Inside Body Synergy’s lofted, sun-lit space, a collection of wood-paneled Pilates machines stand over a carpeted area—each with a unique purpose in strengthening students’ core. Instructors provide small groups with individualized instruction here, or lead larger classes that focus on mat and release work. Elsewhere in the wellness studio, slate-colored rooms create a tranquil environment for undergoing customized, organic facials.
The staff at Omni Health and Fitness Center works to make the gym a one-stop shop for its members' fitness needs. The club's impressive inventory aids in this pursuit, with more than 75 cardio machines, tens of thousands of pounds of free weights, and strength-training equipment from Life Fitness. Parents can drop their youngsters off at the kids' zone or children's nursery before pumping iron or grabbing a spot in the cardio cinema room, which, like Jack LaLanne’s living room, allows people to work out while enjoying a movie in surround sound. The gym's trainers, meanwhile, lead one-on-one workouts as well as group fitness classes such as Pilates and Body Pump. After exercising, members can refuel at the juice bar.
At NC Yoga, students step outside of their stressful daily routines to find peace and harmony through stretches and careful breathing techniques. The studio presents one-hour classes for children, teens, moms-to-be, and seniors of all levels of fitness, whether they've never touched a yoga mat or spent the last 30 years in a headstand. During Vinyasa sessions, certified teachers show groups how to weave deep breaths and traditional poses together in a flowing, dance-like sequence. In contrast, Iyengar classes focus on lengthy poses that foster strength, balance, and proper alignment. Or you can sweat it out in Power Fusion sessions, which takes place in an 80-degree room to loosen muscles and unfreeze joints covered in ice. Beginners can pose at their own pace in Yoga 101 classes or enroll in private sessions, in which an instructor gives more personalized tips. In addition to leading yoga and dance classes, the studio operates a boutique that sells T-shirts, sticky mats, and instructional DVDs.
Before opening Carolina Karate & Fitness Center, Shihan White garnered a slew of achievements in martial arts. He became an inductee to the National Sport Karate Hall of Fame—an honor his son and co-instructor Matthew also obtained—earned a 7th degree black belt, and clinched a Doctorate in Martial Arts Philosophies and Martial Arts Sciences. Like his father, Matthew's martial arts accomplishments could fill a breakable board, including being ranked 5th in the world as a junior black belt. Shihan and Matthew bestow their wisdom on students during adult karate classes and self-defense courses. They also oversee weapons classes where students wield wooden swords, meld yoga and karate, and round out fitness programs with boot camp, body sculpting, and other classes.
Flex + Fit cultivates an environment focused on well-being, from sweat-inducing fitness classes to habit-changing cooking classes. This effort was lauded by Charlotte Magazine in its 2012 Best of the Best feature. The group fitness curriculum includes sweat-inducing hot yoga, in which limbs bend and stretch in a studio stoked to the ideal temperature, and air classes that suspend students from the ceiling to execute mid-air yoga, ballet, or fitness moves, or—as recently featured on CNN—to nap.
Complementing the fitness classes are lessons in culinary exploration, hosted by head chefs and tour guides that teach small gatherings to craft meals and sip complimentary libations in an on-site kitchen. The fitness studio’s natural-wood floors give way to a wall-mounted Buddha figurine at the head of classes, and his-and-hers locker rooms lavish hard-working muscles with a soothing downpour from overhead showers bred from two prize-winning Amazonian rain clouds.