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.
Raven Aultman's personal fitness journey started at 253 pounds. Four years later and more than 100 pounds lighter, she's dedicated herself to helping others to reach their weight-loss goals with multifaceted boot camps and sound nutritional guidance. Knowing firsthand what it takes to sculpt a healthy body, Raven is able to tailor her workouts to help clients to effectively slim down without the use of steamrollers and falling grand pianos. She draws from sports drills and resistance training to help groups to collectively trim and tone and customizes individual regimens for one-on-one personal-training sessions.
CrossFit’s credo upholds specializing in not specializing, and the coaches of CrossFit Super Sport—one an active-duty Marine, and the other an accountant—embody this idea daily. Together, they show people from all walks of life how to attain total-body conditioning through CrossFit’s Workout of the Day—also known as the WOD—which changes daily to develop every metabolic pathway and measurable component of fitness, from strength to cardiovascular endurance. Their Spartan gym dispenses with the treadmills and weight machines that fill most commercial gyms in favor of equipment such as kettlebells, medicine balls, and rowing machines. In addition to encouraging community through the CrossFit model of small-group classes, Super Sport’s coaches foster camaraderie through sharing dishes they’ve made, such as paleo quiche made with sausage, broccoli, and pterodactyl eggs.
Within a sprawling training studio, Thunder Dome Sports trainers conduct martial-arts classes for adults, teens, and youngsters alike. The seasoned martial-arts masters guide students through technique and form in brazilian jiujitsu, muay thai, and mixed-martial-arts sessions, and demonstrate self-defense skills in a bully prevention course for kids. The instructors also offer a variety of energetic fitness classes, including boot camp, cardio kickboxing, high-intensity interval training.
"Mind, heart, soul, and spirit"—this is the translation of maum from Korean, and also the core words of what takes place at Maum Meditation. Founded by Woo Myung in 1996 in South Korea, there are more than 330 centers across six continents where people meditate in group settings. During sessions, practitioners use Maum techniques to eliminate anxiety and stress. Once cleared of this, which Maum meditators believe effect thoughts and emotions, the meditators seek happiness and freedom.