When asked about their teaching qualifications, the instructors at Finney's HIT Squad—including Jesse Finney himself—all point to their win records. All of them have a competitive fighting history in their chosen disciplines, and several have earned championships or black belts. As full-time employees of the gyms, they school guests on MMA, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They also access their inside knowledge of the industry for fighter-development programs, which strive to transform beginners into professional combatants without stuffing them into hollowed-out punching-bag cocoons for 5 years. For amateurs and experts alike, they assert that "you fight how you train," and aim to simulate official rounds inside their onsite cages, boxing rings, and matted arenas. In 2011, their professional chops helped Finney's HIT Squad take the title of Best MMA Gym in the Riverfront Times Best of St Louis feature.
Despite their investment in competitions, however, the staffers view the two gyms as all-inclusive spaces. Whether they are instilling confidence in children through kids' jujitsu, orienting a new member to the fitness equipment, or leading a women-only martial-arts class, they mentor students of all backgrounds.
With an expansive, 1,200-square-foot sprung hardwood dance floor in its 4,000-square-foot space, Central Studio serves a smorgasbord of healthy lifestyle choices. From Pilates and Zumba to classical ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, its expert instructors lead all manner of dance and fitness classes. Other workouts adopt a rigorous bootcamp style, such as outdoor cardio interval training and cardio barre. Elsewhere, the studio offers massages, Thai healing sessions, and personal training; there’s also an art gallery with work from local artists and a library where you can brush up on the latest health and wellbeing literature.
Saint Louis Workout helps members get fit with a fleet of weightlifting equipment, high-tech cardio machines, and more than 30 weekly classes. Elliptical machines assist in bouts of calorie singeing, and free weights tone muscles more efficiently than replacing one's hands with bowling balls. A full roster of classes includes Zumba, yoga, and interval-training sessions, and the brigade of seasoned certified personal trainers customize workouts, drawing from experience in such fields as running, health science, and bodybuilding. With onsite showers and a whirlpool, the gym helps workouts and relaxation fit into busy days.
At Santé Fitness & Wellness at the Chase Park Plaza, 18,000 square feet of space, an outdoor swimming pool, and an expansive schedule of fitness classes skim the surface of its lavish facility. Guests can take advantage of WiFi, personal TVs, upscale fitness machines, and protein shakes and beverages; personal trainers can plan private Pilates sessions and individual health coaching.
The trainers at The Boxing Gym help clients use their natural assets to get into shape: namely, two fists and a little bit of stress to take out on a punching bag. They splice their boxing and kickboxing lessons with calisthenics, push-ups, and jump roping, keeping the workout fast and varied, and always returning to combative techniques. Beyond the realm of fitness, they also help prepare fighters for the ring with MMA training in the form of submission-grappling lessons and full-speed, pad-assisted kickboxing.
The instructors at New Era Productions want more than to teach kids dance routines. They want to instill a solid foundation in dance theory and technique in their students while opening their eyes to the possibilities of dance. CEO and Artistic Director Zhanda Malone and her crew lead classes in styles such as ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and modern. They also specialize in Zumba fitness classes and wedding dance lessons for couples.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable fitness-focused members to improve their physical well-being with a cornucopia of equipment. With 24-hour access, prospective perspirers don't have to let The Man or a random street man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength equipment or top-of-the-line cardio equipment, which features TVs with cable and other media diversions. Today's Groupon includes an initial consultation and equipment orientation with a personal trainer and full access to all club facilities, including cardio and strength-training equipment. Even if you exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere will provide a refreshing change of pace from any meat-market gym or tough elementary schoolyard you've experienced. New members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations and a waived enrollment and orientation fee (a $49 value).