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.
Every Friday night, Lakettes & Lakers Gymnastics Academy hosts a jovial horde of miniature gymnasts aged 3–13 for a three-hour jaunt across a jungle of adventurous play stations. A USAG-safety-certified staff of athletes keeps an alert eye on stimulated sprouts as they rocket from an in-ground trampoline, casting their sky-bound seal of approval on 7,200 square feet of gymnastics equipment and fitness games. Tots can safely perfect plummets on a 40-foot-long tumbling trampoline or escape from imaginary koala stampedes by coasting down a toddler zip line. An energizing feast of pizza and juice sate agile appetites before doe-eyed leapers take a postmeal constitutional down one of Lakettes & Lakers' balance-beam thoroughfares. The Kid's Night Out program lets parents drop off their children to enjoy a quiet evening devoid of lamp-shattering handsprings over the family dog.
Steamtown Yoga’s certified yoga instructors lead their students through energizing poses with a double-dose of enthusiasm in a studio infused with muscle-loosening heat. The schedule brims with 90-minute classes for students of all skill levels, which like televised readings of Beowulf, run seven days a week. Trained by hot-yoga superstars Bikram Choudhury and Jimmy Barkan, studio owner Lara Rubin gives newbies a solid foundation to build their yoga practice and can help even the most advanced yogis perfect their poses with demonstration, verbal cues, and hands-on modifications. In addition to melting stress, the sweltering temperature helps students deepen stretches and purge toxins with each bead of sweat. Separate men’s and women’s changing rooms reward students’ efforts with hot showers, hair dryers, and a enough space to wriggle out of a constrictive cocoon.