A lifetime of sports training and competition?including four years as a Division I lacrosse player at Harvard?took its toll on Erin Cleary Cook's body. Even after graduating, strained muscles, tight tendons, and aching joints accompanied her whenever she tried to exercise. The one exception? Bikram yoga. The style's two breathing exercises and 26 active stretches challenged her strength, balance, and flexibility while also providing a cardio-intensive workout. After years of studies and training, she founded Bikram Yoga Main Line to share the benefits.
Experience doesn't matter at the studio, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on October 4, 2014. First-time visitors attend the same 90-minute classes as regulars, following the same sequence of standing and seated asanas. The stretches methodically engage major muscle groups and organ systems throughout the entire body in a sequence designed to push freshly oxygenated blood from head to toe. As an added challenge, the practice space is heated to 105 degrees with roughly 40% humidity. This intense heat boosts circulation and flexibility even further. Proponents also find the practice has a habit of improving concentration, self-control, and age-guessing skills. And now students will be able to exercise on new, state-of-the-art Forbo Flotex hardwood flooring. As a testament to its quality, the studio was included in Main Line Today's Best of the Main Line lists in 2011 and 2013.
The expert fitness instructors at Sweat Fitness's Philadelphia-area locations help students of all ages and fitness levels track down svelter silhouettes with Precor training equipment and fat-roasting classes—including yoga, Pilates, spinning, Zumba, and kickboxing. Committed to fostering a supportive community for all fit seekers, the trainers devote individual attention to each patron to help them meet their fitness goals. Clients first undergo a body-fat analysis to assess their preworkout fitness level and to help them gauge their progress throughout their journey. During group sweat sessions, patrons can tone their bodies in classes such as Group Power and Power Pump, which blast subdermal meat suits via squats, lunges, and curls. A full aquatics center welcomes guests to dive into relatively narwhal-free waters for swimming lessons, triathlon training, and pool parties.
Couture Laser & Skin’s founder and director, Dr. Anshul Gambhir, received his medical training at the renowned Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. With his team of aestheticians, he has performed more than 100,000 nonsurgical, cutting-edge cosmetic procedures, ranging from chemical peels to permanent makeup. To diminish wrinkles, he uses dermal fillers or CO2 lasers that resurface skin as they tighten it, and micro-incision liposuction allows him to sculpt and contour bodies without a single surgical stitch or shrink ray. He also harnesses the radiofrequency energy of the Thermage device and uses it to rebuild and remodel collagen, and he scares away unwanted hair with FDA-approved lasers.
With locations spanning the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, iLoveKickboxing.com has trimmed the waistlines of thousands of members while bolstering their confidence levels with engaging and varied total-body workouts. The program blends kickboxing techniques into a fat-burning, muscle-toning, and endurance-enhancing regimen. Limbs warm up with a quick jog before taking down imaginary opponents with a set of practice kicks and punches to drive home proper technique. The pummeling then switches to the one of many freestanding heavy bags, and incorporates ducking and weaving to boost heart rates. Teamwork drills help members tone up while cultivating camaraderie, which could lead to a partnership inspiring future buddy-cop-movie sensations.
Founded in 1914, the original New York City location of Sterling Optical doled out frames amid the Ford Model Ts and paperboys that swarmed the city's financial district. The original band of eyesight experts weathered years of economic depression by impressing customers with speedy, full-service vision care, later launching a second store near Washington, DC. Today, a century of steady franchise expansion has given rise to almost 200 store locations in 23 states. Most locations continue the tradition of offering one-stop optical services, giving customers access to exams and onsite labs that manufacture glasses in one hour. The spectacle provider has been named one of the nation's leading franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.
Starting in 1998 in the Philadelphia suburbs, the women behind Art of Exotic Dancing have strutted and hip-rolled their way to the forefront of a surge of interest in fun, sensual movement. Dedicated to fostering a comfortable space where all participants feel safe, the certified instructors proffer encouragement and reassurance as they teach dances that emphasize self-expression, personal power, and natural movement. Women learn to dance to a full song during the 90-minute CoreMoves class, while the Signature Workshop fortifies confidence via flirtatious techniques such as sensual walking and slow-motion winking.