The trainers at Pure Workout have stripped away the glamour of giant, impersonal gyms. They usher guests into a no-excuses zone where simple weights and calisthenics reign supreme, leading their classes with a potent mix of fitness expertise and tough love. Their routines vary, but each boot-camp session sparks friendly competition between attendees as they flip tires, heft weights, and sprint up hills. With no regard for noncommittal members who sneak helium into their kettlebells, the staff prizes Pure Workout's exclusive atmosphere—a quality that earned the gym a feature on NBC 5 and the title of CityVoter's Best Boot Camp in 2012.
In 2001, dancer Carrie Rezabek Dorr invited exercisers to join her in ballet-based workouts. Held in the basement of an office building without a staff, a sign outside, or even a bathroom, Carrie transformed her small business into a national franchise with locations in 33 states. Her Pure Barre system helps sculpt long, lean muscles. Using a ballet barre and isometric movements, the exercisers drastically shape areas such as the abs, hips, arms, and butt.
The enthusiastic instructors at local Yoga patiently coach aspiring yogis as they stretch torsos and reach toes sky-high in supportive group yoga sessions. Amid ivory walls and colorful accents, students vogue through fundamental asanas in Intro to Yoga classes, as the session-helming relaxation gurus eagerly impart expert tips and answer questions. To kick-start cardiovascular health, Power 2 classes sweep sinews through a fast-paced sequence of fluid Vinyasa poses, and Express Yoga loosens up taut muscles and rusty Leave It to Beaver lunchboxes during swift 45-minute sessions. Alternatively, pupils can gradually banish stress with Deep Flow classes, which nurture supple sinews with meditative, sustained poses that make The Thinker statue seem fidgety.
Sean Keil, the founder of Renaissance Movement LLC, discovered parkour at the ripe old age of 12. Eschewing his history as a professional dancer, he followed parkour full-force, traveling extensively to train with top parkour masters and even some of the inventors of the sport. Together he and his staff have developed a community in which they help students develop the necessary skills, both physical and mental, to practice the discipline of parkour in a safe environment.
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 multiple-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 500 calories with each go-round.
Studio Soiree takes the age-old art of pole dancing and supes it up with a bevy of core-training techniques. Certified instructors kick off pole education with an initiative course required of all beginners. In Intro to Pole, students learn how to safely maneuver on and around the pole while developing elementary dance moves. Five advancing course levels follow, each building toward an eventual masters degree in anti-gravitational gumption. Studio Soiree provides a welcoming environment for students of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels, and most classes are exclusively for women. Reservations are required, as admission is offered on a first-to-sign-up, first-served basis.