A Redken Premier school, The Salon Professional Academy staffs an elite team of certified teachers, each of whom boasts more than 10 years of industry experience and a passion for education. Director of Education Chris Gould garnered 16 years of experience training with well-known brands such as Vidal Sassoon, Jacques Dessange, and Yosh Toya, before opening the academy to share her savvy with top local talent. Up-and-coming hair stylists, cosmetologists, and aestheticians meet for full-time, hands-on classes that dispense wisdom on products, body treatments, and the most effective way to relax tense mannequins. Armed with scissors, enthusiasm, and on-trend taste, advanced students head onto the floor to perform salon services on real clients under the watchful eyes of their teachers.
Named St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 2010, Main Street Gym owner Wendy Black invigorates limp limbs and un-buff thoraxes with her more than 10 years of personal-training experience. In a six-week boot-camp session held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, crews of 15 or fewer huffers and puffers stretch and strain together in one-hour workouts twice a week. Evening sessions at 7 p.m.—led by trainer Marcel Walker—pump up the after-work crowd. Black leads 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. sessions so early risers can achieve their morning sweat without power-lifting medicine balls full of boiling-hot coffee. In addition, a one-on-one consultation will compile body measurements, past workout history, and a cardiovascular assessment to address personal-fitness and nutritional goals and to help barbell adherents overcome their deep-seated fear of aerobics. See Main Street Gym's online schedule for details.
Armed with various facilities, group classes, and state-of-the-art equipment, 24 Hour Fitness molds amorphous adobe muscles into rock-solid flesh houses. Each location boasts cardio equipment, free weights, a steam room, and group exercise classes so social gym junkies can motivate each other. Group cycling sessions burn calories and increase energy levels, and Latin dance-influenced Zumba classes present a fun, dynamic way to slim meat suits. Before breaking a sweat, check the online schedules for upcoming times.
As a Pivot Point member school, the Academy of Beauty has been offering top-notch cosmetology training for aspiring mane tamers and skin smoothers for more than 25 years. At the academy salon, noodle nests are nurtured by student stylists working under the watchful eyes of licensed educators and Adonia, the Greek goddess of Brazilian blowouts. Each haircut begins with a relaxing scalp massage to lull scared strands out of hiding before shampooing, snipping, and shaping them to the height of follicular fashion. Brighten dull dreads with all-over color (a $30+ value), lift lazy locks with a perm (a $35+ value), or loosen tress tension brought on by years of supporting your many fruit hats with a relaxer (a $45+ value).
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
Founder and owner of Crossfit St. Charles, Kim Wilkes, leads a task force of experienced, certified coaches in calibrating athletic, healthy bodies during one-hour strength-training and conditioning classes. CrossFit helps fitness-seekers tone and build muscles and amplify endurance through exercises that involve power-lifting, cardio routines, kettlebells, and bench-pressing characters from Transformers. Gymnastics-inspired movements, such as handstand push-ups and ring-dipping muscle-ups, challenge athletes to stretch bodies to their threshold in a manner not often offered at traditional gyms. Limited class-sizes allow each trainee to receive individualized attention from coaches and count fellow participants with the fingers on their two hands or the two hands of someone else. The trainers at Crossfit St. Charles also impart nutritional knowledge by providing pupils with advice on how to properly energize bodies. Morning and evening classes populate the gym's schedule to accommodate both A and B personalities.