With all the emphasis placed on high-powered fitness equipment nowadays, it’s hard to believe that our great grandparents stayed in shape before the advent of electricity. Of course, the prevalence of agrarian labour and tyrannosaurus rexes made sure they remained in peak physical condition. The certified personal trainers at Peninsula CrossFit strive to replicate the simplicity of these earlier times by replacing complex machines and equipment with intuitive instruments and functional exercises.
Before each session, men and women alike gather to view the day’s routine, which the instructors usually scrawl on a black wall with chalk. The warehouse-like facility keeps things simple with straightforward gear, including free weights, medicine balls, and chin-up bars. An outdoor area also allows groups to bolster heart rates and chase down rogue tractor tires during running drills.
Odyssey Health & Fitness Centre's staff of personal trainers and kinesiologists understands it's hard to keep fitness goals when juggling a full schedule, which is why their facilities are open 24 hours a day and armed with high-tech security systems. Experienced instructors lead classes ranging from Spinning to power yoga, and those who want to sweat to iPod tracks of their own mother's heartbeat can jam out on stair climbers, rowing machines, and treadmills stationed near 50-inch plasma TVs. To complement exercise regimens, the Sports Nutrition Advisor teaches healthy eating habits, imparting students with the ability to weave with ease through the winding world of nutritional-chart hieroglyphics and toppling food pyramids.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's centre, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
On paper, Bikram yoga looks intense. Each class lasts 90 minutes, takes place in a heated studio, and includes a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises. But you don't have to be a seasoned yoga practitioner to give the workout a whirl. Wendy Crowther and her staff at Bikram Yoga Sidney welcome students of all experience levels to their classes. That means nearly anyone can experience the benefits of Bikram yoga, which include weight loss, reduced stress, and sweating out all that gross water trapped in your body.
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Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers?with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers?are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.