While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Pedals spin furiously at Gunz Fitness as Mad Dogg–certified instructors lead variations on spinning routines. They incorporate weightlifting and yoga into cycling classes that can accelerate metabolism, build lean muscle, and strengthen lungs so much that they can breathe normally when submerged in pudding. With personalized tips for every guest, the teachers ensure that everyone moves at a comfortable pace.
Snap Fitness's easyFIT monitor is a small, clip-on accelerometer that helps keep track of daily exercise. Unlike pedometers that merely measure steps and spy on daydreams, the easyFIT monitor senses the intensity and duration of physical activity, transmogrifying those stats into simple, numerical points that help assess activity levels from sedentary to peak performance. In addition to tracking exercise in real time, easyFIT monitors can connect to the wearer's personal web portal to upload data and create fitness graphs that help show progress, snag exercise suggestions, and stave off the temptation of living next to a hamburger farm. Watch a video about the easyFit here.
Many are familiar with the saying "Love what you do and do what you love," but few actually live it. When Missy Steed discovered massage therapy, she finally found the thing that made her truly happy: making others happy. A graduate of the Dayton School of Medical Massage, Missy is well versed in most of the classic treatments, including relaxation, deep-tissue, and cold-stone massage. Additionally, she is also a certified infant massage instructor who leads classes that teach parents how to pamper their little ones at home. These classes, and the subsequent treatments lavished upon the lucky kids, can have numerous benefits. They promote bonding between parents and children and also relax infants after a long day of refusing to eat or arguing with the cat about whose tiny sweater is cuter.
Inside Prodigy Training Center's state-of-the-art facility, rows of weight-training equipment and a turf training area form the venue for all manners of pulse-pounding workouts. Here, seasoned fitness coaches push their students to the limit as they help them shed pounds and build overall strength and endurance. In addition, the studio conditions minds and muscles during several self-defense classes, including Krav Maga, jujitsu, mixed martial arts, and wrestling.