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.
The LuvMud Benefit Event sends costumed sprinters charging and trudging along a 5K course riddled with mud, obstacles, and more mud in order to raise funds for Habitat for Hope, a nonprofit organization supporting the families of seriously ill children. Having grown each year since its inception in 2010, the annual race challenges individuals and teams to conquer tough terrain designed with varying levels of difficulty so as to accommodate participants of all fitness levels. Along the route, spectators gather to scout the action, and volunteers stand by to provide directions and tips, such as reminding racers not to eat any mud without sprinkling on a few blades of grass first.
After making it through the final, massive, 50-foot mud pit and crossing the finish line, finishers recharge their bionic legs with fruit, water, and snacks. Meanwhile, an all-day festival celebrates the occasion with live music and food vendors, and showering equipment supplied by the Memphis Fire Department cleans off any caked-on mud and sweat from the race. LuvMud also holds special races that allow participants’ dogs to join in the fun, as well as all-night camping events that include nighttime racing and live music.
The course designers behind the Mud Crusade know how to handle a physical challenge. Mark Chmura, a former Green Bay Packer; Chris Watts, a former US Marine Corps reconnaissance officer; Matt Peters, a former Los Angeles police officer and sniper; and John Thomas, a middle-aged dad and carpentry extraordinaire, devised the 5K course to test participants’ mettle by bombarding them with 18 obstacles, including barbed-wire crawls, climbing walls, and mud pits. Like Poseidon during a pillow fight, athletes tackle the course in waves, competing for bragging rights before heading to a rollicking after party drenched in mud, sweat, and good spirits. A portion of the race’s proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, which supports wounded troops and their families.
Located in a refurbished school, patrons have flocked for years to Singleton Community Center’s facility to take over 100 different classes in everything from fitness, to arts and crafts, to dancing, music, tutoring, drivers ed., cooking, and more. Guests can work up a solo sweat or gather in the group-exercise studio for fitness classes, which include yoga, Zumba, and bench aerobics.
The facility also offers a preschool for children ages 2 to 5. Singleton Community Center also offers arts and crafts classes, such as pottery. Click here for a full list of activities available.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
The inspiring trainers at MetaBody lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening Shaolin kung-fu class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.