The martial-arts masters at AKKA Karate USA specialize in kenpo karate, a unique form that builds muscle tone and reflexes in order to use the body’s natural weapons—hands and feet—for self-defense. In addition to kenpo, they also lead classes focused on MMA, tai chi, and weapons training. Often, AKKA holds special events such as tournaments and sparring seminars. In addition to learning self-defense techniques, students also build valuable life skills such as an appreciation for fitness, discipline, and self-confidence.
The trainers at ProType Sports Academy adopt a multifaceted approach to exercise, basing their fitness programs on scientific research and personal experience. After talking to clients about their fitness goals and level of physical conditioning, they formulate workouts designed to prevent muscles from hitting the snooze button after too many repetitions. Trainers work with clients through each step of the process, guiding them through workouts in weight training, plyometrics, and Vertimax training, the last of which applies weight to legs and arms simultaneously. They also helm group classes in subjects such as kickboxing, yoga, TRX, spinning, and Pilates. These classes take place across a sprawling facility complete with two basketball courts, two indoor-soccer fields, a boot-camp field, a dance studio, and a quicksand pit that makes for some intense resistance training.
Though Tiffany Nelson and Brian Wilkerson have always been passionate about athletics, they come from two fairly different backgrounds. Tiffany was a top softball and track athlete in college before taking up a career as a physiotherapist, while Brian served in the Marine Corps and became a Kansas City police officer. Despite their differences in history and profession, the duo united in their passion for the CrossFit program.
They pack their no-frills facility with training equipment and free weights, welcoming fitness-seekers of all ages and fitness levels. More than just a place to work out, the duo strives to foster a sense of community at their gym—providing constant motivation, updating their website with fitness and nutrition articles, and conducting a special workout on each clients birthday before breaking open a piñata with their bare hands.
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.
Snap Fitness, a 24-hour gym, flourishes with a fleet of high-quality cardio equipment, strength-training gear, and exercise classes. Although this Groupon can only be redeemed at specified locations, members can attend any of Snap Fitness's 1,400 locations to burn calories while running on a treadmill or chasing imaginary bananas on a stationary bike. Alternately, boot-camp classes add structure to schedules and help participants to stick to goals alongside other exercisers. Dynamic instructors guide students of all levels through courses steeped in plyometrics and core-strength workouts, helping pupils to shed unwanted pounds, tone body shapes, and rehearse for uphill cartwheel marathons.
Leah Morgan, Core Balance Yoga Center’s founder and director, helms a troop of certified instructors who each pull on their unique interests and experiences to lead a variety of yoga classes. Clara Vaughn channels her personal desire for introversion and mimicking pink lawn flamingos to lead the gentle yoga and meditation classes and Anita Bailey draws on her experience as a mother of four to lead classes infused with a playful energy. With the intention of creating a community of yogis, they lead a wide spectrum of classes, with heated, rigorous yoga flow classes that allow bodies to flush out toxins in the 90–95 degree studio, as well as chair yoga classes for those with a smaller range of motion.
Built upon more than 15 years of personal-training experience, Fitness Together helps clients spill pounds and hoard muscle with personalized exercise programs and nutritional guidance. Brawn-building activities and cardio routines join forces at every turn, making calories melt faster than a snowman's heart at a fondue party in his honor. Heart rates surge during interval workouts, which challenge the body with spurts of high-intensity movement. To avert strength-training plateaus, trainers rotate the time-tested resistance exercises they use and teach new, proven methods for toning muscles and giving noogies to prairie dogs.