After earning a degree in kinesiology in 1991, Jill Dailey McIntosh gravitated toward Pilates. She began training other teachers and helped run a personal-training and Pilates business, but she wasn't completely satisfied. She wanted her clients to be able to shape their bodies more aggressively without losing the proper alignment and form in a classroom-like setting. After visiting New York several times and training under Lotte Berk instructors, Jill was inspired to create her own fitness modality. Combining her background in kinesiology, personal training, and dance, she developed The Dailey Method at Barfitness Ballet Bar Studio. Today, her method has spread to more than 40 locations throughout the United States, Canada, and France.
A blend of Pilates, ballet, and yoga, The Dailey Method helps students strengthen and stretch the body's major muscle groups. Jill designed the low-impact classes to challenge bodies, minds, and spirit alike as students build their cores, align their spines, and tone lean muscles. Instructors help students master the proper form for each motion, whether they're swinging dumbbells or bellying up to the barre to work their quadriceps.
As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
Jenny and Rachel spent years trying workout programs ranging from running to Tae Bo, but they couldn't find an exercise regimen they actually enjoyed. That is until Jenny stumbled across Pilates+. She was immediately hooked by the innovative workout program, which fuses Pilates, cardio, and strength training, and it wasn’t long until Rachel jumped aboard too. Today, the duo helms The Body Lab, where they and their staff of certified trainers spread the word about their favorite workout regime, which has been written up by numerous members of the press.
Each 50-minute Pilates+ class uses a machine called the Megaformer—a modern take on the traditional Pilates reformer that is designed to strengthen and tone both the upper and lower body. Performing slow, controlled movements, students move through a series of more than 50 exercises per class, exercising multiple muscle groups “to failure” each session to produce quicker results than traditional Pilates sessions. The Body Lab also leads group classes a la carte, as well as monthly memberships and one-on-one training for clients.
Lin Marcyan's path to becoming a small-business owner was paved with a series of happy accidents. For years she worked as a personal trainer and fitness competitor, until an injury laid her low. After some trial and error, she discovered that massage therapy helped her manage her injury, and decided to enroll in massage school. She graduated at the top of her class, and began working as an independent practitioner at a chiropractor's office. Just a few months later, however, the chiropractor had to close the practice.
Instead of letting this setback derail her, Lin decided to buy the space and turn it into Unity Wellness Studio. There, she draws upon her experiences to help clients achieve whole-body wellness. In that spirit, her service offerings include a wide variety of therapies, from yoga and personal training to massage therapy and wellness workshops. Unity is open to clients of all ages, as Lin sees the studio as a place where families can enjoy pursuing wellness goals together.
It isn’t every day that a student and teacher become partners in business, but that’s what happened after Robin Dickson took his first dance class with Matthew Gann. A friendship formed between Dickson, a special-event planner since the age of 17, and Gann, an award-winning ballroom dancer who already owned studios of his own. After realizing ways their backgrounds complemented each other, the two decided to open Allure Dance Studio right next to Cumberland Mall. Experienced dance instructors cultivate twinkle toes in private and group dance lessons across the studio’s sleek hardwood floor. Up to 25 students practice salsa, tango, or merengue rhythms in front of a wall of mirrors that display each student’s progress and most intimidating dance face. All students of Allure can practice what they’ve learned at various parties and events organized by the studio that provide a place where all types of dance can be performed and celebrated.
Armed with equal parts passion, dedication to the practice, and wisdom gained through teaching certifications, Blissful Yoga Studio's instructors help students achieve lithe, flexible bodies with classes catering to all activity levels. Introductory classes help beginners pay special attention to their alignment and breathing, and hot Vinyasa-flow classes challenge the mind as well as the muscles with a continuous series of empowering postures performed in a room that's heated up to 97 degrees. Instructors also incorporate the studio's specially outfitted wall, using its system of straps to sink students into deeper supported postures during yoga wall stretch sessions, which help them better impersonate the lowercase letter q. In addition to classes, the studio hosts workshops for seniors and those recovering from injuries that cover the basics of the yoga sutras.