Though she was a university-educated professional and a proud mother of two, Chantel Waite was troubled when she looked in the mirror. At 132 pounds, her healthy frame didn't mirror the picture-perfect bodies of women depicted in the media. Searching for a boost in self-image and esteem, Chantel took up a pole-dancing class and was immediately hooked. She marvelled at her fellow classmates—strong, full-figured women who appeared so beautiful and powerful as they danced. As she continued to practice the art form, she began to appreciate her own body, embracing the awareness that beautiful women come in every size.
Today, Chantel shares her newfound sense of empowerment with fellow women, conducting pole-dancing classes at her own private studio, Allure Fitness. Amid soft carpets and curtained mirrors, Chantel guides ladies of all sizes through twists and turns in workouts designed to enhance flexibility, tone muscles, and boost confidence. Chantel always begins each course by simply having her students practice walking in an uninhibited way, encouraging them to dispel prior insecurities with their bodies and sexuality. Through group classes and parties, Chantel aims to create a supportive community among her students, free of competition, judgment, or aggressive thumb-wrestling tournaments.
At each of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness’ locations, trained fitness instructors guide students through a seven-day schedule packed with yoga, boot camp, meditation, and TRX suspension training classes. The modern studios come equipped with infrared heated yoga rooms where students strengthen muscles during yoga poses as the specialized light aims to improve their skin tone and erase their cellulite. During TRX suspension training sessions, exercisers are suspended in the air by belts attached to the ceiling and use their own body weight to fight gravity. The classes are designed for all fitness levels and aim to build long, lean muscles and give guests a place to practice their levitation skills. The studio also schedules kids' yoga sessions designed to increase children’s confidence and provide full-body workouts.
Borrowing its name from an ancient symbol of spirituality and renewal, Iron Lotus Yoga houses an organic day spa where a licensed aesthetician directs holistic services that include full-body massage. The session sweeps sinews toward tranquility using organic Golden Moor mud oils with 30 minutes of coddling, the same amount of time it takes to cook a frozen pizza over a hot laptop battery. As muscles release tension, bodies may experience further benefits ranging from improved circulation to enhanced skin tone. The spa's interiors balance warm and cool colours inspired by the earth and sea, enfolding clients in a soothing atmosphere like a velvet teddy bear waiting for a hug.
Twenty-year horse riding veteran Alicia Harper and her staff of equine aficionados work together to create a comfortable environment where students can learn foundational riding skills. Their fleet of horses includes options for all levels and riders who are trained to compete in disciplines including dressage and show jumping. Focusing on safety, the staff offers lessons for casual riders interested in scenic strolls as well as more intensive instruction for those looking to compete. Regular theory workshops delve into the arcane aspects of caring for horses, and enthusiastic students are invited to help out around the barn, where they can learn about feeding, grooming, and losing gracefully to horses at games of canasta to keep their morale high.
Certified personal trainer Katelyn Brown first immersed herself into the fitness industry in 2008. Since then, she's trained clients privately, has led groups through sweaty boot camps, and has even worked with hockey players off the ice, coaching them how to walk in public without checking pedestrians into walls. At Perseverance Fitness, she puts this experience to use helming signature BootyCamp sessions—all-women fitness classes that use body-weight movements to tone troublesome areas such as the arms, core, and backside. Katelyn, who is also a certified TRX suspension-training ambassador, also captains TRX boot camps, which allow participants to perform hundreds of exercises by leveraging gravity against body weight with a series of specialized straps and bands.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.