While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Jeff Pearce had spent more than 20 years struggling with weight gain, unrealistic diets, and resulting depression, and then a friend showed helped him to change relationship with food. It wasn't long before they learned all the basic principles and started to develop their own tasty recipes.
The recipes focus on ancient, whole ingredients and generations-old techniques, which Jeff and Shannon claim immediately improved their energy levels, immune systems, and abilities to bench-press SUVs. To bolster his understanding of such potent whole foods, Jeff went back to school to study holistic remedies and became certified as a holistic health practitioner by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Soon after, he and Shannon began to share their healing techniques in food-prep classes, through articles on their website, and with nutritional-counseling services.
When Ed Norice left the United States Navy in search of a new career, he found fresh enemies to battle domestically: obesity and heart disease. He started Impressive Fitness The Jungle to combat these illnesses and give his fellow citizens a path towards healthy lifestyles.
Norice and his two instructors, Aubree and Rodney, draw from a vast repertoire of exercise styles to wage their war. TRX resistance bands force the muscles of the body to work in concert and strengthen the body from head to toe. Martial-arts skills lend a practical edge to every workout, increasing endurance and arming students with basic self-defense techniques. Outside of group classes, the trio offers personal training and nutritional consultation to help prevent clients from making unhealthy choices in their diet, such as eating a whole birthday cake and then eating the cake’s candles.
Within Leapin' Lizards' 20,000-square-foot funscape, kids release pent-up energy as they trample across three rooms of inflatable slides, houses, and a bungee trampoline. Rambunctious, sock-clad tykes crawl through tunnels in a four-story playscape, zip down a 20-foot Kraken (from Pirates of the Caribbean) slide, or conquer an obstacle course. In a girls-only room, the staff treat guests like princesses, beautifying hair, nails, and faces amidst dancing, singing, and modeling for photo ops. Elsewhere, younger kids play in a toddler room, and birthday kids call celebrations together in themed party rooms, bedecked with an enchanted landscape or castle imagery to make the guest of honor feel like a monarch, demanding that each partygoer surrender a portion of their crop yield to the royal family.
At Skylight Massage and Skincare, specialty massages and decadent add-ons merge into uplifting treatments that rejuvenate the body and spirit. The ashiatsu massage is a house specialty featuring a deep-pressure technique that soothes sore and achy muscles in the back, chest, hips, and legs. Once muscles are loose, a client may further relax under the soothing warmth of heated basalt stones or the tingling sensations of a natural-fiber brush, used to increase blood flow. Such duality is key here, with lavish spa services softening the edges of focused therapeutic bodywork, causing pain and stress to dissolve like slugs in a salt cave. Other services include an organic cellulite massage, a 24-karat gold facial, and an herb-and-mineral foot soak that incorporates lemon clay, shea butter, and essential oils.
Premier Baseball Academy's instructors draw from their experience at the high school, college, and professional levels to help hone skills of players ranging from little leaguers to pros. In private and group lessons, the bat-swinging experts focus on areas such as strength and arm velocity with equipment including pitching mounds and five Iron Mike batting-cage machines that dispatch balls at adjustable speeds. The instructors hold practices for entire teams and lead camps that aim to cover all mental and physical aspects of the national pastime. The Academy also hosts several tournaments throughout the year and serves as a rescue shelter for stray team mascots.