Certified personal trainer Todd Beattie has worked to save lives as a US Navy search-and-rescue swimmer, spends his spare time competing in Ironman triathlons, and continues to train in a variety of martial arts that he's been doing for 22 years. The lifetime fitness guru channels each of these experiences into his dynamic aerobic and plyometric workouts, which marry functional fitness with techniques garnered from his time in the martial arts and military. Todd and his dutiful instructors, both of whom are black belts, help clients shape up during customized, one-on-one personal training and 20 weekly fitness classes. They motivate small groups of fitness-seekers with boot camps, kettlebell strength-training classes, and boxing sessions while keeping a watchful eye to ensure students don't overexert their muscles. These encouraging trainers also help women to protect themselves through self-defense seminars, during which they teach participants how to identify, avoid, and escape from suspicious people, attackers, and door-to-door used-car salesmen.
To further assist clients in reaching their fitness goals, Downtown Boot Camp posts weekly meal plans complete with online calorie counts that keep diets on track and strengthen wills against guilt trips from jilted chocolate cakes. Every month, the generous instructors donate a portion their profits to a rotating roster of charities.
Along with owner Patrea—a two-time Ms. Fitness USA national finalist who holds a degree in exercise science—the instructors at 15 to Fit make their members a promise: if they're not stronger and more flexible after 15 weeks of the Pilates program, they'll get their money back. To that end, the instructors form positive relationships that encourage each student to stay committed as they climb the learning curve of using Pilates equipment. They coach everyone from first-time Pilates students to professional athletes during one-on-one Pilates sessions, duet sessions, and group classes. In addition to Pilates-focused sessions, the instructors help lengthen and strengthen muscles during yoga and ballet barre/TRX suspension training fusion classes.
Patrea and her team also offer niche services such as Pilates for golfers, chair Pilates for seniors, and ghost Pilates for poltergeists. On Sunday and Tuesday, massage therapist Heather Chaney pops in to put her decade of muscle-kneading experience to work, offering massages that include a unique variety performed on the Pilates barrel.
Motus Dance Theatre sends its ensemble pirouetting through the walls of convention and into the city's auditoriums, libraries, and art museums. With performances such as Pairings—a series of six dances inspired by six wine and gourmet food matchups—the nonprofit company translates imaginative contexts into spectacles of movement. Its reputation for novelty stems from a mission to disperse the arts throughout the public sphere without putting tutus on every streetlight. By hiring up-and-coming choreographers, planning site-specific installations, and collaborating with other entertainers, the theatre brings continuously evolving dance presentations to the community.
Motus is by no means exclusive: its classes and workshops welcome participants of all backgrounds to enhance their bodily awareness. Lessons from highly trained instructors cover techniques from yoga poses to burlesque pivots, and focus on finding confidence regardless of age or build.
Inspired by their training with Swami Rama—the founder of the Himalayan Institute—Carol and Charles Crenshaw motivate students to deepen the connection between their bodies and minds at Inner Peace Yoga Center. At their nonprofit studio, Carol and Charles strive to honor Swami Rama by cultivating a sanctuary for relaxation and self-discovery through meditation and yoga classes. Six levels of yoga classes help beginners and experienced yogis alike to build strength and relieve tension, encouraging them to work at their own pace. During meditation classes, the focus is solely on the mind. Patrons drift into a meditative state to quiet anxiety over the day’s tasks or worries about dinosaurs re-emerging from extinction. A core focus on community drives the center, with community-centered events bringing people together for pasta cookouts, in-depth workshops, and community-service initiatives.
After four years spent playing football at the University of Illinois, and three years in the Canadian league, Morris Virgil circled back around to become a fitness coach. “Each client is a direct reflection of me,” he says. “Not in their physique, but in form, effort level, and dedication.”
He springboards off that philosophy during his 45-minute sports-inspired workouts, challenging patrons through functional training methods designed to improve overall health rather than just build washboard vanity abs or butter-churn biceps. Each workout divides time equally between cardiovascular routines, strength-training that leverages body weight, and muscle-sculpting exercises with free weights. The focus of each session alternates by the day of the week, so students can arrive daily for an all-around fit-‘em-up routine or drop in on specified slots to focus on slimming down, toning muscles, or building strength.
At Yoga Monkey + Fitness, Aleasha Sholes and Angie Howard want all of their staff and students to behave like monkeys. The co-owners covet the animal's playful spirit, physical poise, and social nature, encouraging guests to embrace these qualities with a variety of classes. Whether they are leading Vinyasa yoga sequences or kickboxing jabs in their two workout studios, their constructive attitudes boost both moods and heart rates. They continuously strive to redefine each student's limits, though they never lose sight of the ideal balance among work, play, and meditation dream duels. Their health-care backgrounds—Aleasha was a nurse, and Angie devises wellness programs for independent and assisted-living facilities—give them the anatomical know-how to customize their programs based on different strength levels.