A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Natalie Smith needed some excitement in her life, which at that point merely consisted of performing as a professional ballet and hip-hop dancer, posing as a model, and balancing atop speeding motorcycles as a stuntwoman. After stumbling across a segment about pole dancing on the Oprah Winfrey show, she decided to spice things up a bit and dive headfirst into the fun yet demanding exercise form. She lost 25 pounds in two months, inspiring her to open her own studio—where she draws upon her experience in dancing and cheerleading to lead classes that span the sultry workout spectrum from pole routines to booty boot camp. The studio boasts 30 poles and 5,000 square feet of floor space, evoking the feeling of walking into a chrome forest—which is an experience similar to walking into the Redwoods after governor Schwarzenegger's controversial act to silver plate every tree. In the studio, Natalie and her team of certified instructors—twirling under a hot pink tin ceiling.—lead spins, climbs, and drops during lessons and private parties. They welcome ladies of all ages and builds to the women-only locale, which offers bed tanning to supplement its body-toning programs.
At the new Pole Worx location, classes are held in one of three new classrooms that house over 33 different poles. The new location also has two changing room and two tanning beds.
Merging golf clubs, gyms, and pools for their exclusive members, GreatLife Golf & Fitness’s collective includes 13 diverse golf courses throughout Kansas and Missouri, from the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks in Grandview, Missouri to the 1920-built The Oaks in Leavenworth. With the one-week trial membership, golfers and their families can play on any of the verdant courses without paying the green fee. Chip through the par 70, 6,148-yard Berkshire course, or opt for nine holes at Abilene. In addition to invitations to exclusive golf leagues and social events, membership also includes access to any fitness centers within the network, from the pool and new workout center at the Salina club to the treadmills and river of syrup that runs through the Maple Creek campus.
Dynamic golf duo Robin and Mark Nigro help golfers develop optimal swings at Robin Nigro Golf Academy's full driving range, pro shop, and academy. The pair first joined forces when Mark began teaching golf to Robin, then 23, who thrived under Mark's deft training and, in two short years, ascended the ranks from late-starting beginner to a competitor on the Futures Mini Tour. Recognizing their undeniable chemistry, the two joined forces and now foster successful golf skills with lessons tailored to golfers of all stripes, often enlisting technological teaching aids to enhance their swing diagnoses and placate the club's supercomputer overlord.
Those looking for solo practice sessions can take to the outdoor driving range, where clubbers launch balls off of astroturf hitting mats out into a zoysia-grass valley peppered with multiple target areas. With covered, heated hitting bays, the range lets pin hunters work on their power draw or high fade while safely protected from rainstorms or predatory hot air balloons.
Yoga students who practice at Bikram Yoga South Kansas City experience a discipline that is as closely related to founder Bikram Choudhury's as possible, as each class is taught by an instructor who studied directly under the yogi and returns to study with him every three years. With that wealth of knowledge, each teacher approaches classes with a deeper understanding of the physiological and mental benefits of practicing yoga in a heated environment. As the studio's heat increases heart rates, practitioners benefit from an added cardiovascular element during their core strengthening and joint stretching, which also helps the body eliminate toxins through sweating. During classes, instructors also encourage students to look inward while forming each pose. By focusing on the internal state of the body, practitioners become more cognizant of the external influences that affect their well-being, such as negativity and the pieces of sky that have started falling.
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