With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Michigan’s only professional ballet company, is dedicated to staging artistic productions that lift the spirit while inspiring the toes. Who Cares?, named for composer and pianist George Gershwin’s jazzy ode to impartiality, is an energetic if indifferent ballet choreographed by George Balanchine, co-founder and founding choreographer of the New York City Ballet. Balanchine used Gershwin's Broadway hits to compose a ballet that pays homage to the popular pianist’s exuberance, American spirit, and dislike of toothpaste. Grammatically incorrect songs may include jazz standard "I Got Rhythm" and "'S Wonderful," which was notably sung by Gene Kelly in An American in Paris. Before the main event, the stage will flutter with tutus and sparkle with tiaras during Raymonda Pas de Dix.
Family Fitness and FitZone for Women are spread across six locations, but they share a common goal: to help guests find their ideal physique. They accomplish this mission by filling their 15,000- to 25,000-square-foot facilities with ellipticals, arc trainers, and treadmills that engage cardios, cores, and limbs alongside group training classes led by certified personal and group fitness instructors. Visitors can also keep tabs on their progress with the centers’ fitness monitoring program and body mass testing.
At the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse, yogis of all levels practice within a space maintained at a balmy 95 degrees, a temperature ideal for releasing toxins, warming leftover lasagna, and boosting flexibility. Seventy-five-minute cardio-heavy classes tone muscles and keep hearts steadily pumping blood through the body. Senior instructors lead Absolute Beginners classes, teaching the fundamental poses and terminology of Vinyasa sequences so pupils can eventually move on to more advanced Power Vinyasa courses.
Within an intimate studio characterized by exposed-brick, Tiffany-box-blue, and burnt-orange walls, Allegro Coaching stirs with a bustling schedule of more than 20 different group fitness classes per week. During warm months, coaches lead outdoor boot camp classes at parks around Grand Rapids. Certified instructors, many of whom hold degrees in exercise science and have trained MMA fighters, shepherd both exercise-uninitiated and seasoned athletes through the cardio and strength-training exercises of boot-camp sessions or muscle- and definition-building TRX-suspension-training, Pilates, or boxing classes. The studio's personal trainers also travel to local businesses, where they enlighten employees with wellness counseling and onsite coaching and offer practical tips for staying active in the office that move beyond typical exercises such as crab-walking in circles around cubicles or shadow-boxing the water cooler.
Like many women before her, Flirt Fitness founder Amy was hesitant to try pole fitness. But when she realized just how much fun—and how effective—pole workouts could be, she couldn’t keep the secret to herself. She became a certified instructor and opened her own studio to share it with other women.
Amy’s pole-fitness classes fuse together multiple fitness disciplines, including exotic dance, Pilates, and yoga. Students graduate through eight levels of training, learning the basics in Pole Kitten classes and eventually graduating to advanced moves, such as holding on with a single finger. Amy also teaches private and semiprivate lessons and hosts bachelorette and birthday parties in her candlelit studio.
The high-intensity trainers at Work It Off Fitness lead a regimen of no-nonsense fitness classes designed to help clients efficiently hit and maintain their health goals. They believe that a tight-knit community of focused and passionate exercisers is an important motivator, so they aim to keep their classes engaging and ever changing to ensure regular participation. Classes focus on aerobic exercise and muscle sculpting, and though they are challenging, each move can be modified to suit students of any fitness levels. In addition to group classes, instructors meet one on one with clients for personal-training sessions or to talk about their muscles’ awkward growth spurts. The staff also maintains a comprehensive website filled with information pages to complement workouts, such as Nutrition 101, postexercise nutrition, and healthy eating.