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.
Doug Schwaberow was sick of the personal-training industry—the repetitive exercise programs, the competition between trainers, and the outdated, even dangerous techniques he saw some trainers using. So he decided to open Achieve Fitness as a better alternative for fitness and sports conditioning. He took a hands-on approach to designing each program, from two types of boot-camp classes to semiprivate fitness sessions. He and his team also lead Sports Performance training for kids from third grade to high school, helping them become stronger, more agile, and less prone to injuries.
Captained by experienced shutterbugs David and Karla Banks, Banks Photography imbues students with tricks of the sharpshooting trade. Hands-on classes taught by the photographers prep apprentices for real-life portrait sessions or encounters with natural wonders such as wildlife or flowers. The Banks also apply their expertise to photo-snapping services, travelling to weddings, engagements, and graduations to immortalize the moment when newlyweds cut the cake or a daughter hurled her graduation cap into orbit.
My Gym’s nurturing fitness experts coach classes that help make fitness enjoyable and promote positive self-image for kids ranging from 6-week-old dumplings to 13-year-old sprouts. The Little Bundles course begins the adventures for the youngest age set, featuring introductory stimulation, baby-safe rides, and parental discussion on appropriate development and whose infant can do the best burrito impression. Parental involvement continues during the series of three age-appropriate classes for tykes up to 3.25 years, which involve interactive songs, choreographed dance, and puppet shows at the spacious facility. Older children attend sessions independently, sliding on scooters, tumbling on mats, and learning to swing on the parallel bars while eating bananas handed out by the monkeys that emerge from the wall mural when no adults are looking. Lifetime membership lasts until age 13, and unlimited free play lets youngsters burn off energy during unstructured frolicking.
At GoYoga, certified instructors welcome students of all skill levels by demonstrating modifications that make poses easier for beginners or trickier for veterans. During Flow Fundamentals classes, they gently adjust alignment as students build strength and release stress with basic poses. Deep breaths power full-fledged Flow routines, which revolve around graceful Vinyasa sequences that more closely resemble dance steps. In addition to hosting beat-driven Groove sessions, the studio holds many types of classes inside an 85-degree room, which ousts toxins and allows muscles to feel as limber as a freshly massaged puddle.
Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.