Registered dietitian Abby Herrick takes a holistic approach to nutrition, meaning she's less concerned with how many calories her clients ingest and more concerned with their overall lifestyle. Her philosophy shapes the services at Your Wellness Element, which include weight loss programs, detoxes, and health coaching. Herrick, who is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer to boot, also schedules yoga classes and personal training sessions, which can be conducted in the client's home or hers.
At Z Total Body, trainers lead energizing and up-tempo workouts that help clients burn calories, lose weight, and sleep easy at night. Members select from a diverse menu of group fitness classes that range from traditional cardio and abdominal workouts to inventive classes that integrate trampolines, belly dance, or hula-hooping. Instructors also build brawn via interval resistance training and muscle-confusion classes and Wild Card Workouts, which blend cardio and muscle training with full-contact card games of Crazy Eights.
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' two-time 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 off up to 600 calories with each go-round.
Though they are all licensed to lead group workouts, the instructors at ZPower Fitness feel more like party hosts. That's because their Zumba classes evoke the club rather then the gym—they combine modern, energetic music with dance moves that anyone can learn. Guests shimmy along to the beat during regular Zumba classes and incorporate maraca-like hand-weights into the choreography during Zumba Toning classes. For those who aren't in the dancing mood, the teachers offer R.I.P.P.E.D. classes that focus on building muscle. Owner Emily Cook-Willis, a certified personal trainer, can also schedule one-on-one sessions that target specific goals.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
St. Louis Fitness Boot Camp's creator and head trainer, Johnny King, knows how hard it can be to start working out. Enormous corporate gyms seem designed to intimidate the new exerciser, and the workout genies trapped inside at-home DVDs can only offer motivation after they’ve been put in the player. That’s why he made it his mission to design an exercise program geared toward beginners, providing a low-stakes introduction to training and plenty of positive motivation.
He constructs easy-to-follow circuit training routines that alternate between working the lower body, core, and upper body, relying on the combination of exercises over time to whip bodies into peak shape. His small groups of trainees often encourage one another and help keep one other accountable to exerting their maximum effort during routines. Within the climate-controlled facility, exercisers shed sweat and pounds on spring-loaded floors that ease impact on joints. To supplement the workouts, he and the trainers provide nutritional counseling and even emotional counseling, gently reminding each student why they chose to start working out.