After Randy Woody lost his aunt and grandmother to diabetes and obesity, he became increasingly distressed about his own 320-pound frame. He began researching weight loss and strength training and set to work creating a healthier lifestyle for himself—all at the age of 13. Over the years he was able to whittle away 145 pounds, and eventually became a personal trainer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teamed up with Brenda Woody, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, to start Michigan Women Boot Camp, a weight-loss program that has transformed the lives and bodies of more than 10,000 clients.
Six days a week, the indoor boot-camp sessions challenge students with a rotating lineup of light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, and core exercises. Like scaffolding that reads only transcendentalist literature, the environment is supportive, yet serious. The Woodys only expect campers to perform to their individual ability level, but they ask students to show up as often as five times a week to get real results. The approach must be working; the Woodys boast that approximately 85% of their members are repeat visitors.
Rich crimson and jet-black poles punctuate the lustrous hardwood floors paving Fantasy Fitness Studio, where certified dance and fitness instructors aim to enhance both women's self-esteem and fitness through sensual, muscle-toning pole dancing. They bolster their full roster of pole-dancing classes with tutorials on diverse techniques such as hip-hop dance, boot-camp-style workouts, and Zumba, fostering a motivating environment for students of all skill levels during each session. They also host group parties within the elegant studio and can even organize mobile festivities at offsite locations, such as homes or moon colonies.
At The Painted Glass, a wine glass isn't just a vessel for sipping—it's a canvas for exploring creativity. During two-hour classes, students learn techniques for brushing images on long-stem glassware of peacock feathers, twisting branches, or anything else the imagination comes up with. But its mission goes even deeper than that. The studio started as a supportive art class for women with mesothelioma, and has since expanded to offer classes to anyone with a desire to paint. Today the of services go even farther, with classes also accommodating larger groups, such as bachelorette parties and seniors groups.
Fitzone for Women’s 14 locations across Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan beckon ladies of all ages and fitness levels to sweat side-by-side during supportive group classes and workouts. Each location hosts 20-minute circuit-training sessions that incorporate Nautilus machines, which increase weight in 1-pound increments, rather than the traditional 10 pounds. Fitness professionals work hand-in-hand with members to design a personalized workout plan, while group classes get bodies in shape with high-energy sessions of Zumba, strength training, kickboxing, and running away from a giant boulder rolling downhill. Fitzone for Women’s specially designed windows simultaneously let in sunlight and block views into studio from the outside, and its locker rooms have private dressing stations for an extra ounce of comfort.
At Livonia Yoga Center, the instructors aren't married to classical yoga styles. They still host hatha classes that emphasize proper pose alignment and vinyasa classes, which feature a flowing sequence of breath-synced postures. However, a menu of four to five classes a day offers a lot of room for creativity. Complementing those staples are less traditional sessions like the Healthy Backs class, which targets the neck, shoulders, spine, and hips to prevent poor posture and help students develop hardier exoskeletons.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen kids' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling—such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels—demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.