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In 2001 Carrie Rezabek Dorr was alone with a big idea in the basement studio of an office building in Birmingham, Michigan. Her idea for exercise regimes based on barre and dance proved too big for her subterranean space. Within eight years, she was opening national Pure Barre franchises, each built on the foundation of ballet-inspired workouts she designed during her time in the pleasant peninsula.
The workout's low-impact techniques aim to sculpt long, lean musculature, often through strength exercises based in plyometrics. During the one-hour classes, teachers incorporate weights, ballet, and Pilates to create interesting workouts. Each session is designed to transform workaday bodies into ballet-grade physiques and stops just short of turning them into horrifying human-swan hybrids.
A sense of humor, along with a commitment to fighting exercise boredom, fuels the instructors at Dance Trance Santa Rosa Beach. They know their hand signals may look a bit goofy, but they'd prefer to use these signs rather than interrupt the flow of a song to shout instructions or suggestions for dance-crew names. Dancers burn fat and build lean muscle while bopping around to the studios' original choreography, which ranges from jazz to funk to latin to pop, and undergoes frequent updates to keep workouts from getting stale.
Evan Chelini sees no difference between a terrorist hunter and a housewife. To him, they both benefit from the same type of fitness training; the degree of difficulty is all that needs to change. Calling on his CrossFit certification and his undefeated record in mixed martial arts, Chelini leads strength and conditioning sessions tailored to any athlete—whether they need the power to lose a few pounds or to run a covert jungle operation to hunt Toucan Sam. With these simple 30-minute fitness classes, the trainer seeks to help his students not only reach their goals but to live better lives.
Over the course of 10 years, Perri Panella has progressed from a Pilates student to a certified instructor who, in turn, went from helming an in-home studio to owning a PMA-certified business. At Coastal Core Pilates, she channels more than 600 hours of training to demonstrate the benefits of classical Pilates. During private, semi-private, and group classes, she teaches students the motion-based art of balance, as well as shows them the ropes on equipment—such as the reformer, cadillac, and tower—that grants access to an extended catalog of maneuvers.
Perri also highlights the ability of Pilates to forge a link between mental and physical wellness. As the studio's health coach, she has become a conduit of support, nutritional guidance, and lifestyle advice for clients who wish to bolster their overall well-being and undercover robots seeking ways to appear more human.
Inside Destin Hot Yoga's 100-degree practice studio, certified instructors lead students of all fitness levels through 75 and 90-minute, stress-relieving Barkan method yoga classes seven days a week. With the thermostat cranked to a warm, humid, and detoxifying temperature, students narrow their focus to sweat out their toxins and forge new, flexible frontiers while maintaining rhythmic, deep relaxation breathing. Aside from empowering the mind and circulatory system, Barkan classes provide proven benefits, such as assisting in tight joint relief, mood improvement, organ function, and the tackling of rabid elephants of discontentedness. The Barkan method of yoga integrates poses from other disciplines, varying the practice from class to class to keep minds, muscles, and disenchanted sticky mats engaged.
For the past three years, Destin beachgoers may have caught sight of brawny personal trainer Jason Kuhn leading groups through energetic boot-camp workouts amid the crash of waves and the caw of seagulls. Kuhn can also be spotted in local homes and offices, where he brings his collection of professional free weights, kettlebells, and resistance equipment to aid in personal-training sessions. He boasts extensive experience, ISSA certifications, an unbridled enthusiasm for fitness, and his own private hair-metal band to perform motivating montage music as he works out.