After losing 135 pounds, Spinderella Fitness owner Elizabeth Rodriguez was determined to inspire other women to seize control of their health and strive for the energy and confidence of the physically fit. She became a certified nutritionist and personal trainer before undertaking the study of a less conventional subject: pole dancing. Rodriguez struggled at first. She recalls that she "use[d] to go home in tears" of frustration. But 17 months later, she opened her own pole-dance fitness studio, and then a second one to meet the demand for her teachings.
Rodriguez's studios host more than two-dozen classes thanks to her collaboration with Melissa Fernandez—a trained dancer with a background in jazz, ballet, and hip hop—who helped broaden the curriculum. This collaboration has resulted in both high-energy, cardio-driven workouts as well as those inspired by salsa, Flashdance, and the sensual rippling of national flags.
Students who are serious about mastering advanced pole maneuvers progress through several levels. After mastering a pole routine at one level, they receive a colored thong to mark their graduation to the next. Pole climbing students repeat the process until they are certified black-thong dancers capable of disarming a kung fu master with the twist of a hip.
Since its inception in 1916, the YMCA of Greater Miami has opened its doors to whoever needed it. It welcomed African American youths during the Great Depression, hosted military personnel in the 1940s, and gave Cuban refugees a home in the 1960s. Today, it continues the tradition of depolarizing Miami's fractured populous, remaining a haven for people of all faiths, races, ages, and income. Staffers uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. YMCA of Greater Miami also raises much-needed funding for kids and families who can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
At the current locations, kids can leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to afterschool programs and day camps. Adults, meanwhile, can take Zumba, boot-camp, and aquatic fitness classes or work out within wellness centers replete with strength-training and cardio equipment. Adult basketball and indoor speed-soccer leagues further help guests flex their competitive spirits in an encouraging environment.
Rina Jakubowicz has played the roles of yogi, author, and motivational speaker, leading to media appearances on Spanish television and the Discovery Channel Latin America, as well as in the Miami Herald. At Rina Yoga, she leads an expert team of extensively trained yoga instructors, who tap their expertise in a variety of yoga modalities to guide students toward holistic well-being in a noncompetitive environment. Each location's seven-day schedule accommodates pupils of all skill levels with sessions including beginner-friendly hatha classes, power yoga, traditional Vinyasa, and dharma yoga, which fuses poses old and new to focus on relaxation and meditation. The studio also conducts frequent events and meditation retreats that use chanting and sympathetic whispers to soothe wild spirit horses. Rina’s Book, Choose Peace, is also a large part of the studio’s curriculum and appears during seminar discussions that cover healthy lifestyle choices and a 15-step guide toward peaceful transformation.
Jorge Perez lay on the gym floor, panting heavily and in a state of disbelief. He had years of athletic-training experience and certifications under his belt, but after one CrossFit workout, he felt like a train had hit him. Impressed by the innovative program and determined to improve as an athlete, Jorge continued on to perform countless CrossFit workouts after leaving the gym that day, eventually earning his certification as a CrossFit level-one trainer.
Jorge Perez now shares the CrossFit training methodology with students of all fitness levels at his own studio—BluePrint CrossFit - Doral. Towering ceilings loom over an expansive floor of free weights, pull-up bars, and resistance bands, where Coach J and his staff of fellow certified coaches lead high-intensity CrossFit and bootcamp workouts. Committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles outside the gym, they conduct free nutritional seminars and share healthy recipes to demonstrate proper eating habits and how to get a restraining order against Twinkies.
At first, Ken von Roenn III only saw yoga as a way to increase his flexibility for his true passion, climbing. Slowly, yoga began to eclipse climbing as his primary love. Now he?s a devoted practitioner and instructor, and his love has led him to create Skanda Yoga Studio?s namesake style. The Skanda yoga style hinges on posture and controlled breathing, much like Vinyasa yoga. However, Skanda augments these practical techniques with a holistic component: each Skanda session finds its spiritual footing in the Mayan Dreamspell calendar.
Sessions work to align participants? bodies with natural cyclical patterns found in this brand of Mayan mysticism that has proven more enduring than federal laws carved into stone with an exceptionally pointy Sharpie. Ken and his team of instructors offer classes outside their studio?s signature style, complementing their Skanda instruction with courses in modalities such as power yoga and Kundalini.
A gym designed exclusively for women, Lady of America offers its members accoutrements that coed gyms can’t. For starters, all of the weight-training equipment is sized for females and equipped with 5-pound weight increments, allowing for more useful adjustments than the typical machinery. Beyond the weight room, the open gym offers plenty of cardio machines, including treadmills, bikes, and elliptical trainers. In order to personalize workouts even further, members can also meet with one of the club's trained and certified personal trainers, or talk food with the onsite dietitian. When solo training starts to get lonely, the gym’s group fitness classes challenge muscles while building camaraderie during sessions such as Butt Lift, Step It Up, and Zumba. While members sweat, their children can play at the onsite daycare center— for an additional fee— stocked with plenty of toys and miniature Stairmasters.