Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she 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. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.
The Social Canvas's founder Francesca Bessett is dedicated to inspiring students and supporting local businesses through art classes hosted at area watering holes. During group classes, she guides students through step-by-step painting instruction as they swill cocktails and color their canvases with masterpieces ranging from landscapes to abstract designs. There are also theme nights scheduled throughout the year, including classes dedicated to recreating Van Gogh's "A Starry Night," among other famous paintings.
Lauded by reporters from Tropolism as "the coolest yoga studio of all time," and available for rental for private events, Yoga Deva was designed by Phoenix-based architects Blank Studio to serve as a calming sanctuary from the zooming cars and bustling sidewalks of the outside world. Long, walnut benches and a radiant-blue wall greet visitors in the front lobby, drawing them toward a sunlit yoga room with towering mirrors and white, wavy ceilings.
Serenity and balance in the studio is a must for owner, Davis, who aims to deepen the mind-body awareness of all who enter. At the studio, she uses all natural modern technology to promote pain relief and anti-aging benefits. After sustaining numerous injuries during her two-decade career as a professional ballet dancer, Davis found relief through inner reflection, which she harnessed during her time as a body-centered psychotherapist, and movement. Today, she channels her love of meditation and physical action into yoga, helming a team of certified instructors who lead classes in a variety of styles ranging from Vinyasa flow to Yin yoga. Sessions cater to students of all levels and can be modified to personally cater to clients. During each session, they guide students through poses and stretches designed to soothe the mind, heal the body, and enhance flexibility. The instructors strive to create a sanctuary of silence in the yoga room, requesting that guests leave all cellphones, pagers, and singing animatronic trout in the dressing room. In addition to yoga, Yoga Deva also offers therapeutic massage therapy to ease minds and sore muscles.
After earning reputations as elite trainers throughout the East Valley, NASM-certified personal trainers Luis Galindo and Jeremy Jones pooled 30 years of combined fitness experience to cofound Funktional Fitness. At their custom-designed studio in downtown Gilbert, they waive the monotony of gym machines and treadmill stacking for workouts based on functional movements?actions relevant to everyday living. Their regimens and nutrition programs encourage guests to embody the studio's core values, which include strength, endurance, mobility, and nutrition.
Funktional Fitness also prioritizes results and the customer experience during all sessions. One-on-one and semiprivate sessions stress individual feedback, whereas GroupFit classes combine the intimate instruction of private lessons with the camaraderie of book clubs that meet to tear dictionaries in half. Voted Best Place to Workout in Gilbert, Arizona, patrons have the option to battle their own body weight with TRX suspension cords, swing kettlebells, or flow through yoga poses during their visits, building strength in a welcoming environment infused with competitive drive.
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.
Stan and Brenda Strom have more than just dessert recipes decorating their kitchen—although of those, they have hundreds. They also hold multiple blue ribbons from state fairs, with celebrated sweets including a coconut-custard macadamia-nut pie, a dark-chocolate raspberry glacier pie, and a maple-pecan cheesecake, as well as many others. Their beloved business, Blue Ribbon Desserts, got an extra boost toward stardom when it was featured on FoodNation with Bobby Flay.
Chef Strom shares his confectionary skills in multiple ways. He bakes seasonal fruit pies, cheesecakes, and cookies fresh to order and ships them across the United States. He also reveals 60 of his favorite recipes in the Blue Ribbon Cookbook, which is said to smell like freshly churned butter during full moons. And in order to grant fans intimate access to his baking ways, he conducts monthly classes that empower students to create their own pies for family members and friends.