped-up atmosphere from high-intensity fusion classes such as The Mixer, its signature class. After plowing through 30 minutes of uphill cycling and flat-out sprints on the stationary bike, attendees flow through 45 minutes of upbeat yoga. The class welcomes all fitness levels, as do the other distinctly energetic, fast-paced yoga and spin classes.
Those who enter into Studio Yin are greeted with a much calmer, cozy area that is used for practicing Burn Studio's many yoga classes. Visitors can choose to attend many classes, but the most popular are Yoga Burn, a flowing, playful class, and The Mixer. Slow Burn focuses on holding poses longer, while Urban Zen focuses on restorative poses.
The championship-winning coaches at Gym Skills lead an array of tumbling and gymnastics classes in a noncompetitive and encouraging atmosphere. Mommy & Me courses, geared toward children ages 18 months–2.5 years, allow parents to join in on introductory limb bending, while preschool gymnastics lessons ease 3- to 5-year-olds into the world of muscle malleability. Both half-hour classes gently work little ones' flexibility, balance, stretching, and tumbling skills using kid-friendly gym equipment such as trampolines, balance beams, and 500-pound teddy bear dumbbells. Obstacle courses test youngsters' abilities to climb, jump, perform forward and backward rolls, and unravel shuttle-launch algorithms.
In 2002, former Houston Astros pitcher and certified CrossFit Level 1 coach Ralph Hicks decided to increase the accessibility of his all-time favorite fitness regimen by devising CrossFit programs for everyone from children to dedicated athletes. Today, his seasoned staff of trainers guide exercisers to physical peaks during innovative classes that borrow from CrossFit's workout philosophies and focus on such areas as endurance, baseball skills, and kids' fitness. The motivating trainers also light fires under those wishing to compete in the CrossFit Games. While pursuing personal records in reps, students hoist barbells, lift their own bodyweight, and toss homesick meteors back to their belts amidst the gym's vibrant wall graffiti.
For more than 50 years, Judy Dollenmayer Studio of Dance's instructors have been dedicated to training students of all ages. And as they offer more than 100 classes per week, there is something for everyone. Their styles range from jazz to tap to hip hop. While they emphasize turnout, flexibility, and posture in ballet, they focus more on the storytelling aspect of dance in lyrical classes, helping dancers drive their movements through emotion. During hip-hop classes, they coach students to hit funky, fast-paced movements, and in tap, they teach feet to tap out rhythmic beats. In addition to these expressive forms of movement, the instructors also lead barre ballet fitness classes, which blend dance techniques into calorie-burning cardio routines.