Lauren ?Pinki? Schiavo began her pole career as a student at Poise Dance Studio in 2005, and her spinning skills soon blossomed and earned her an instructor position. When the studio's owner sold the space, Lauren took the helm and injected some sass into the class regimen, renaming her business Flaunt Fitness as an homage to empowered women of all ages and body types. She drew from her training in jazz dance, hip-hop moves, and gymnastics to augment her pole-dance prowess and recruited a squad of professional teachers to lead her schedule's shimmies.
Flaunt Fitness' classes impart pole twirls and calorie-dropping cardio workouts under one roof. The DVD Fitness classes screen popular exercise videos as instructors ensure that guests maintain good form, and private parties spice up dance lessons with champagne and making balloon animals with just your feet. Further slimming figures, the studio sustains a support network for members with monthly encouragement meetings sharing healthful recipes and nutrition products for purchase.
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Though he has studied, practiced, and taught yoga in such far-flung locales as Mexico and Southeast Asia, Zeb Homison counts his childhood living room in western Pennsylvania as the site of his fondest yoga memory. That's where, as a tottering pre-kindergartener, he worked through poses alongside his mother. After studying dance and theater, Homison—now the owner of Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh— moved to San Francisco, where he rekindled his relationship with yoga while working at a Bikram yoga studio.
The heat, combined with the repetitions of the postures, focused his mind while conditioning his body, and he was hooked. Studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, was another clarifying experience and one that taught Homison to open up and accept the inevitable. That could mean working through intensely fatigued muscles to push toward greater flexibility, or performing all 26 poses at a black-tie dinner party whenever guests clink their glasses and shout "Pose!"
"When studying yoga, you have to be patient with yourself," says Homison, echoing the philosophy that his staff repeats to encourage students to take their time learning the practice. Together, the team works with patrons, inspiring them through bouts of frustration. "Yoga can be a lifelong process," Homison says, "and you just have to be open to it."
Since 1979, the staff of Lehigh Valley Racquet and Fitness Clubs has made it their mission to obliterate any barriers keeping their members from working out. Each club is open 24 hours a day year-round, with free childcare available during specific times of day. That commitment to availability helps even the busiest people find time to hop on Hammer Strength and Cybex strength-training circuits, StairMasters, and other equipment. Group fitness classes get students sweating as they execute punches in Turbo Kick cardio-kickboxing sessions or dance to Zumba's Latin-inspired workouts. Full-body boot-camp workouts are also available, mixing in calisthenics, strength training, and agility drills to continuously challenge bodies. All of the clubs? personal trainers hold bachelor's degrees in health-related fields or have national certifications from accredited organizations.
After their workouts, members can unwind in the whirlpool, sauna, or steam rooms, then drop off their free rental towels for cleaning. For sports lovers, the Allentown location also boasts basketball, volleyball, squash, and badminton courts, as well as 11 outdoor and 8 indoor tennis courts.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
Specializing in Latin and ballroom dancing, Fred Astaire Dance Studio is a franchised nationally. The Reading studio is directed by Jerry and Linda Topez Theodosiou, both champion dance professionals. No matter how busy your schedule or how leaden your feet, Fred Astaire’s staff of professionally trained and certified instructors can tailor private sessions to match any dancer's skill level and specific goals.
As the morning begins, a row of toddlers takes turns tumbling feet over head while their parents guide them into the correct movement. Later, school-age kids sit in a circle, legs stretched before them as they try to touch their toes. The trained staff of My Gym Children's Fitness Center imbue kids with life skills through music, physical activities, and games. Many classes incorporate physical exercises with social and developmental skills, while summer camps are also available seasonally. All classes take place in a well-padded room, led by staff trained in child development and fluent in Muppet.