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."
Dedicated to helping ladies get in shape, the staff of certified instructors at Fitness With a Twist lead body-sculpting sessions designed to boost women's self-esteem and sultry quotients. During pole fitness classes, the instructors divulge pole-dancing techniques, including tantalizing spins and core-strengthening transitions from pole to floor. For an emphasis on sensual choreography, students don a pair of heels and ankle-length burlap sacks while dancing through burlesque-style routines with the help of a chair. In addition to flirt-enhancing fitness sessions, the studio also offers boot camps, Zumba, and full-body toning classes, as well as social gatherings for gals—including birthday bashes and bachelorette parties.
Highly educated trainers—each of whom has a bachelor's or master's degree in exercise science—help clients at bodyXchange fitness tone their bodies and transform their lifestyles with nutrition and exercise programs. Rows of dumbbells weighing 5–135 pounds ring the walls of the 5,000-square-foot gym, where members can swing kettlebells, push sleds, or struggle with a 550-pound tractor tire as well as pumping iron on more conventional Hammer Strength and Icarian strength-training machines. Life Fitness treadmills, stationary bikes, and other cardio equipment populate a separate theater, where wall-hung plasma TVs keep minds busy as bodies sweat and mouths hum the theme to Chariots of Fire.
The Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh pursues its mission of upholding an exemplary, thriving, and engaged community rooted in Jewish values. The Center contains state-of-the-art fitness facilities, complete with group exercise programs, personal training, and modern facilities that include gyms, basketball courts, and swimming pools. Leaders also organize other programs that range from day and overnight camps for kids to art classes, dance programs, aquatics seminars, and physical education for all ages.
It can be hard to find room for exercise in the busy modern lifestyle, especially when group fitness classes don’t match with one’s schedule. Club One Pittsburgh aims to correct that problem by hosting more than 300 classes a month, or roughly 10.1 classes a day. At their two main locations, they teach 11 varieties of Pilates, nine styles of yoga, and six different spin classes, the latter of which earned a CBS accolade as being the city’s best.
Both of Club One Pittsburgh’s locations are packed with state-of-the-art workout equipment, and the East End location also boasts indoor and outdoor pools and a full spa. Guests also receive complimentary towel service and free parking, a result of the now-canceled Hitting Parking Meters with Baseball Bats exercise course.
At Kim's, Grandmaster Kyu Ha Kim—who has more than 50 years of martial-arts-instruction experience and was previously the U.S. judo team coach—teaches judo, tae kwon do, and self-defense to students of all levels alongside champion instructors. Inside the 8,000-square-foot training facility, complete with locker rooms, weight-training systems, and closed-circuit-television monitoring, men, women, and children learn martial-arts techniques and how to properly address former gym teachers when encountering them sobbing in an alleyway.