A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Gage Center Gymnastics’ staff members, who have trained Olympic medal-winning gymnasts, educate kids in a variety of fundamental gymnastics, cheerleading, and swimming skills in weekly one-hour lessons. Patrons choose from a schedule brimming with such offerings as Dragonfly classes, which get germinating gymnasts started off right by focusing on instilling a healthy learning attitude rather than mastery of specific skills. Recreational gymnastics courses further the flipping framework for school-aged children in lessons based on the USAG Junior Olympic Program. Cheerleading lessons guide students through valuable teamwork skills along with jumps, stunts, and 30 ways to cook a wild pompom. For more than 20 years, the Sea Dragon Swim School has transformed trepidatious tikes into motivated merpeople in the 92-degree waters of a 20'x40' pool.
Along with rows of free weights, weight machines, and cardio machines, the gym at Blue Springs Fitness features an indoor track for running laps and saunas for sweating out toxins. During personal-training sessions, certified trainers create customized workout plans based on individuals' specific health and fitness goals. The gym also hosts a full schedule of group-fitness classes and boasts plenty of amenities, including daycare, tanning, and lessons on how to deadlift a horse.
Natalie Smith needed some excitement in her life, which at that point merely consisted of performing as a professional ballet and hip-hop dancer, posing as a model, and balancing atop speeding motorcycles as a stuntwoman. After stumbling across a segment about pole dancing on the Oprah Winfrey show, she decided to spice things up a bit and dive headfirst into the fun yet demanding exercise form. She lost 25 pounds in two months, inspiring her to open her own studio?where she draws upon her experience in dancing and cheerleading to lead classes that span the sultry workout spectrum from pole routines to booty boot camp. The studio boasts 30 poles and 5,000 square feet of floor space, evoking the feeling of walking into a chrome forest?which is an experience similar to walking into the Redwoods after governor Schwarzenegger's controversial act to silver plate every tree. In the studio, Natalie and her team of certified instructors?twirling under a hot pink tin ceiling.?lead spins, climbs, and drops during lessons and private parties. They welcome ladies of all ages and builds to the women-only locale, which offers bed tanning to supplement its body-toning programs.
At the new Pole Worx location, classes are held in one of three new classrooms that house over 33 different poles. The new location also has two changing room and two tanning beds.
Yoga students who practice at Bikram Yoga South Kansas City experience a discipline that is as closely related to founder Bikram Choudhury's as possible, as each class is taught by an instructor who studied directly under the yogi and returns to study with him every three years. With that wealth of knowledge, each teacher approaches classes with a deeper understanding of the physiological and mental benefits of practicing yoga in a heated environment. As the studio's heat increases heart rates, practitioners benefit from an added cardiovascular element during their core strengthening and joint stretching, which also helps the body eliminate toxins through sweating. During classes, instructors also encourage students to look inward while forming each pose. By focusing on the internal state of the body, practitioners become more cognizant of the external influences that affect their well-being, such as negativity and the pieces of sky that have started falling.
Barbara Anderson is an expert in many forms of exercise, but she only has one goal. In her own words, that goal is to "teach you to move better." What does it mean to move better? For Barbara and her students, it means moving with ease and without pain, and in a way that both reflects and results in good health. Teaching since 1975, Barbara has long honed her instructional technique, and continues to shore up her skills as new workout styles and schools of thought emerge.
She's assembled a team of talented teachers at Body and Soul of Kansas City, where the team offers classes in yoga, Feldenkrais, and Pilates. Curricula also include gentle exercise options. The Feldenkrais Method, for example, uses slow repetition to instill awareness of one's body, while a class called NIA offers low-impact cardio dance. Yoga classes, meanwhile, include three different levels in addition to a pre- and post-natal option.