Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
The certified instructors at PoleMoves invented a curriculum that's highly personalized in order to rectify the most common complaints about pole-fitness studios. They sort their students into clearly delineated levels for small group and private lessons, conducting regular assessments so that advanced practitioners need not repeat quizzes about which way is up. By devoting individual attention to their students, who each get their own 12.5-foot pole during class, they foster a supportive environment for shedding inhibitions.
The studio's courses cover basic pole-dancing techniques, the advanced inversions and tricks of METHOD classes, stretch-and-strengthen conditioning, and the meditative rhythms of NIA. During specialized workshops, instructors might demonstrate chair-dancing choreography or tips for aspiring teachers on planning their routines. The staff's mission is to highlight the legitimacy and accessibility of their gravity-defying art, and they've been recognized for doing so by the American Council on Exercise, AFAA, and the American Pole Fitness Association.
Regardless of dress size or dance background, each woman who enters one of The Secret Pole Dance Studios becomes a part of a supportive community. At both the original Culver City studio and the brand new Hawthorne location, instructors dish out compliments as they guide women through choreographed fitness routines, empowering dancers to overcome inhibitions and let loose along the way. During the Pole Diva and Sensual Movement classes, instructors also encourage camaraderie, occasionally breaking participants into groups and have them perform for one another. Though it may seem intimidating, this opportunity to show off in front of a nurturing audience provides students with the opportunity to build self-esteem.
In addition to boosting mental fortitude, the studio's sensual fitness routines also build physical strength; pole-dancing classes sculpt arms and cores, and chair-dancing classes firm up glutes, quads, and newly emerged dorsal fins. Classes unfold in the studios or on location, but the fun doesn't necessarily end once the imaginary bell rings; groups of gals can even reserve the spaces for private dance parties.
Old, tired, and done: these words are banished from Martha Weinstein's vocabulary. The energetic 87-year-old's career, which includes hosting makeover shows in Buenos Aires, recording a fitness album in the 1950s, and penning skincare encyclopedias in the 1970s, adds evidence to the adage that you are as young as you feel. She brings this belief to Body Allure Day Spa, an intimate beauty haven.
Here, Weinstein and her skilled staffers—who nicknamed her "The Oracle of Brentwood"—employ anti-aging facials and signature skincare services, detoxifying body treatments, and soothing lullabies to foster youthful complexions. But the real rejuvenating secret on the menu is the facial toning treatment, which Weinstein invented herself. This painless, 30-minute service utilizes nanocurrent technology, which works to stimulate cellular activity while strengthening facial muscles and firming sagging skin. Weinstein also created the Stay Young System, which allows her clients to perform the treatment in the privacy of their own homes or carpool lanes.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
Photographer Stuart Townsley uses a trained eye and high-tech equipment to capture memories into frameworthy prints and digital art, using 10 of LA's most attractive landmarks as backdrops. The famed local sites where he sets up camp—such as the roaring Pacific Ocean under Santa Monica Pier or the 1930s architecture and picturesque fountain of Union Station—elegantly complement subjects' smiling visages. His shutter snaps hundreds of times during each photo shoot, immortalizing the faces, poses, and secret handshakes of families and well-behaved pets. Well-versed in state-of-the-art retouching gear, Stuart unfurls his astutely edited creations onto glossy prints, canvases, and online albums.
Stuart's advice on what to wear and bring to shoots, garnered through 12 years of professional experience, conveniently resides online to aid in the selection of appropriate outfits for every mother, father, child, or hamster.