Women needn’t feel intimidated by anything—especially exercise, according to Kelly Kohler, the 17-year fitness instruction veteran who helms Totally Kickin’ Fitness. At this female-focused studio, ladies work out in small groups as a seasoned instructor demonstrates moves and doles out tips and encouragement. Students of all fitness levels are welcome, from brand-new exercisers to those who can outrun a cheetah while carrying a bag of rocks.
Classes range from kickboxing routines filled with punches and kicks to total-body workouts teeming with resistance bands and bodyweight exercises. To help women build confidence as they burn calories, Kelly leads sensual dance classes that pair sexy struts and pole-based maneuvers with elements of yoga, Pilates, and low-impact aerobics. These moves can also be taught in private or during fitness-themed parties complete with decorations, invitations, and a gift for the guest of honor.
The studio’s one-on-one programs revolve around custom workouts with a fitness trainer. Those trying to shed pounds in a healthy way can enroll in a custom weight-loss program filled with nutritional supplements, education, and more support than a corset made of get-well cards.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.
Ancient Himalayan singing bowls and the calming tone of a gong envelop The Conduit Center’s space as individuals lie comfortably on pillows and blankets, letting the deep vibrations and soothing sounds lull them into a deep meditative state. These sound-meditation concerts are just one aspect of the center’s meditation services, which are designed to create a state of effortless relaxation for each participant. Guests can also opt for vibrational sound massage and singing-bowl sessions, both of which use vibration and sound to calm the entire body while boosting mental focus, helping the body heal while making ordinary soup bowls seem sadly inadequate.
In addition to meditation, the center conducts yoga, tai chi, and qigong classes that are both challenging and accessible to all levels of participants. Complimentary herbal teas, massage therapy, and individual or marriage counseling are also offered as part of the center's goals to create a tranquil environment where each individual can quell anxieties and start a personal journey of self-exploration.