Nobody should have to suffer through a workout, say the fitness pros who helm Studio Thrive. So, to make exercise as enjoyable as possible, they design group classes that are fun, social, and suitable for all skill levels. Most instructors bring an extensive dance background to the classroom, filling classes such as Zumba and TRX. Personal-training sessions often center on functional-training tools such as TRX suspension straps and kettlebells, both of which foster flexibility and core strength. In addition to designing highly customized workouts, certified personal trainers perform body-composition analyses and fitness assessments to track their clients' progress.
When they're not leading classes or personal-training sessions, Studio Thrive's staffers host private Zumba parties in the spacious studio, lined with oversize mirrors, a polished wooden floor, and a cobalt-blue ceiling. Upon request, they can also bring Zumba sessions to offices, apartment buildings, or painfully quiet libraries.
What began in 1975 as one inner-city gym in Highland Park, Michigan, has since evolved into a global health-club organization with locations in 17 different countries. Powerhouse Gym equips weightlifters and cardio bunnies alike with all they’ll ever need to keep—or create—a tight and toned physique. The gym offers equipment outfitted with personal TVs as well as a cast of certified and knowledgeable personal trainers. Depending on location, members will also have access to group fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills BodyPump, as well as 24-7 turnkey access to the facility.
When the Douglas J Aveda Institute opened in Knoxville in 2011, it joined a family of institutes and salons that Douglas Weaver started in the 1960s. Here, Aveda students pursue certification in cosmetology and esthiology while practicing their craft on real clients under the supervision of licensed educators. And because students perform the services, the rates are lower than at traditional salons. The Knoxville treatment menu includes hair design—cuts, color, retexturizing—as well as Aveda’s Elemental Nature facials, pedicures, and manicures.
The Institute is inside the historic S&W Grand building, a handsome art-deco landmark that, like a compassionate fairy-tale prince, is equally handsome on the inside. The spa rooms have a rustic balance of exposed brick and wood paneling, and the salon’s geometric light fixtures gleam upon checkerboard tile floors and industrial shelving lined with Aveda’s signature products.
Upon entering Go Cycle Studios, it might feel like you’ve accidentally walked into a club: hip-hop, rock, and dance music streams from the expansive sound system, reverberating off the exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors. The cycling and fitness center’s owners, Jimmy and Lisa, use this atmosphere to set the mood, but they’re serious about exercise. They and the other instructors tailor spin classes and other fitness programs to challenge riders of all levels, from beginners to those who want to work up to jumping a police barricade. Under their instruction, riders sweat astride Keiser stationary bikes, each outfitted with monitors that display RPMs, heart rate, approximate calorie burn, and miles covered. Before or after class, students can head to the back patio to sip coffee in the fresh air or furtively discuss ways to hasten the comeback of handlebar streamers.
Yogi Jason Schramm, inspired by the daily struggles of the city he loves, named his yoga school in its honor. Within the school’s three locations, he draws upon more than 10,000 hours spent teaching to show students how to find inner peace and use it to effect change. The instructors use ancient yoga poses to propel pupils inward, and Schramm lets subtle influences from his martial arts training shine through in some courses. Ashtanga classes summon sweat with vigorous poses that build strength and flexibility, and Vinyasa techniques weave movement, stillness, and deep breathing into a fluid sequence that changes daily.