A subtle heat spreads throughout Fuel the Soul, distinct from the scorching air at hot-yoga studios that warm the room with thermostats. The muscle-melting energy seeps into muscles, coaxing tension away. This brand of heat comes from a system that emits infrared rays, capable of penetrating deeper into tissues and detoxifying patrons while they move through classic yoga poses. Co-owner Greg Fine explains to Patch.com, "Exercising … in an infrared heated sauna can help you burn calories much faster." The heat emanates from lamps that, according to Greg, are identical to those used by surgeons in neonatal hospital units and fast-food line-cooks in NASA space vessels. Customers can reap the heat's benefits, which include a faster metabolism and easier healing, whether they’re attending yoga classes or simply steeping in the far-infrared sauna.
Another offering as unusual as a cat and dog that only fight about who loves the other more is the Gyrotonic workout, "a unique method that uses movements found in swimming, yoga, and tai chi and helps improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination." Greg—who studied under Juliu Horvath, the Romanian dancer and exile who developed the exercise to recover after tearing his Achilles tendon and rupturing a few spinal disks—teaches the technique to students of all fitness levels and ages, whether they’re recovering from injuries or courting greater flexibility.
Whether educating clients on the most nutritious foods or showing them how to build up their biceps, Fitness Together's trainers make fitness goal oriented and fun. The company also believes it's important that no one embark on this journey alone. All programs are designed to hold participants accountable and provide a supportive atmosphere.
The nutrition program, for instance, monitors clients as they balance food portions and meal frequency, helping them make healthy choices when shopping for groceries or raiding the walk-in fridges at restaurants. A cardio program combines Fartlek, interval training, and tempo-focused workouts to build muscle endurance and get hearts pumping. The Aspire 8 program, meanwhile, uses resistance training as a path to fitness. Participants plunge into rotating functional workouts?such as MMA-style training, weight training, and Tabata?that keep muscles working even after they should have plateaued. As part of its mission to foster a communal environment, the gym also specializes in training for youth and older adults.
Ever since she was a child, Yulia Zhmutski had envisioned herself leaping and pirouetting across a grand stage before the adoring eyes of thousands. But, growing up in a struggling, single-parent household in the former Soviet Union, she never entertained the possibility of it actually happening. That changed when she was accepted into Uzbekistan’s National School of Dance and Choreography, a rigorous eight-year program that teaches ballet as well as traditional Slavic, Uzbek, and Russian dances.
Like her classmates, Yulia entered the program shortly after completing the fourth grade, leaving behind family, friends, and imaginary friends. Although the transition was difficult, the tiny ballerina was determined to be a successful dancer. She overcame her homesickness, went on to become a Russian prima ballerina, performing with several prestigious troupes, including the elite National Theatre, and was the first person to spin fast enough to reverse the earth's rotation.
Yulia eventually relocated to Oklahoma, and in 2009, she started her own dance studio: Julia’s Academy of International Dance. The academy’s staff teaches kids’ and adult classes in 35 disciplines, including ballet, jazz, belly dancing, and dance fitness. They hold weekly dance and film classes for students with special needs—proud to be one of the only studios in the region to offer such classes.
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.
Anytime Fitness lives up to its name by giving clients 24/7 access to exercise machines, weights, and tanning facilities. The fitness center even feature private bathrooms and around-the-clock security monitoring. A personal-training session for every new member helps clients put their best foot forward as they start exercise regimens.
Travis Garza became a fitness operative at the same time that he officially became an adult, commencing his personal-training career at age 18. As the now-48-year-old progressed to earn his NASM certification and direct multiple training centers, he was constantly mounting a counteroffensive to "fitness fraud" and common gym stressors. Eventually, he created his own workout plans to help to reshape his clients' physiques, taking on the title of "The Master of Body Transformation." His methods have since been featured on KOCO, FOX 25, and KTOK talk radio for their slimming, confidence-building results.
Whether he is leading a fat-loss boot camp or personal-training session, Travis strives to be a steadfast source of support to his students?he always responds to email, telephone, or post-its stuck to lobbed medicine balls. His programs take the holistic route to health by emphasizing nutrition in addition to exercise, providing consultations and take-home resources for clients.