With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
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.
The freshly redesigned 1,200-square-foot space at Gem Bodii sets students of all levels at ease as they shimmy, spin, and twirl toward leaner bodies and more confident selves under the watchful eye of instructors. Pole-anchored rooms with hardwood floors make a fitting space for bachelorette pole parties or a distracting place to study for bar exams. Small class sizes keep the setting comfortable, allowing students to perfect routines filled with tricks and spins that will please and amaze crowds.
Personal trainer Jamie Neal didn't like the stuffy, crowded atmosphere of larger gyms. So she began seeing her clients in their homes or at the community center, allowing them to bring their own motivational music and avoid mobbed treadmills. She hosts one-on-one and group workouts as well as boot-camp programs, some of which include nutrition plans, shopping lists, and regular evaluations of each student's progress.
Equipment: Yoga mat, bolster, straps, blocks, eye pillows
Students should bring: Yoga mat, towel, and water
Average class length: 60–90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Have fun and be open minded.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
If you have never taken a yoga class before, start with a beginner or intro class to learn the poses, breathing, and language of yoga. Once you feel comfortable, take an intermediate level class. Yoga is not about impressing others; it's about making your inner self happy.
When and how did you first develop a passion for fitness?
I was a dancer and gymnast as a child, but I started practicing yoga in 1997 in my college dorm room. Every time I practice yoga, I feel alive and capable of taking on any challenge. It keeps me focused and calm throughout the day. I can see how it helps children to be more calm, and it's a great way to get your kids active, creative, and flexible.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We offer Mommy Baby Yoga for Mommy's with babies that are not yet walking. We also have kids' yoga classes for children ages four to seven, and family classes for parents with kids that are walking to four years old.
Karen Nicholas knows firsthand the struggle of trying to fit fitness into a daily routine. In fact, her own personal-training certification was delayed by a new development in her personal life—pregnancy, to be exact. Now a busy mom, the namesake of Karen Nicholas Personal Training LLC helps other busy clients keep in shape with flexible exercise options. Whether she fits in a personal-training session before your morning meeting or invites you to bring baby along to Stride and Ride stroller fitness class, Karen never fails to accommodate any schedule.