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's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
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.