The fun vibe in Mambo Room’s dance classes and weekly socials isn’t a coincidence. The studio’s instructors hope that by sharing cultural dance in a pressure-free environment they will create a community that genuinely loves to bust a move without feeling self-conscious. With these passionate teachers at the helm, students hone fancy footwork in classes that range from salsa and bachata to Afro-Cuban to Zumba. At weekly socials, students can showcase their newly acquired moves to get comfortable leading and following with partners of all skill levels, giving their poor broom a well-deserved night off.
Designed to meet the five pillars of optimum fitness—cardio, resistance training, food intake, vitamins, and professional assistance—Total Fitness helps elite athletes and couch potatoes alike achieve their health and weight-loss goals. Personalized-training sessions are the mainstay of the program, with certified trainers designing fitness plans that cater to each individual’s goals and abilities. Athletes wanting to improve their performance in a specific sport—or even a specific position—can enroll in Sports Strength Camp or boot camps.
Marie Rants, owner of Rants Ballroom Company, distills a lifetime of dance experience into each of her classic and modern classes. She draws from her classical training as a ballet dancer in her ballet classes and pours every credit hour of her bachelor of arts in dance from Old Dominion University into tango, cha-cha, and salsa classes. Her fleet-footed prowess further extends to swing classes, where students learn to dance the charleston to impress friends or the lindy-hop to bypass laser security systems during jewel heists.
For A.M. Fitness Groove owner and head instructor Ajia Maximillian, working out should be a party that you look forward to, not something you dread at the end of the day. To that end, she opened her dance-fitness studio to spice up workouts, while catering to the busy schedule of New Yorkers. Sessions start at 6:30 a.m., allowing students to burn calories during a Zumba or boot-camp class before heading into work as the mayor’s bagel tester. Ajia also offers “express” midday classes that easily squeeze into a lunch break, with the hope that clients can get their workout in during the day, leaving time for friends, family, and relaxation in the evenings. And to boost energy levels and overall fun, she infuses her up-tempo dance classes with elements from her background in West African drumming, hip-hop, and Congolese dancing.
Tammy of Believers Fitness is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with experience in a range of fitness modalities. She specializes in a little bit of everything, from Zumba and Pilates to kickboxing and boot camps. She also leads R.I.P.P.E.D. classes that focus on resistance, intervals, power, plyometrics, and endurance. Tammy is passionate about helping individuals of all fitness levels, and she can also design workout plans for organizations such as businesses and churches.
When the Richmond Alternative Center for Health first opened its doors in 1968, it was meant to be a space where members could attend to every area of their health and fitness. More than four decades later, the center is still committed to that vision. Much of the staff has been around for 15 years or more, creating a tight-knit, welcoming environment that has many people calling them the Cheers of health clubs.
There's plenty of traditional cardio and strength-training equipment, with TVs and wandering minstrels to keep everyone entertained. The bustling class schedule includes Zumba's Latin-inspired aerobic dance party, various styles of yoga, and Les Mills classes, including the sports-inspired BodyAttack. Students can continue to stretch, relax, and meditate within the dedicated mind-body room or hone mind-ball coordination on the basketball or racquetball courts. Personal trainers help members focus in on their individual goals and commit to making progress.
The staff offers wellness consultations to help members evaluate every area of their health, as well as nutrition counseling that can include anything from meal planning to cooking classes. Massage therapists knead away stress and postworkout soreness, and the heat of the cedar sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi also helps bodies unwind. In the lounge area, free WiFi, newspapers, and magazines wait to be appreciated. And the onsite Healthy Cafe blends up smoothies alongside healthy meals and coffee, which members can enjoy right there or take home to share with health-conscious ghosts.