From her days in the Navy to a love for yoga, Terri Chadney has always been into fitness. In 1994, she and her husband, Jay, opened West Coast Fitness to share that passion with her old neighborhood, which until then did not have a gym. "She wanted to reinvest in the neighborhood," Jay says. Here, the duo leads a staff of experienced trainers, who do everything from one-on-one training to group fitness classes such as yoga and spinning. As the yoga director, Terri requires that each yoga instructor have at least five years of teaching experience, thorough training, and a perfect letter B imitation. The rest of the staff boasts similar credentials, such as the Zumba instructor who has been dancing professionally for most of her life. And because they're not contractors, the trainers care about every aspect of the gym, not just making a sale. "They really invest themselves with the members," says Jay, "Our [trainers] come in, hang out, take classes, bring their dog."
For Jay and Terri, the most rewarding part of owning West Coast Fitness has been "seeing changes in the members," says Jay. He sees members who are in better shape than when they first joined 15 years ago—and Terri loves to see the seniors in her yoga classes up on their feet and doing strength-training exercises after coming in with crutches or walkers.
The St. John's location's spinning studio includes a 6-foot screen, sending riders on virtual trips via instructive DVDs even when a class isn't in session. Members can also log in to ActivTrax online or at the clubs' kiosks for custom workouts based on their goals and experience, as well as meal planning and progress tracking. The staff members engage parents' little ones with baby-sitting services in a colorful playroom. They have also stocked the gyms with tanning booths, and massage therapists help soothe stress and exercise-induced aches; the saunas and HydroMassage beds also help members unwind.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The Pole Palace’s intimate classes feature an average of six students climbing and spinning their way through pole-dancing workouts. The instructors—one a certified personal trainer and the other a chiropractor by day—help students safely master saucy movements that strengthen muscles and enhance flexibility during both co-ed and ladies' only workouts. They also teach guests sassy dance routines during private bachelorette, birthday, and traffic-school graduation parties, and owner Melissa uses the space for personal training sessions, as well.
Frustrated with traditional workout regimens that led to injury and strain, Michael Skogg learned about kettlebell exercises while stationed in Scotland with the United States Armed Forces. The system he encountered used cast-iron, cannonball-like weights with handles to facilitate a wide range of exercises and provide a low-impact, heavily aerobic workout for the entire body. Michael decided to expand upon this regimen when he returned home, relying on his extensive education in sports injury rehabilitation, personal training, and corrective exercise as he devised a system that would help individuals achieve fitness goals.
At Skogg Gym, Michael stocks the facility with kettlebells that weigh between 9 and 106 pounds and leads classes that consist of sequences of swinging and pressing movements. Over time, these high-intensity movements can help attendees improve their strength and endurance, as well as their balance, flexibility, and ability to throw a watermelon into low orbit.
Equipment: Rogue Rigs and Racks, Ivanko Plates, Olympic Platforms, Bumper Plates, Turf
Students should bring: Water Bottle, Towel, Pen, and Fitness Journal
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Pro Tip: Come prepared with a good attitude, ready to work hard and willing to learn.
Yoga NW's calm instructors tap backgrounds in yoga, meditation, and psychotherapy to nurture holistic harmony in an array of supportive yoga classes. The studio's diverse schedule of yoga classes accommodates students with sessions seven days a week. Within the studio’s spacious practice room, natural light glints off rich vermilion walls as students unfurl personal or rented yoga mats atop burnished hardwood floors. During Integrated Vinyasa classes, attentive instructors help fledgling yogis build poise and flexibility with gentle, prop-assisted Lyengar poses and challenging sequences of Vinyasa postures, adjusting each pose based on each student's level of experience. Alternatively, in Yin Yoga, pupils methodically loosen tense hips and spines by holding poses longer than William Henry Harrison held the record as most flexible U.S. president.