When a car accident broke Jen McWalter’s back, she didn’t know it. She only discovered it years later, when she had a sudden back spasm during a dance class. Healing such an old injury was challenging, but with a Pilates-infused physical-therapy routine, Jen’s spine gradually returned to working order.
Since then, Jen has not just practiced Pilates—she also earned her Gold Certification from the Pilates Method Alliance, and founded her own 3,000-square-foot Pilate studio. For the past decade, she and her team have led equipment and mat sessions there, teaching techniques from basic breath work to the one-armed planks needed to work out while tweeting a tribute to Joseph Pilates.
At World Gym International’s Seekonk location, a full complement of cardio and weightlifting equipment awaits exercisers in an expansive, multilevel facility. Off of the main workout area, private studios are outfitted for yoga, Pilates, and circuit training. The facility also offers childcare services and group fitness classes daily.
Fitness trainer Paul Dexter knows that actions speak louder than words. That’s why the former Bally’s Total Fitness director became nationally ranked as a natural bodybuilder, proving he had the goods to transform his body and the bodies of others. To give his clients a more personal experience, Paul left Bally’s and teamed up with his wife Laura to open Dexter Training Concepts.
Along with a team of certified trainers, Paul and Laura lead personal-training sessions that approach fitness using a three-pronged philosophy: strength training, cardio exercise, and nutrition. They put these fitness pillars into practice inside a 5,000-square-foot gym, which holds training sessions as well as yoga, Pilates, cardio-kickboxing, boot-camp, and aerobics classes. Free weights and machines occupy most of the gym floor, a juice bar fuels athletes in between sessions, and an onsite licensed massage therapist soothes aching muscles with practiced strokes and whispered sweet nothings.
Sunlight streams through stained-glass totems inside the spacious studio at Eyes of the World Yoga. In terms of class offerings, students can exhale the exertions of the day away with slow stretching sequences and rhythmic breathing implemented during mellow yoga. Likewise, semi-limber limbs can flow through the basics of posture and alignment during a fundamentals class, which, like a cannon strapped to a rocking horse, is aimed at all levels.
Before she took her first yoga class in 2003, Kelly O'Connell led a very different life than she does today. According to a story by Leigh Medeiros of Seekonk-Swansea Patch, O'Connell spent her days stretching herself thin as a principal in a stock brokerage firm before she decided to try a new kind of stretching: heated yoga. Through the practice, O'Connell found herself growing not only more physically flexible, but also more mentally adaptable. She told Medeiros, "I used to get lost in my emotions, but now there’s space between me and everything else that happens in the world. In that space there’s peace.”
To share the inner harmony she had discovered, O'Connell earned her yoga-instructor certification in 2008. She went on to complete several advanced trainings, including becoming a certified yoga life coach, a certified yoga personal trainer, and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) through Yoga Alliance. Today she owns and operates Yoga One, where she and her team guide adults and kids toward finding balance both in and out of the studio. They also host teacher trainings and events, including a book club, Reiki sessions, and meditation workshops featuring chocolate tastings that stimulate the mind and taste buds better than eating a haiku written in alphabet soup.
Journey Within Yoga and Wellness Center seeks to create harmony of mind, body, and spirit through its yoga sessions and relaxation and healing services. Instructors host 10 types of yoga classes, including Yoga Sculpt lessons that incorporate light weights and Yogalates classes infused with core-strengthening exercises borrowed from Pilates. Other services include massages, meditation classes, and Angel tarot-card readings.
It's tough to make Zumba—a dance-inspired cardio workout set to upbeat music—feel any more festive. Still, the certified instructors at Vital Spark Fitness & Wellness Studio have found a way. They host Night Style Zumba classes, turning on the studio's black lights and donning neon bracelets that outline arms as they wave in time with twirls and steps. Along with Zumba's resonating beats, the experience lends the studio a pumping, nightclub vibe.
Even without black lights and glow sticks, though, the staff strives to make every type of workout an engaging one. The schedule includes more than one take on popular yoga and Pilates techniques, including PiYo and Yogalates. They also lead cardio-kickboxing drills, boot-camp routines, and the interval-training exercises of Tabata.