Ohana Warrior may offer classes by veterans of high-level martial arts organizations such as K-1 kickboxing and King of the Cage, but the gym also strives to maintain a fun and unpretentious atmosphere as well as a strong connection to Filipino culture. Inside the 4,000-square-foot space, instructors lead classes in muay thai, including muay thai fundamentals, muay thai for beginners, and muay thai for kids. For students seeking to round out their mixed-martial-arts knowledge, Ohana Warrior also hosts Brazilian jujitsu sessions.
Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
Owner and educator Rashida Hobbs has always had a passion for music and dance, leading her to open Pole'iticians Fitness Studio, where she and a troupe of certified instructors create a supportive setting for ladies to build strength through sensual dance classes and workshops. Invented by Hobbs, Floormotion classes, also known as Sensual Dance, focus on the art of erotic movements, building on the principles of cardio striptease to transform students' regular dance moves into sexy shimmies. Pole-dance classes impart students of all skill levels with erotic moves to add to their exotic bag of tricks, enhancing the quality of future routines performed for a significant other, in front of the mirror, or during awkward silences in idle conversations. The Pole'iticians team also leads a breadth of Zumba, dance, and yoga classes, and opens the spacious studio for private parties and special events.
Certified and registered yoga instructor Foi M. first turned to yoga as a way to slough off excess pounds. She enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of yoga so much that she signed up for teacher training, and after girding her muscle memory with the healing asanas, she began Umoja Yoga, a serene Vinyasa-focused practice housed in Jerome's Gym in Richardson.
Umoja means unity in Swahili, and Foi's classes aim to unite physical fitness with mental clarity and peace. A full calendar of daily classes offers everything from Power Yoga Flow—an intense, detoxifying session complete with linked breathing techniques—to Yoga Lunch Basics, a Vinyasa-style class where students can learn poses and improve flexibility and core strength during their lunch hour.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
While attending Austin College, two important things happened to Kirby and Kristi Carmichael: they fell in love with art, and with each other. When Kirby moved to Italy after graduation to expand his pottery education, Kristi followed. During that time, she discovered she had a knack for majolica painting––a craft that Renaissance-era artists used to decorate vases, jars, and plates, all of which Leonardo da Vinci invented. The couple realized they had a sturdy link between their talents, and eventually returned to the United States jobless, engaged, and ready to share what they'd learned.
In October 2005, the Carmichaels opened Quiggly's Clayhouse, where potters and painters alike have since been crafting masterpieces and sharpening their skills with lessons. The studio's flexible walk-in availability encourages artists to visit whenever inspiration strikes—be it for painting pottery, sculpting clay, fusing glass, or forging mosaics. Frequent themed events also bring groups together in the name of casual creativity, including adult wheel nights, ladies’ nights, and kids’ nights.