Even as a kid, Julia Zammito was a fitness buff. As an adult, she's transitioned this passion into a career, becoming a trainer and a regular guest on TV’s Daytime. When she's not working on her own physical fitness or standing confidently behind a camera lens, she shares her experience and know-how during her intense, yet supportive, boot camps at Redington Shores Beach and Seminole City Park. Using her own booming voice or a bullhorn, Julia motivates her students to push themselves, personally calling them out by name when she can. She uses mini hurdles, coordination ladders, light dumbbells, and kettlebells to fortify her always-rotating workouts. She also incorporates calisthenics, which rely on the body's own weight as resistance.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The exotic-exercise instructors at Stiletto Fitness! tutor dance pupils in the fine art of provocative post-swiveling and other hip-twisting exercises in order to build strength, flexibility, and self-confidence. In the basic pole-dancing class, students master moves such as the step-around, the fireman, and the hook, then string them together to form rousing routines. Ladies can strut their stuff while reaching high enough to change light bulbs during the chair-dance class, and burlesque lessons let boa-wielders execute slinky steps with a host of glamorous accessories.
At Shapes Total Fitness for Women, the instructors strive to make working out as easy and fun as possible. That's why—in addition to providing access to free weights and cardio machines—they host more than 67 group training sessions per week, with options ranging from yoga to indoor cycling. That way, clients can get in shape using whatever means work best for them. Some of the eclectic classes have zero impact on joints, too—specifically the ones in the on-site pool. These include 45-minute water cardio classes and versatile aqua aerobics sessions, which are ideal for athletes with arthritis and other special needs. The most completely flexible workouts at the gym, however, are the personal training sessions. The one-on-one workouts are designed purely around the client's goals, whether she wants to lose weight or grow strong enough to carry her favorite dumbbell home with her.
In the Berkshires of Massachusetts, a large ashram community of yoga enthusiasts developed the Kripalu discipline of yoga over three decades of intensive practice. After studying the teaching techniques of Kripalu yoga, instructor Daniela Boesshenz guides others through the practice's meditative movements at Sramana Yoga.
Daniela builds each class around a sequence of postures that aims to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body, whether in simple level-one lessons or in level-two sessions that challenge students with more rigorous poses. On select days, Daniela leads less intense chair yoga classes for individuals with arthritis and heart conditions, and when the weather cooperates, she'll take classes outside to the beach so students can take in a sunset or the first steps of a recently evolved fish.
The ocean's ebb and flow guides yogis toward inner peace during Beach Yoga Pinellas's outdoor classes, where fresh air and Hatha poses dissolve stress naturally. Throughout the classes, downward-facing dogs scallop the sand as clouds drift across the horizon, tickling the sun and demanding the moon's lunch money. Suitable for beginners, classes are designed with basic poses that can be modified for different levels of fitness and skill. Instead of the typical yoga mats or magic carpets, students reach tranquility atop beach towels during Ashtanga-style sequences that synchronize deep breaths with graceful stretches, easing tension and increasing the body's range of motion. To bolster strength and balance, teachers pepper the routines with core-toning exercises and lengthy Iyengar poses that emphasize proper alignment.