After obtaining a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology, Kristen Nicole Hall seemed destined for a medical career. But after 14 years of competitive cheerleading and gymnastics, she couldn't shake the desire to share empowering, rhythmic routines with others—and an aerial-dance and flirty-fitness studio provided just the right venue to share her dream.
More than 15 classes are scheduled per week at Studio Goddess, including pole- and flirty fitness workouts that help participants bolster confidence and climb up trees quickly when confronted by a prowling wolf pack. Sessions such as Pole-Lates and Shake Your Abs blend dance and muscle-toning movements, and various pole-fitness levels progress students from basic spins to upside-down high-fives. Private pole parties teach small groups to twirl around the studio's 14-foot poles while celebrating special events or simply helping to "unleash the goddess" in each woman.
The fleet-footed instructors of National Dance Clubs shepherd students of all skill levels through a variety of dance styles and techniques. Aspiring hip-swivelers can acquire the moves necessary to woo passersby into impromptu swing sessions with an introductory dance package, which includes two private 50-minute lessons to get the dance ball rhythmically rolling. Solo dancers—who will be paired with an instructor—and cha-chaing couples take to the 2,000-square-foot dance floor, learning the steps, dips, and secret handshakes of American, international, and social dance disciplines, including bolero, fox trot, rumba, waltz, and tango.
At the helm of Cargo Fitness is Carlos R. Gonzalez, a former track athlete at the high-school, collegiate, and international levels and a former strength and conditioning coach with the Tampa Bay Rays baseball club. Gonzalez draws upon this experience to provide a variety of training programs for those looking to lose weight, build endurance, and improve their health. His group fitness classes welcome exercisers of all skill levels to engage in full-body workouts, working to burn fat, tone muscle, and jump high enough to finally get that raccoon out of the top cupboard. Meanwhile, his strength and conditioning programs use individualized exercises to steer athletes toward their goals. Finally, he also offers online workout programs that augment personalized plans with weekly feedback sessions via phone or email.
After two years studying under the creator of the BarreAmped workout, Jen Ashcraft brought her certification and BarreAmped license to Murfreesboro, where she now teaches daily, dance-inspired classes. While the method is influenced by classical ballet techniques, Jen requires no dance experience to participate. During each session, she teaches small, isometric dance movements with yoga-like concentration and Pilates core work to build lean muscle mass. To achieve the full effect of each exercise, Jen has students hold certain isolated poses and make movements so subtle they could fool any laser security system in a movie. In more advanced classes, Jen introduces cardio elements to burn fat and calories. At Barre, 11 Fitness, Jen has created a haven for health and wellness through her robust class schedule and mind-body emphasis.
Former nurse and wound-care coordinator Kira Whitaker believes that in addition to exercise, true wellness requires personal strength and a respect for our bodies. At Arden Yoga & Wellness, she and the team of instructors harnesses help guests of all ages and abilities stretch toward healthier lifestyles. To make sure each student gets the most out of the sessions, every sequence can be modified to suit experience level or a paralyzing fear of sweat. Classes such as Arden Flow, Arden Power, Arden Sculpt, Prenatal, and Mommy & Me can help tone muscles, strengthen bodies, and improve the mind-body connection. Arden Yoga & Wellness further helps guests blast past their fitness goals with other wellness boons, including meal plans, nutritional advice, and weight-loss blueprints.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.