The certified yoga instructors at Dharma Yoga Studio align stances in beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes, operating under the spiritual guidance of Sri Dharma Mittra, a man who has devoted more than 50 years to the ancient practice. A schedule packed with 26 weekly classes woos beginning posers with a yoga basics course, as well as restorative and gentle sessions where pupils master easy asanas using props such as blocks, inflated balls, and sequined top hats. Students seeking further advancement can manipulate bodies in the Dharma yoga series, which gradually intensifies from the balancing, stretching, and inverted poses of Dharma I to highly advanced, two-hour Dharma IV sessions. The advanced Dharma IV class guides partakers through a meditative psychic sleep that incorporates ancient breathing practices, sound, and supersensory games of Guess Who.
Planet Fitness embodies a judgment-free zone where guests of all ages and fitness levels can sculpt their physiques with myriad aerobic and strength-training options within a friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere. Patrons may tone and strengthen muscles by pushing and pulling the extensive selection of brand-name equipment and free weights. With the help of an instructor, guests can design a custom workout program based on exercise history to help them achieve their varying fitness goals. Thirty-minute small-group classes concentrate on strengthening and toning specific body parts, and full-body circuit workouts.
Signature service: Dance Classes
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Pro Tip: Wear loose clothes, hair up, and black socks or clean sneakers if you don't have dance shoes. Have fun.
After Brian Ayers earned his degree in fitness management and went to work in a corporate fitness setting, he discovered a new kind of training—one that involved challenges such as boxing, mud races, and obstacle courses. "I moved away from using machines and dumbbell exercises to exercises that will get people in shape for more athletic things," he says. In June 2011, he decided to open a studio dedicated to the philosophy of embracing challenge, and Rugged Fitness was born.
Traditional machines do not exist at Rugged Fitness. Instead, there's plenty of space for boot-camp workouts, a pull-up area with TRX bands, and 11 heavy bags for boxing classes, which never exceed 11 pupils. Outside, giant tires patiently wait to be lifted and flipped, and an obstacle course with monkey bars, army-crawl netting, and a climbing wall dares visitors to push themselves to their limit. During the interval-based boot camps, students might heft sledgehammers one minute and drop for pushups the next. Because activities focus on increments of time, rather than specific weights or numbers of reps, everyone can calibrate the exercises to their ability level. And the students do have a range of abilities—some are fitness aficionados, whereas others are complete beginners, and one student dropped more than 100 pounds.
To challenge and encourage students, Brian gathered a staff of experienced coaches, which includes a former professional boxer and an amateur mixed-martial-arts fighter. "Our coaches are all very hands-on," he says, "Everything they they're putting you through, they've done. It's not just someone sitting back with a cheeseburger telling you to do pushups." That spirit of camaraderie extends throughout Rugged Fitness's clientele. "You're all struggling through these crazy workouts we're going to put you through," Brian says. Even outside the gym, members frequently band together to complete mud runs, obstacle courses, and marathon Macarena sessions.
To supplement the classes—which include kickboxing, kettlebell conditioning, and the once-a-week Rugged Boot Camp challenge—the trainers offer one-on-one nutrition counseling. An online nutrition program helps steer guests toward healthier diets, analyzing what they're eating based on the calories, nutritional components, and number of Flintstone vitamins hiding in foods.
Cheshire Pilates Studio's diamond-sculpted fitness experts employ the principles of stability to tighten torsos on both mat and machine. During five one-hour core-strength Pilates classes, core constructors will harness their own body weight in a series of slow-moving posture changes designed to center the body and tone muscles. Props, such as the arc barrel, flex band, Joseph Pilates's hairpiece, and more, enhance the midriff manipulations by increasing the solidity and exactitude of the movements.