Students at Villa Pilates & Yoga sweat in an earth- and body-safe studio furnished with sustainable bamboo floors and bathed in nothing but nontoxic paint and natural light. Owner Carly Farmer and her staff carefully cultivate the noncompetitive atmosphere at what the OC Metro called a “little gem” by teaching a seven-days-a-week schedule of classes that welcomes all skill levels—from beginners seeking a comfortable environment to begin their practice to experienced yogis looking to perfect advanced moves in a private or semiprivate class. Steadily transitioning poses form the basis of Vinyasa-style yoga flow classes, whereas music yoga classes rely on melodies and rhythms to help move yogis through a choreographed sequence. Reformer Pilates offers a change of pace from the studio’s yoga sessions by putting students through a more intense, calorie-burning session than either yoga or traditional Pilates. Students in need of a mat can rent one for a dollar or visit the studio’s boutique store to shop for accessories such as yoga mats and water bottles, as well as exercise clothing for those who forgot to dress their shadow before class.
Schulein Fit Enterprises' boutique fitness centers keep bodies toned through innovative classes taught by savvy, experienced instructors. Shimmy through women-only Zumba classes at the Athletic Club for Women, which fuse fitness with Latin-inspired dances such as salsa, tango, flamenco, and the Cicero. Rippling abdominals and self-aware biceps begin with BodyRoXX classes at Back Bay Fitness, blending the core methods of spinning, cross training, Pilates, and treadmill trekking to render bodies as chiseled as an ice sculpture of Mount Rushmore. Laguna Health Club offers classes such as beach boot camp, which guides participants through rigorous military-style fitness routines in an environment that promotes both communal support and sandcastle construction.
The instructors and professional staff at PADI five-star instructor center Beach Cities Scuba introduce students to the big blue with PADI-certified diving courses for divers of all levels. They certify newbies with basic open-water courses and teach advanced divers in specialty courses such as Deep Diver, Rescue Diver, and Shark Therapist. They operate out of five convenient locations and sling necessary gear in onsite stores, from wetsuits and facemasks to spear guns. Beach Cities Scuba also connects divers through its dive club and hosts exotic dive trips to locations such as Indonesia, Fiji, and Cozumel.
Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre. The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities Allyson and Rob Carrier have always dreamed of owning their own business— so when Allyson started taking Cardio Barre classes, Rob took note as he saw her body change and heard her talk about how great she felt because of the class. When they moved to Costa Mesa in 2010, they decided to bring Cardio Barre to Orange County with their own studio.
Watching some of the lithe women coming out of Pure Barre classes, it's easy to believe that they've been ballet dancers their whole lives. But that's not necessarily the case. Pure Barre's instructors stress that the workout requires zero dance experience, and they say that as long as you can hold onto the bar and quote Center Stage verbatim, you can participate in the classes.
Because small isometric movements are performed in the classes, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages can take a Pure Barre class. These small movements work each muscle to fatigue, and then stretch it back out, which creates the lean lines dancers are known for. The movements also work areas of the body many women struggle with, including the abs, butts, thighs, and arms, and they burn fat—all without putting excessive stress on the joints.