Conceived by fitness guru Kristen Horler, these fitness classes help expecting and new moms get fit in a supportive environment, combining strength-training exercises, cardiovascular drills, Pilates, yoga, and ab work. Moms-to-be can attend the prenatal program (with a physician's note and recommendation) to prepare for the rare delivery that exceeds the sit-com standard of seven minutes, as well as the rigors of newborn wrangling. Post-birth students are encouraged to bring along their new joy-bundles, thereby facilitating familial bonding and eliminating the need for a babysitter to come by and time their wind-sprints for them. All instructors are highly trained, and the boot camp's structure abides by the guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Council on Exercise.
Due to her contagious love of yoga, Inga Balciuniene's class space has grown from a room that could only hold four guests into a studio with its own fountain, massage area, and teaching staff. Even so, the certified instructor hasn't stopped reaching out to her community. Her Hatha- and Vinyasa-style lessons cater to any age, body type, and ability, with posture adjustments for students who stretch at different paces. She also entertains children aged 3 and older with lighthearted kids' yoga sessions, which channel creativity to keep youngsters moving instead of convincing them that their mats are lava. Inga also teaches yoga principles to special needs kids and adults, including some with autism. Apart from classes, events such as Yoga and Wine Night—where libations and recipes for healthy eats are passed around—encourage visitors to socialize in the candlelit space.
Inga is far from possessive of the environment she has built, and she readily rents out the studio to other teachers. She currently shares the space with a belly-dance expert and two massage therapists.
At Vida Health & Fitness Academy, clients get in shape primarily by lifting and swinging kettlebells. The exercises take place during cross-training workouts that are designed to increase both muscle mass and lung definition. The instructors maintain an upbeat atmosphere to help boost participants' motivation.
AFAA-certified fitness instructor Kari Fundingsland did three decades' worth of research before opening Kari Kardio. Beginning with her first Jazzercise center in 1983, she amassed group- and personal-training knowledge at gyms stationed from the United States to Australia. She took note of club fads and their effects, and experimented with different exercise styles to create the Kardio Flex System—a malleable workout template that allows instructors to pair her proven exercises with their own music playing over speakers or inside their heads. Today, more than 30 group classes per week at Kari Kardio attest to the breadth of her industry savvy.
With backgrounds in competitive athletics, personal training, and other high-level fitness activities, Kari Kardio’s teachers pair time-tested training methods with the latest workout trends. Their classes—which run the gamut from spin to kickboxing to strength training—accommodate all experience levels with safe exercise modifications. Treadmills and stationary bikes line the 9,000-square-foot studio, helping students chase their fitness goals and complete stationary paper routes when not attending classes.
At Fort Myers Adventure Boot Camp, NESTA- and WITS-certified personal trainer, Sue Meredith, sculpts strong, confident athletes with an outdoor exercise regime designed exclusively for women. In the cool hours before dawn snatches the baton from night, campers gather for 60 minutes of cardio and strength training that vary with each class to keep bodies and minds thoroughly engaged. Meredith rallies students of all abilities with encouragement and technique tips, cheering as students negotiate obstacle courses, twist torsos during sport yoga and Pilates, pound hearts to the rhythm of ropes being jumped, and pummel the air with kickboxing moves or pretend-signal pretend-runway airplanes. Participants can push themselves to the precipices of their comfort zones fueled by the camaraderie of their sweaty crew and the anticipation of a healthy, statuesque figure, svelte enough to make narrow willows weep with envy.
Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.