Pick up a copy of Boise Weekly, flip open the Idaho Statesman, or tune in to Boise State Public Radio, and you might catch Ophidia Studio’s owner, Allison Holley, spreading the gospel of pole dancing. "It feels fun," she told Boise State Public Radio's Scott Ki. "It's kind of like playing on a jungle gym, and adults don't get that chance." Along with a coterie of experienced instructors, Allison casts off the bad rap of an activity that she says some see as "demeaning or degrading" in pole-dancing classes that build fitness and self-confidence in a playful atmosphere. Inside a hot-pink studio peppered with stationary and spinning poles, Allison and her crew walk students of all levels through a number of creative pole-dancing moves, beginning with spins and working up to inversions, choreography routines, and ceiling-fan impersonations.
Their expertise doesn’t stop there, though. The instructors also offer an arsenal of other sensual classes such as belly-dancing, hoop dancing, poi fire dancing, and Curvesque, which helps whittle waists and define the feminine form through fluid, dance-inspired movements. They also offer the more-traditional fitness classes of Zumba and body blast, along with yoga and its elevated counterpart—aerial yoga, which suspends students in a fabric sling hung from the ceiling.
Under the guidance of new ownership, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio?up to 105 degrees?makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
At Warrior Fit Body Boot Camp, nationally certified trainer Darrin Walton uses metabolic-training techniques to help clients get fit and svelte as quickly as possible. His classes revolve around high-intensity intervals and circuits, which often include kickboxing moves, bodyweight exercises, and battling-rope drills. Many workouts emphasize Tabata training, in which participants rest briefly between intervals to rev up their metabolisms for up to 48 hours. During each class, Darrin exudes enthusiasm and cultivates a supportive vibe among students of all skill levels. He also charts students' body composition to keep them motivated as they watch their fat levels drop, their muscles bulk, and their pecs lay eggs and multiply. A collection of online tools—including a goal tracker, a meal planner, and a nutrition learning center—helps students cultivate healthy habits outside the classroom.
Coos, gurgles, and tiny handclaps form a soundtrack for Stroller Strides classes, one-hour sessions that are part play group and part workout, helping moms and tots forge friendships as they build strength, coordination, and flexibility. Certified instructors lead intervals of power walking and toning exercises that sculpt the entire body more effectively than bench-pressing babies. Workouts incorporate easy-to-use tools such as resistance bands and the strollers themselves, as well as environmental elements such as hills and trees during warm weather. Classes welcome moms of all fitness levels and babies who are 6 weeks old or who can grow a full beard. Stroller Strides also develops online resources to help moms connect with one another and work out in their homes.
Muscular instructors help exercisers of all fitness levels slim silhouettes and chisel muscles with motivating boot camps, one on one personal training, and fat-evicting nutrition plans. During boot camps, a certified fitness coach draws on more than 15 years of experience to build up bodies with a series of high-intensity interval and metabolic resistance training. The encouraging trainer conducts a symphony of grunts as students strain to lift sandbags and tires within the indoor gym before hitting the fresh air to hurdle over motionless freeze-tag players and other outdoor obstacles. They’ll also compliment their rigorous workout regimes with nutrition guidance that equips students with grocery lists and recipes that ensure balanced meals.
The Experience Dance & Fitness's instructor and owner Amanda Eames—a certified personal trainer and Zumba instructor—has developed rock-solid dance technique throughout her 20 years of dance training. Her skill and creativity blossomed under the instruction of such industry masters as Mia Michaels and Debbie Reynolds. Now, she and her staff help adults and little ones hone dance skills and shape up muscles through a diverse roster of group exercise and dance classes, which include cardio conditioning, Zumba, and core-strengthening Pilates. Kids’ dance classes foster a healthy lifestyle in little toe tappers as they learn such important techniques as leaps, shuffles, and the funky chicken.