On 10 a.m. on the first day of 2013, City Park's Great Lawn will fill with people ready to start the year off not with a resolution, but a commitment—a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. They'll run, walk, or jay-walk through the park and Marconi Drive on the flat, fast course, which it circles back to the Great Lawn where they started. After the race, runners can stick around for a post-race party to celebrate a successful first morning of the New Year.
In more than 30 cities across the nation, other runners will be participating in similar events as part of a movement that aims to stymie the rising rates of obesity and inaction in the United States.
Though its original incarnation in 1906 as a factory building may have produced gears and pieces, St. Louis Fitness Factory currently acts as a full-service gym creating newly chiseled humans. That's because it fills its 18,000 square feet and four levels with ellipticals, treadmills, weight machines, and cardio classes that help its members shed pounds and tone muscles. Its nutritionists and certified trainers further the fitness goals of members with diet advice.
From the muscle-burning exertion of a personal-training session to the tension melting luxury of a Swedish massage, Solera Health Club & Spa furnishes everything a body needs to stay primed and polished. Three separate rooms filled with cardio machines, resistance machines, and free weights make up the health club, where personal trainers lead individuals through tailored routines designed to help them reach their fitness goals. To chisel the body for less dough, group personal-training classes give the same guidance as one-on-one sessions by giving each student one minute on each machine, creating a regimen akin to a relay race or a speed-dating session with the Transformers.
It's a different experience in the spa, where massage therapists and aesthetic experts help melt away the pain of strenuous workouts with a host of soothing treatments. Nine types of massage incorporate aromatherapeutic oils or warm volcanic stones to send muscles into a blissful stupor. Body wraps, scrubs, and facials, meanwhile, draw out impurities from the skin to leave exteriors hydrated and youthful.
• For $63, new members get a two-month household metro membership plus joining fee (a $252 total value). • For $42, new members get a two-month adult metro membership plus joining fee (a $166 total value). • For $15, current members get $30 toward a class or program.
The Dollhouse Studios' certified instructors coax sensuality and self-assurance out of shrinking violets with Sexy Sculpt for women of every experience level. Each class stresses the power of female fellowship and toughens cores with such workout routines as pole spins, Zumba, and kickboxing drills. Specialty workshops and pole-dancing parties teach climbing and twirling techniques within a private setting and stage races to the top of radio-tower antennas. The Dollhouse Studios battles obesity through its D.O.L.L.S. Project, which hosts shimmying sessions for corporate groups and sponsors 5K walks for diabetes and heart-disease research with its Whip My Hair outreach initiative.
Chris and Pam Schmick had spent six months cleaning out the scrap metal from their abandoned silos and just finished drilling thousands of holes in its walls. With little time to spare, they prepared for their climbing gym's grand opening on September 2, 1995—a date on which they had already agreed to hold a regional JCCA competition. The effort they've expended in the nearly 20 intervening years shows: today, climbers scramble on top ropes, lead ropes, and more than 20,000 square feet of lava-free climbing surface.
Instructors prepare visitors to surmount the gym's features in a range of classes, such as Rock Gym 101, which is an introduction to top-rope climbing that covers climbing safety, basic technique, and equipment. Once climbers are equipped with gear from the pro-shop, staff shows them around a multi-level bouldering cave, a main climbing area with 30-foot walls shaped by arêtes, cracks, and waves, and the building's five original silos. Elsewhere inside the gym, six auto-belays safely cradle visitors who wish to climb without taking a class.