Dustin Ramsden's job is to enforce the law, which means he's never terribly surprised to hear about someone breaking it. As a response, Dustin uses his 18 years of martial-arts training to help citizens defend themselves in classroom environments and on the street. He and colleague Dee Schunk-Chrisman employ the highly practical systems of krav maga⎯a martial art developed by the Israeli Defense Force for use in combat zones⎯to give their students a fighting chance against a real-world aggressor. The pair of instructors design classroom attacks to emulate real-life circumstances, dimming lights or stepping outside to train students to deal with stress, darkness, and unexpected variables. Above the mirrors that line the walls of Ram’s Self Defense school, red paint spells out such phrases as “self-control,” “perseverance,” and “indomitable spirit,” which reminds practitioners not to fight ghosts.
When not training for a triathlon or embarking on an adventure race, certified yoga instructor and Get Twisted owner Dee Chrisman teaches daily yoga classes in her Hope Mills studio. Dee helps each student on their path to honing a stronger body and sounder mind through Vinyasa-style classes. As each session's sequences of flowing postures link together with mindful breathing techniques, students follow at their own pace, making the classes appropriate for practitioners of all levels. A stock of mats and props provides all the necessary materials for yogis, and soft lighting and sepia walls give the studio a cozy, earthy feel, generally preferred over the barren, overly bright lunar feel of many other studios.
“I’m too scared to do a hot yoga class” is a phrase that’s all too familiar to Sherry Carpenter. The owner of The Funky Buddha Hot Yoga Studio and instructor recognizes that the balmy temperatures and 26 plus poses of hot yoga can intimidate those who have never taken a class before. That’s why she offers a beginners class that teaches students the poses used in hot yoga and prepares them for entry into one of the studio’s hot or warm yoga classes.
Sherry Carpenter trained under Arianna Gallagher of Chesapeake Hot Yoga, who was in turn trained by Bikram Choudhury—the founder of Bikram yoga—as well as B.K.S. Iyengar. In addition to her yoga classes, Sherry also offers Russian medical massage, which she learned while studying at the American & European Massage School. She teaches students inside a pale-green studio with mirrors and smooth hardwood floors. The studio also features curtained changing rooms, where post-yoga students can trade their sweaty asanas for clean ones.
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, exercisers 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. Those opting for the three-pack of classes can experience the Curves Circuit with Zumba fitness, which combines the feisty Latin dance-inspired fitness formula with Curves' standard circuitry to boost heart rates, strengthen abs, and turn sneakers into dancing shoes. For 30 minutes, participants can shake their hips and pinky toes while switching from station to station, burning calories as they torch staid routines.
The experienced staff at La Dolce Vita Salon & Spa beautifies clients with a full range of salon and spa services. They pamper clients' hair and skin with everything from haircuts and coloring to microdermabrasion and laser hair reduction.
Heather Rossio thinks confidence is sexy. That’s why she founded Studio X Pole Fitness—to help women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Here, experienced instructors show students of all levels how to move their bodies with power and grace. Intro to Pole sessions acquaint first-time twirlers with metallic dance partners through basic stretches, grips, and noninvasive icebreakers. Students can then move on to Beginners Pole courses that teach simple spins and transitions, as well as strength training and calorie-torching floor work. The staff recommends that attendees take at least two basic courses before graduating to Intermediate Pole's lessons on climbing the pole, sitting on the pole, and prepping for upside-down inversions. Advanced Pole classes—at the top tier of the pole pantheon—ready tricks, inversions, and spins for gravity-defying routines or actual moonwalks. Additional classes include Chair X-Fit, which tightens the core, hips, and thighs in 50-minutes sessions, and cardio-packed, dance-heavy Zumba classes. To glide and shimmy effortlessly and comfortably, guests are encouraged to don form-fitting shorts and tank tops.