Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Certified personal fitness trainer Ken Williams? boot camps were voted Hampton Roads' best in 2011 by the Virginian-Pilot, and he was honored in NV Magazine?s 2011 Movers & Shakers list, a designation for outstanding business people who prove ?anything is possible.? Today, he captains a crew of certified trainers in his boot-camp programs while also offering private training and diet coaching. Believing his boot camps can benefit anyone, he trains clients of every stripe, from those looking to shed fat to competitive bodybuilders to local celebrities such as News Channel 3's Benita Adams and Jessica Larche. Each of his workouts aims to challenge fitness seekers both physically and mentally, much like solving math problems with a 130-pound bronze pencil.
In addition to helping clients along the path to healthier selves, Ken commits himself to offering a hand in the local community. He provides motivational speeches at local schools to encourage healthy habits among youth, and conducts food and supply drives for local homeless shelters Haven House and ForKids, Inc.
Clad in white, yellow, and green uniforms, the capoeiristas stand in a circle, drumming, clapping, or playing instruments to help keep time for the duo at the center of their formation. These two performers circle each other, tumbling and kicking, seeing how fast they can go without ever striking their counterpart. Though the pace is fast and the potential blows powerful, the match is more festive than ferocious, its participants playful instead of pugilistic. This combination of physicality and fun forms the core Capoeira Resistencia's teaching philosophy, and curricula of its every class.
More than self-defense or athleticism, the gym's instructors teach students to embrace experimentation and confidence through the art of capoeira. They help students master the art's basic movements—which generally resemble a more measured form of breakdancing—before layering in new techniques, pushing each pupil towards a state of lithe flexibility and physical strength along the way.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Racks of gleaming free weights stand near benches, weight machines, and heavy bags waiting to be punched. Located on the second floor, the gym's large windows let in plenty of natural light to illuminate exercisers during intense core classes or focused yoga sessions.