Located in Matthews, Scott Shields Martial Arts Academy offers instruction in martial-arts disciplines such as jujitsu, jeet kune do, and muay thai. With fitness-kickboxing classes and programs for kids and adults alike, the experienced instructors at this light-filled studio not only help clients burn calories and build muscle but also teach them discipline and self-respect. All classes introduce students to self-defense moves; they then learn to grapple, punch, and kick with efficiency as they gain strength and confidence.
Evolution packs its exposed-brick walls with certified personal trainers, state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment, and a kaleidoscope of heart-pumping fitness classes. During the two one-hour personal-training sessions, muscle mavens help bodies reach their health and fitness goals with customized workouts aimed at weight loss, sports-specific endurance, or other athletic aspirations (each a $75 value). With a two-week membership, sweat seekers can sample dozens of group exercise classes such as power yoga, martial arts, kettlebell fundamentals, and intermediate levitation (a $50 value). While skeleton husks sweat off spare tires on the treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, flat-screen televisions keep brains distracted from thoughts of seceding from the body.
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Growing up in a family of competitive wrestlers, Quinn Reynolds paved her own road away from the sport. She diverted from her father and brothers by pursuing swimming, ballet, and soccer, the latter of which won her a scholarship to the University of Illinois. When she began hot yoga, however, she realized that she was destined for a career on the mat after all. She completed her certification and brought her flexing expertise to Arrichion, a training facility for wrestlers and mixed martial artists where her specialized classes challenge yogis and help to round out the workout routines of seasoned athletes—including the wrestlers on her dad's team.
In class sessions named after different gemstones, Quinn and her team of instructors emphasize approachability and sound technique. They refrain from potentially distracting practices such as chanting or applying mascara to third eyes during the purposeful flow sequences and core-tightening stretches. The hybrid Tiger's Eye class even begins with a fighter's circuit-training component, lending credence to the gym's claim that "real fighters do yoga."
Helmed by Doug Brafford, who has more than 30 years of martial arts training, Ultimate Gym teaches its members with a deep authority and pool of expertise. They guide clients through efforts to build muscle, improve self-defense skills, and increase their self-confidence with a wide variety of fitness classes. A skilled team of trainers and teachers draws from training ranging from invitation-only jiu-jitsu circles to hundreds of hours of aerial-silk instruction. They leverage that surfeit of experience to help students hone their minds and bodies through functional Qi Gong, or the cardio and strength-training of a boxing regimen.
Between the gritty brick walls of the lofty gym space, the staff teaches students the diverse selection of drills, kicks, and blocks movements. These practices range from the hyper-accurate kicks and knee-strikes of Muay Thai to Russian Systema's weapon disarming, spatial awareness, and physically exhausting literary masterpieces.