Sequestered from the fitness studio, cardio room, and kid center at St. Julian's Fitness, a quiet room plays host to massage therapy. Here, a duo of licensed massage therapists—Bethany Kovach and Ryan Debelak—improves muscle health with soothing hand movements. Both Bethany and Ryan possess the know-how to induce relaxation with gentle Swedish strokes, relieve chronic pain with firm deep-tissue kneads, and target areas of tension with a sports massage. However, Bethany alone practices Thai-yoga massage, which is performed on the floor without lotion, oil, or ranch dressing. Massage therapy is available without a gym membership, and guests are welcome to enjoy a 15-minute Jacuzzi session prior to each appointment.
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.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn up to 500 calories with each go-round.
Mark Chenoweth's first picture was done the old-fashioned way: he loaded film into a 35-millimeter camera, snapped the picture, and developed it himself. That was two decades ago, and he's been working as a professional photographer ever since, preserving cherished moments at weddings and conducting senior-portrait shoots.
The technological advantages of today's cameras make them much more user-friendly than the one responsible for Mark's maiden photograph, but many casual photographers don't use their equipment to its fullest potential. Mark founded Fotoskool to help less experienced photographers better understand the trade with a trio of classes designed for beginners and intermediates learning to wield a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera. The Fotoskool Basics class edifies beginners about the fundamental precepts of DSLR operation, such as how to hold the camera and adjust shutter speed. More experienced pupils can enlist in the Fotoskool Next Level class, which focuses on working cameras in manual mode, or the Fotoskool Edit class, during which they will learn to lighten or darken pictures, change file formats, and remove the silver splotches left by poltergeists in the background.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett 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. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. 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.
Artist Mike Buszuwski wanted to create “an inspirational place for kids to come and explore art.” Thus, Painting Fun Spot was born. He and his artistic staff equip artists of all ages with all the necessary supplies—nontoxic, USA-made plaster pieces, paints, sealants, and paintball guns—to create colorful sculptures in a relaxed, kid-friendly studio complete with booster seats and pint-sized aprons. Vibrant walls and an undersea mural inspire creativity during studio time, summer camps, and parties and help budding artists bestow blank plaster canvases with hand-painted masterpieces.
Painting Fun Spot also hosts painting fun art classes, during which instructor Tonya Warnke Buszuwski, a professional artist with works in collections throughout the U.S., instructs adults in the finer points of pigment placement. She leads students step by step through a selected canvas work, capturing the tranquility of an impressionistic Tuscan countryside, the bold hues of a cross, or a trio of tulips playing poker with a basset hound.