HitPLAYyoga.com is an online library of “Yogacasts,” streaming audio yoga classes taught by certified instructors all over the world. Believing that everyone should be able to access the transformative powers of yoga at any time, the founders of hitPLAYyoga.com bring yoga classes to those who may not be able to access or afford a studio practice.
HitPLAYyoga.com also has its own Empowerment Fund—a portion of every member’s hitPLAYyoga.com dues are donated to the Africa Yoga Project and the Yoga Vedanta Kutir Orphanage, both of which bring yoga to underserved and stressed areas.
GlucoFitClub acts a hub for overweight people who want to lose weight, with diabetes, or with pre-diabetes, drawing together different companies, products, and resources to assist in health and education. It partners with YMCAs across the nation to encourage those with diabetes to remain active, as the disease is exasperated by conditions that include high body-mass index and hypertension. Members with diabetes may also receive a glucometer that can upload their fitness-test results and blood-glucose levels to an online database, helping them become more knowledgeable about their own condition. Access to nutrition and diabetes classes at the Y educates members and helps them make good health decisions.
Joanna Cotta Leadbetter spent more than a decade as a ballerina, wowing audiences with feats of graceful athleticism. Now, as the founder and lead trainer at The Sculpt Barre, Leadbetter blends this passion for dance with fitness—drawing from different disciplines to create intense, low-impact workouts. Leadbetter and her instructors lead small groups through different intervals at the ballet barre, which allows exercisers to use their own body weight for resistance. Combined with stretches, these barre exercises promise numerous benefits, including increased strength, better posture, and enough flexibility to finally fit inside a piece of carry-on luggage.
Like a blacksmith at the anvil, the trainers at Extreme Pilates temper cores against the Reformer. Over the course of one hour, students leverage their own body weight on a system of ropes and pulleys to sculpt bodies with long, lean muscles. The workouts target abs to help students improve posture, straighten alignment, and protect their delicate caramel centers. After sweat sessions, patrons may take advantage of the spa-like facilities, which include showers and a steam room. An onsite nutritionist and massage therapist further foster relaxation and wellness, and the daycare staff preserves parents' sanity.
Fitness Elite For Women of Laguna Niguel creates an environment where women can gather to improve their lives through exercise and healthy living. To add variety to exercises, more than 19 fitness classes supplement the center’s state-of-the-art workout machines. Spinning classes can burn an average of 400 calories during a 40-minute ride, turbo kick classes build energy with kickboxing moves and music, and hatha yoga classes promote balance and flexibility with stretches and breathing exercises. Childcare services and personal trainers help members focus on improving their bodies and minds, and a steam room detoxes and relaxes after a long workout. To ensure patrons have access to a full range of wellness services, the fitness center also offers nutrition and weight loss management, massages, and skin care treatments.
For more than a decade, physical therapist Amy Fischer helped clients recover from a range of orthopedic and sport injuries. These days, she blends her knowledge of the body with her passion for Pilates at her two Pure Pilates studios—one in Laguna Niguel and the other in Ladera Ranch—each of which host regular classes alongside specialized sessions for golfers, breast cancer survivors, and moms-to-be.
Surrounded by tranquil Asian-inspired décor, Amy and her team of instructors guide students of all levels through private and group Pilates classes, which aim to strengthen core muscles while improving flexibility and posture. After being divvied up into Level 1 or Level 2–3 sections, students learn a variety of exercises on a reformer machine built from adjustable ropes, pulleys, and springboards reclaimed from the days of vaudeville. Amy and her team also offer slower-paced courses for seniors as well as physical therapy sessions that speed healing with modified Pilates exercises paired with a personalized at-home exercise program.
MyGym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 months) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. MyGym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.