Brad Pugh has followed a healthy diet and exercise plan his whole life—until a few years ago, that is. Frustrated by the time and energy commitment, he decided to take a break from working out, which led to three years of inactivity and 30 extra pounds. As he huffed and puffed his way back to fitness, he resolved to use this experience as an opportunity to help others get back into shape. In 2000, Brad founded Shaping U Fitness, a gym specializes in small-group exercise programs.
A nationally certified personal trainer, Brad earned local renown when he was named the city’s second-best personal trainer by Birmingham Magazine. Six days a week, he runs indoor and outdoor boot-camp classes as well as personal-training sessions available on a one-on-one or semiprivate basis. Brad helps his clients modify unhealthy eating habits as well by designing meals based on the 14-day detox plan. Healthy meals centering around lean cuts of meat and high-nutrient vegetables are prepared by a chef and delivered to the home.
When she is not busy sharing the multifarious benefits of her bodywork with couples in hands-on massage workshops, licensed therapist Chelsea Short concentrates on soothing muscular aches with a range of therapeutic spa services. Chelsea’s couples classes, held on Saturdays, begin with a basic overview of Swedish massage techniques. The instruction soon gives way to one-on-one practice as couples take turns kneading the knots out of each other’s backs and transmitting affectionate messages in Morse code. Passive learners can indulge in a signature massage that culls techniques from Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger-point modalities to relieve chronic pain. A boundless supply of hot packs and heated foot towels keeps little piggies warm after cold trips to the market, and a hot-towel facial reduces skin oil while clearing countenances of acne and blemishes.
With a lineage that traces back more than 30 years to its founders' respective schools, Tiger Rock Martial Arts has grown to more than 200 locations nationwide. Tiger Rock's primary focus is tae kwon do, through which certified trainers teach youngsters the skills to defend themselves, as well as confidence and discipline. Adults can learn tae kwon do as well or encounter martial-arts moves in a calorie-torching aerobic workout. Tiger Rock also partners with sports teams to bolster their training or with corporations to get their employees up, moving, and healthy.
Rhythm N Motion fetes shimmying strut masters and boogying beginners alike with high-energy adult dance classes that bust moves in a supportive and fun environment. Burn calories and mold muscles Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. with burlesque strip aerobics, a total-body workout that emphasizes fun, flirtation, and fitness set to old-school jazz music, focusing on the tease element of strip and keeping comfortable clothes firmly planted on shimmying bodies. The class borrows moves from Latin dance styles, such as rumba and bolero, and zeros in on a focused mesh of cardio, dance, and live-action dissertations on the art of coy suggestion. The Tuesday evening 6 to 7 p.m. timeslot ushers in hip-hop fusion, which engages abs and limbs in a ceremony of grooving and moving, giving limbered-up soul sacks a cool cardio blast after an energetic warm up. Finally, Thursday evening ballroom 101 classes sate steppers and swayers with new techniques every week, regularly featuring the social swirls and soulful shakes of the tango, hustle, waltz, foxtrot, and wolfgallop performed with or without a partner from 7 to 8 p.m.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Though the workout pros behind Elite Fitness Consultants have trained athletes such as MLB star Mitch Moreland and an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader, you don't have to be a sports star yourself to receive Elite's training services. Owned by certified personal trainer and former Marine Brad Bearden, Elite offers personal and semiprivate training as well as nutrition and diet counseling, all of which is tailored to each client's individual needs.