Prana the neighborhood cat seems to be proof that animals can sense positive vibes. The inquisitive feline has a fondness for visiting Bikram Yoga Greensboro between classes, meeting students at the door as they enter and leave. Those who have just finished their 90-minute sequence at either Bikram Yoga Greensboro or Bikram Yoga Winston-Salem typically emerge drenched in sweat and refreshed after progressing through Bikram's signature series of 26 poses in 105-degree heat.
Yogis hone their form with the guidance of certified instructors who have studied under Bikram Choudhury himself during nine-week intensive courses. Teachers channel more than 500 hours of training each, which allows them to adjust postures and tips according to individual needs. To explain each pose, they follow the Bikram Dialogue, a script that calls for intuitive language instead of wordless, squeaky demonstrations with Barbie dolls. This simple and attentive style helps beginners and advanced practitioners properly position their stretches.
A comprehensive and contemporary hotbed of health, The Club provides a brawny bounty of fitness amenities designed to satisfy workout goals and accommodate a wide range of lifestyle needs. Personal trainers encourage long-lasting results by educating members about proper exercise techniques and keeping them accountable to their set goals in a one-on-one or small-group setting. Emerging hard bodies can be further enhanced by an array of group exercise classes such as body step, an all-systems workout that combines aerobic action with music, or the more intense boot camp—a 45-minute regime designed to sculpt clay-like sinew and provide a competitive advantage in workplace capture-the-flag games. Members who prefer to engage in solitary self-sculpting can take advantage of everything else the luxurious facilities have to offer, such as the Oak Branch's 10-lane indoor pool, or the Green Valley location's five racquetball courts.
Julie Luther has spent the last 25 years encouraging greater health and fitness in whatever way she can. She has shared fitness secrets as a columnist for the Greensboro News and Record, created and hosted her own televised fitness show, and even spent three years training members of the Marine Corps Reserve. She continues her efforts at Julie Luther's PurEnergy Fitness Center, and has recruited a staff certified in personal training, spinning, yoga, and other fields to help people get in shape.
Rows of treadmills, weight machines, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines line the sage-green walls inside her intimate studio. Instructors encourage students through body-sculpting, yoga, and spinning classes, as well as SilverSneakers workouts designed to help older clients stay in shape and hustle youngsters in footraces. The coaches also structure specialized boot camps and 12-week personal-training programs to help individuals attain personal goals.
Crossfit Winston Salem's owners, Kevin and Renee Boyles, both of whom are Level 1 CrossFit–certified trainers, lead a diverse team of certified instructors who motivate trainees to reshape their fitness regimens and lives through the CrossFit program. Drawing from impressive collective experience—including Olympic weightlifting, soccer, and gymnastics—they develop varied routines that target endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, speed, and coordination. Their anaerobic exercises marry with aerobic workouts—body-sculpting and mind-sharpening Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics alternate with functional movements such as squats, dead lifts, and changing the tires on a monster truck. Helmed by these supportive instructors, each CrossFit training session, personal-training session, and CrossFit Kids class pushes muscles through intense workouts while maximizing the release of hormones to the brain and adrenaline into the circulatory system. The dedicated trainers also help their clients develop successful dieting strategies to overhaul unhealthy lifestyle choices.
In 1997, Richard Smiley began to feel cramped. It wasn’t his muscles—as a competitive triathlete and Ironman participant for more than 25 years, he knew how to stay in peak physical condition. Instead, it was the gyms he frequented. As Smiley saw it, many training facilities prioritized rising membership numbers over the comfort and individual needs of their members.
The 2,200-square-foot gym he founded, Smiley-Fitness by Design, features treadmills, Nautilus Circuit stations, recumbent bikes, and squat racks, but it’s the people there that make it unique. You could also say that it’s the lack of people. Smiley oversees a staff of ACE-certified trainers and strength and conditioning specialists, who guide small-group classes and attend to a deliberately limited membership base. They offer personalized exercise plans, nutrition plans designed by a registered dietician, and training services, all inside an intimate gym setting where members can exercise under the guidance of experts without feeling rushed or being asked to fill in as a barbell.