Synergy Yoga holds small gatherings of passionate yogis as they stretch and build muscles in 1 of the 50 classes offered each week. Various styles of yoga, including traditional Hatha flow, focus on deep breathing, and more rigorous classes, such as hot core Vinyasa or hot power yoga, combine the sweat-inducing powers of a heated studio with moves that can makes tummies tighter than an elf's shoes on a pro basketball player.
A wrought-iron gate opens into an alley wall lined with bright verdant foliage and skinny trees. This greenery snakes onto a stone path, which leads to Synergy Yoga’s curved red doors. The first thing that hits visitors inside the yoga sanctuary is the color: mustard-yellow and two-tone green walls, red accents up the stairs, and crisp white moulding. The main studio swims with light filtered in from high windows set in the towering two-story ceilings, light that bounces off the white walls and cascades down to the wood flooring.
Focused on supporting the community, Synergy Yoga aims to include all walks of life. Kids' yoga invites youngsters to develop their flexibility, and very advanced yogis can turn their passion into a living with teacher training. Healing arts such as psychic medium reading, meditation, or massage soothe guests in need of some extra care.
After losing 135 pounds, Spinderella Fitness owner Elizabeth Rodriguez was determined to inspire other women to seize control of their health and strive for the energy and confidence of the physically fit. She became a certified nutritionist and personal trainer before undertaking the study of a less conventional subject: pole dancing. Rodriguez struggled at first. She recalls that she "use[d] to go home in tears" of frustration. But 17 months later, she opened her own pole-dance fitness studio, and then a second one to meet the demand for her teachings.
Rodriguez's studios host more than two-dozen classes thanks to her collaboration with Melissa Fernandez—a trained dancer with a background in jazz, ballet, and hip hop—who helped broaden the curriculum. This collaboration has resulted in both high-energy, cardio-driven workouts as well as those inspired by salsa, Flashdance, and the sensual rippling of national flags.
Students who are serious about mastering advanced pole maneuvers progress through several levels. After mastering a pole routine at one level, they receive a colored thong to mark their graduation to the next. Pole climbing students repeat the process until they are certified black-thong dancers capable of disarming a kung fu master with the twist of a hip.
An addiction. That’s what Cheryl Mullin, head trainer at Tone You Up, Inc., calls her relationship with fitness. Starting out as a dancer at the age of 5, she transitioned into cheerleading in high school and eventually track and field in college, where she fell in love with lifting, plyometrics, and circuit training. Ten years and three certifications later, Cheryl and her staff of dedicated trainers pass their passion on to others with their three pillars of training: fitness, nutrition, and overall health.
Groups sprint and lunge across Tropical or Palmetto Bay Park during intense, one-hour boot-camp classes, all while Tone You Up's trainers preach the components of a healthful diet, such as eating plenty of protein and vegetables and not using cake frosting as toothpaste. Some staffers motivate the campers through cardio and strength training in the great outdoors, and others lead in-home personal-training sessions. Each one-on-one or one-on-two session begins with a thorough body assessment and fitness test. Based on results, trainer and client discuss goals and map a total lifestyle program to help shed pounds or boost athleticism. Tone You Up also offers programs for small groups, including onsite boot camps for workers at schools and offices.
Since its inception in 1916, the YMCA of Greater Miami has opened its doors to whoever needed it. It welcomed African American youths during the Great Depression, hosted military personnel in the 1940s, and gave Cuban refugees a home in the 1960s. Today, it continues the tradition of depolarizing Miami's fractured populous, remaining a haven for people of all faiths, races, ages, and income. Staffers uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. YMCA of Greater Miami also raises much-needed funding for kids and families who can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
At the current locations, kids can leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to afterschool programs and day camps. Adults, meanwhile, can take Zumba, boot-camp, and aquatic fitness classes or work out within wellness centers replete with strength-training and cardio equipment. Adult basketball and indoor speed-soccer leagues further help guests flex their competitive spirits in an encouraging environment.
Though Suleiman Yousef's muscular arms, tattoos, and shaven head present a tough, masculine exterior, the professional mixed-martial-arts fighter maintains that his biggest influence was his mom. As a single mother raising three kids on her own, she still found the time to direct his boundless energy into athletics and enroll him in many different styles of martial-arts classes. Today, Yousef not only competes in professional MMA fights, but he also owns and operates Monsters Training Center, where he channels his athletic prowess to aid others in whipping into shape. Throughout the week, industry professionals lead martial-arts and fitness classes ranging from the grappling fighting techniques of Brazilian jujitsu to the high-intensity routines of boot camp. To start wee ones on a path to fitness, the center offers kids' martial-arts classes, which are designed to enhance kids' physical health and instill them with the confidence to handle bullies and impress future prom dates with their ability to crack lunch trays with a single karate chop.
Jorge Perez lay on the gym floor, panting heavily and in a state of disbelief. He had years of athletic-training experience and certifications under his belt, but after one CrossFit workout, he felt like a train had hit him. Impressed by the innovative program and determined to improve as an athlete, Jorge continued on to perform countless CrossFit workouts after leaving the gym that day, eventually earning his certification as a CrossFit level-one trainer.
Jorge Perez now shares the CrossFit training methodology with students of all fitness levels at his own studio—BluePrint CrossFit - Doral. Towering ceilings loom over an expansive floor of free weights, pull-up bars, and resistance bands, where Coach J and his staff of fellow certified coaches lead high-intensity CrossFit and bootcamp workouts. Committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles outside the gym, they conduct free nutritional seminars and share healthy recipes to demonstrate proper eating habits and how to get a restraining order against Twinkies.