When the Richmond Alternative Center for Health first opened its doors in 1968, it was meant to be a space where members could attend to every area of their health and fitness. More than four decades later, the center is still committed to that vision. Much of the staff has been around for 15 years or more, creating a tight-knit, welcoming environment that has many people calling them the Cheers of health clubs.
There's plenty of traditional cardio and strength-training equipment, with TVs and wandering minstrels to keep everyone entertained. The bustling class schedule includes Zumba's Latin-inspired aerobic dance party, various styles of yoga, and Les Mills classes, including the sports-inspired BodyAttack. Students can continue to stretch, relax, and meditate within the dedicated mind-body room or hone mind-ball coordination on the basketball or racquetball courts. Personal trainers help members focus in on their individual goals and commit to making progress.
The staff offers wellness consultations to help members evaluate every area of their health, as well as nutrition counseling that can include anything from meal planning to cooking classes. Massage therapists knead away stress and postworkout soreness, and the heat of the cedar sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi also helps bodies unwind. In the lounge area, free WiFi, newspapers, and magazines wait to be appreciated. And the onsite Healthy Cafe blends up smoothies alongside healthy meals and coffee, which members can enjoy right there or take home to share with health-conscious ghosts.
Sara Wagner and the instructors at Studio Fit believe that fitness should be fun. They know that the only way exercisers will stick with a program is if they enjoy it, so the studio has collected a roster of upbeat, energetic classes such as Zumba, kickbox conditioning, and barre fitness to keep guests entertained.
Kids and parents alike can improve their dance moves and lose weight at International Fit Dance, where adults can sweat off pounds in Zumba and body sculpting sessions. Kids' classes include ballet, modern, and choreography sessions divided into different age groups such as 5-7 or 8-13.
Tammy of Believers Fitness is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with experience in a range of fitness modalities. She specializes in a little bit of everything, from Zumba and Pilates to kickboxing and boot camps. She also leads R.I.P.P.E.D. classes that focus on resistance, intervals, power, plyometrics, and endurance. Tammy is passionate about helping individuals of all fitness levels, and she can also design workout plans for organizations such as businesses and churches.
Great Play's myriad classes, activities, and programs operate with a single focus in mind: to spark kids’ passion for physical activity. Inside its interactive arena, the walls' projector screens, sensors, and directional sound system allow kids to "break bottles" and limbo on beaches during noncompetitive games and activities—all while boosting their motor and athletic skills. An upbeat staff monitors the arena's playing field and adheres to the SCORE training method, which teaches youngsters how to swing a baseball bat, bribe slam-dunk-competition judges, and trap a soccer ball by breaking each skill into a series of positively reinforced smaller steps.
The Great Play staff also hosts special events, tailoring birthday parties to birthday kids’ likings. Parents Night Out events, on the other hand, let caregivers drop off their children for a supervised evening of playing in the gym, feasting on pizza, and catching G-rated flicks on a 100-square-foot screen.
At Creative movement's spacious studio, sunlight streams onto the hardwood floors as certified instructors lead adults and children through tap, ballet, jazz, and lyrical dance classes, as well as Vinyasa-style yoga sessions. Upbeat Zumba classes incorporate easy-to-follow cardio movements done to hypnotic Latin rhythms, while the Tiny Tots class gets little kids interested in the fun and physicality of dance. With morning and noon-time yoga classes, Creative movement is a rewarding place to get a great workout without having to spend your lunch break chasing the office bullies who took your sandwich.