Natalie Smith needed some excitement in her life, which at that point merely consisted of performing as a professional ballet and hip-hop dancer, posing as a model, and balancing atop speeding motorcycles as a stuntwoman. After stumbling across a segment about pole dancing on the Oprah Winfrey show, she decided to spice things up a bit and dive headfirst into the fun yet demanding exercise form. She lost 25 pounds in two months, inspiring her to open her own studio—where she draws upon her experience in dancing and cheerleading to lead classes that span the sultry workout spectrum from pole routines to booty boot camp. The studio boasts 30 poles and 5,000 square feet of floor space, evoking the feeling of walking into a chrome forest—which is an experience similar to walking into the Redwoods after governor Schwarzenegger's controversial act to silver plate every tree. In the studio, Natalie and her team of certified instructors—twirling under a hot pink tin ceiling.—lead spins, climbs, and drops during lessons and private parties. They welcome ladies of all ages and builds to the women-only locale, which offers bed tanning to supplement its body-toning programs.
At the new Pole Worx location, classes are held in one of three new classrooms that house over 33 different poles. The new location also has two changing room and two tanning beds.
Yoga students who practice at Bikram Yoga South Kansas City experience a discipline that is as closely related to founder Bikram Choudhury's as possible, as each class is taught by an instructor who studied directly under the yogi and returns to study with him every three years. With that wealth of knowledge, each teacher approaches classes with a deeper understanding of the physiological and mental benefits of practicing yoga in a heated environment. As the studio's heat increases heart rates, practitioners benefit from an added cardiovascular element during their core strengthening and joint stretching, which also helps the body eliminate toxins through sweating. During classes, instructors also encourage students to look inward while forming each pose. By focusing on the internal state of the body, practitioners become more cognizant of the external influences that affect their well-being, such as negativity and the pieces of sky that have started falling.
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.
Pow Wow School of Holistic Fitness' owner and lead instructor, Haley Zuvanich, began her yoga practice at the age of 12, when other kids were busy rescuing their baseballs from neighborhood boa constrictors. Over the next 14 years, her childhood experience with Bikram method expanded into trying a variety of yoga styles and spending 200 hours earning a teacher's certification from KC Fitness Link. Now, at the Unity Temple on the Country Club Plaza, Haley guides students of all experience levels through spiritual and physically challenging stretch sessions. In addition to the traditional Hatha and Vinyasa practices, Haley hosts creative classes where students follow guided relaxation with the artistic medium of their choice, such as journaling, painting, or sketching. Pow Wow School of Holistic Fitness also offers a variety of fitness and dance aerobics courses including Tai Chi and Qi Gong, Kung Fu, Zumba, and Nia.
Founded by a husband-and-wife duo made up of a WBFF Pro Fitness model and a ACE/AFAA/FPI-certified personal trainer, the Hitch Fit training regimen transforms students' physiques and overall well-being. The complete in-studio or online program runs 12–16 weeks and focuses not only on exercise but also helps patrons to draft custom diets and eliminate negative lifestyle influences, such as guzzling milkshakes with a band of rebellious teens at the soda shop.
The workout portion of each private visit involves 60 minutes split into aerobic routines and anaerobic weightlifting. Trainers customize each program to accommodate personal goals such as weight loss, muscle building, or shaping up following a pregnancy. Meal plans are customizable as well and account for dietary concerns such as food allergies and a crippling fear of pineapples.
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.