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.
The Dollhouse Studios' certified instructors coax sensuality and self-assurance out of shrinking violets with pole and dance fitness classes 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.
• 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.
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.
The River-City MMA team consists of a yoga instructor, personal trainers, and coaches specialized in boxing and Brazilian jujitsu. Seven days a week they help clients work on their bodies in a space that boasts a matted area for practicing muay thai and jujitsu, a boxing ring, and a workout area stocked with resistance-training machines and yoga balls. Group fitness classes include yoga and cardio kickboxing, which are designed to improve clients' flexibility and endurance.
Certified in CrossFit, Strongman, and Olympic lifting, experienced owner Andrew Essig leads the team at CrossFit Gambit. Together they teach the CrossFit system to enhance all 10 fitness factors, including endurance, strength, speed, and agility. Through intense exercises that employ functional movements while using a variety of weights and tools, instructors prep their charges for every kind of physical activity—from sports to work-related activities to daily chores, such as hammer throwing an empty gallon of milk into the recycling bin. They keep everyone engaged through positive reinforcement and team spirit, and they change up routines daily to avoid the drag of repetition.