Dim lights gently glint off rich crimson walls, fostering a suitably seductive ambiance for Respectapole Dance Fitness's women-only sensual dance classes. Founder Jessica "Elaine" Edwards helms the studio's team of certified instructors, who aim to enhance both physiques and self-confidence through a blend of aerobic exercise and dance techniques. They strive to cultivate an upbeat, motivating environment for novices and veterans alike as they teach pole-, chair-, and lap-dance moves such as spins, floor choreography, and upside-down poses. To further sculpt toned musculature, the staff pilots hip-hop aerobics classes, and Zumba sessions.
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.
Yoga Motion fully embodies its name. Not only do the center’s instructors encourage fluid movements and flexibility in their students, they also tap into the business’s origins as a former traveling yoga studio. At its start, the studio’s instructors would bring their sessions to local spaces—a tradition that continues today as they bring their classes to local health clubs and beaches, in addition to hosting them at their permanent home. No matter the space, students learn to balance their breaths, increase flexibility, and tone muscles with yoga poses developed more than 5,000 years ago. Group classes are available for varying skill levels, and instructors also offer private sessions.
In addition to yoga classes, the facility also offers dance lessons. A dancer since she was 5, Elise McKenna mastered ballet during her tenure in the American Ballet Company and even danced in music videos by Michael Jackson and Rick Astley. While she is passionate about performing, she equally loves to teach and has been helming her own classes in belly dancing, burlesque, ballet, jazz, ballroom, and other forms for more than 25 years, or the amount of time it takes to pirouette around Jupiter.
At Tribal Yoga, students of all levels of yoga experience (or even no experience) can meet in a positive community space designed for fun, healthy interactions. The Yoga Alliance-trained teachers lead a diverse selection of classes—from preschool yoga to prenatal—all of which balance breath work, meditation, and asana. They can accommodate whatever intention students have for their yoga practice, whether they just hope to relax, lose weight, and, for kids, just have fun.
Following handshakes, Stephanie Forbes Hudgins’s preferred greeting for new clients is inspections of their spines. The certified Pilates instructor conducts detailed alignment evaluations as part of introductory sessions, during which she studies new students’ postures, pinpoints their goals, and outlines their medical histories. The consultations enable her to personalize her future lessons—she is well versed in making her exercises easier to accommodate those who are injured, pregnant, or really full. Her studio's policy is one of universal acceptance: guests of every age and experience level are welcome.
The team of instructors' private, duet, and group lessons encompass the focused stretches and core-tightening holds of both classic and modern Pilates, aided by ample tools such as Reformers, chairs, balls, tubing, and TRX Suspension cords. Her staff's curriculum reaches beyond Pilates to include barre fitness and other disciplines. Zumba classes, for example, take visitors through festive cardio-dance routines, and sessions of assisted stretching release muscular tension while ensuring that you don't lunge too deeply and become permanently stuck.
Certified personal fitness trainer Ken Williams’ boot camps were voted Hampton Roads' best in 2011 by the Virginian-Pilot, and he was honored in NV Magazine’s 2011 Movers & Shakers list, a designation for outstanding business people who prove “anything is possible.” Today, he captains a crew of certified trainers in his boot-camp programs while also offering private training and diet coaching. Believing his boot camps can benefit anyone, he trains clients of every stripe, from those looking to shed fat to competitive bodybuilders to local celebrities such as WVEC News 13’s Benita Adams. Each of his workouts aims to challenge fitness seekers both physically and mentally, much like solving math problems with a 130-pound bronze pencil.
In addition to helping clients along the path to healthier selves, Ken commits himself to offering a hand in the local community. He provides motivational speeches at local schools to encourage healthy habits among youth, and conducts food and supply drives for local homeless shelters Haven House and ForKids, Inc.