In 2001, founder Carrie Rezabek Dorr began teaching dance classes in her very first studio. A lifetime of choreographing and performing across the United States had prepared her to teach others how to nurture their passion for dance. But an interest in fitness led her to explore mixing ballet and exercise in an effort to bolster her students' health and flexibility while reducing their chance of injury. Now called the Pure Barre method, Carrie’s fitness regime tones the hips, seat, arms, and abs by combining small movements with barre exercises that tone without building bulky muscle. This new regime ignited a fire under her students that soon spread to other studios across the United States. Today, instructors from Alabama to Washington continue to teach Carrie's method, while she continues to refine her techniques and search for the lost city of El Dorado.
An all-female team of fitness and nutrition experts creates a spa-like setting at Elements to help women feel comfortable while working out instead of toiling in a weight-filled warehouse. European-designed "smart" machines use advanced technology to personalize workouts by greeting each member by name, remembering their personal settings and performance, and serving as a digital coach throughout the session. For a more human touch, the center's personal lifestyle coaches develop highly tailored diet and exercise plans for each member, following up with them to provide support, encourage progress, and check for untied shoelaces. After workouts, women can relax in the detoxifying warmth of an infrared sauna or atop the warm, soothing jets of a hydromassage bed.
When former project managers from Bally's, World Gym, Crunch, Guess, and Clinique realized the need for a women's-only gym in the world of fitness, they joined forces to create the Elements Diet and Fitness program. This fitness regimen depends upon three primary ingredients to help ladies of all stripes get into shape: smart-card workouts, personal-lifestyle coaches, and group-fitness classes. European-built smart-card equipment uses a personal-identification card to remember each member's name and personal settings, slowly advancing the difficulty of a workout and tracking individual progress. Personal-lifestyle coaches establish a report with their clients, through which they send constant motivation, support, and fitness instruction. Finally, group classes encourage self-discovery through fun fitness experiences such as performing candlelight yoga, training in tai chi, and belly dancing while taking a Myers-Briggs assessment
Children as young as 4 months take to the pool at Goldfish Swim School, which grew from an idea by Founder Jenny McCuiston––who has qualified for two Olympic Swimming Trials herself––to meet the demand for quality swim lessons in the area. Having traveled the country and studying the structure of many renowned swim schools, she developed a proprietary curriculum, which she and her Red Cross–certified instructors have taught to more than 500 students. The tropical decor also creates a fun setting for birthday parties, which include amenities such as private attendants and cupcakes.
A five-time American Taekwondo Association World Champion, senior master Von Schmeling, began Victory Martial Arts to teach pupils confidence and leadership skills while imparting martial-arts techniques. Classes capped at 30 students, with at most 10 students per instructor, cover disciplines such as general martial arts, krav maga, and self-defense for thwarting assailants and heavily armed spiders. Budding martial artists hone their craft alongside loved ones in family sessions or practice maneuvers in age-specific sequences for kids, teens, or adults.
At Shinn’s Tae Kwon Do, Master D.S. Shinn—who is a 7th-degree black belt and has been teaching for 19 years—and his assistant instructors lead adults and children in martial-arts classes. The instructors offer a combination of tae kwon do and hap ki do, teaching self-defense techniques that also bolster physical fitness. The experienced and credentialed instructors also offer family classes where parents and their children can practice together.