Jefferson City CrossFit's minimalistic approach to fitness is evident in its sparse 1,700-square-foot studio, aptly dubbed "The Box". In lieu of complicated cardio and strength machines, it holds barbells, pull-up bars, and medicine balls—all of the back-to-basics essentials that make CrossFit such a challenging workout. From the novice exerciser to the seasoned athlete, these fitness tools work to sculpt muscles and burn calories quickly during ever-changing workouts of the day.
Founder Rachel Curtis drew on her faith when starting P31 Fitness—the name derives from a passage about women in the Bible's Book of Proverbs—but also on her extensive health and wellness background. After finding a need for women's exercise classes, she and her husband developed P31, which grew into scores of franchises across the country. P31 offers women support in their fitness goals as exercisers challenge themselves, aiming to achieve spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical happiness. The fitness modalities include cardiovascular, kickboxing, Pilates, and circuit-training sessions, among others.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Crusher Race tests runners on more than just their ability to run. The event’s three separate races—a 5K course, a 10K course, and a 10K+ course—contain a fair amount of running paths, but also a slew of natural and man-made obstacles that test runners’ strength, endurance, and ability to bake mud pies that hold their shape. The Crusher beginner 5K course introduces runners to the obstacle course format with a collection of tunnels, hills, and walls. In Crusher 2, more experienced racers can exercise their legs in a 10K course that contains a higher number of obstacles. Intended for athletes, endurance runners, and experienced CrossFit exercisers, the Colossal Crusher is a three-part event set in the middle of a 10K+ course. Challenges are divided into three parts: fitness, endurance and obstacles, and a mystery event. In the first portion, participants tackle six different stations before navigating through obstacles and a 10K+ run. The event culminates with a fitness challenge that is more surprising than any Choose Your Own Adventure plot twist.
Named by Inside Columbia magazine as the best place for yoga in 2011 and 2012, alleyCat Yoga's serene yoga sanctuary hosts daily classes for students of all ages. One of the studio's teachers, Susan Mathis, draws on the teachings of Swami Kripalu, a celebrated yogi often associated with the insightful practice known as "meditation in motion." To apply the practice, students progress through stages of relaxation, physical postures, and meditation to establish connections between the mind, body, and spirit.
The well-rounded team of certified instructors also leads classes rooted in their respective specialties, including Hatha yoga, the more intense Vinyasa tradition, and gentler yoga classes for students who've only interacted with downward-facing dogs while pet-sitting. Susan's branch of kid-friendly yoga, called Yoga to Grow, helps children as young as 20 months stretch their rapidly growing bodies and sparks imaginations with stories, games, and songs.