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.
With mindful instruction and loving attitudes, Marbles Yoga Studio's certified yoga teachers support each student on their journey to emotional, physical, and spiritual health and wellness. Studio owner Elizabeth Callahan has studied under celebrated yogis such as John Friend and Seane Corn and taught students ranging from multisport athletes to beginners. The studio's class schedule reflects Elizabeth and her fellow instructors’ diverse experience in many yoga styles, offering patrons vigorous Vinyasa flows, strengthening power classes, and soothing, slower-paced restorative classes. Regular workshops scheduled on weekends delve into individual practices, combining meditative exercise with such creative pursuits as painting or using magic markers to fill out tax forms.
At Santé Fitness & Wellness at the Chase Park Plaza, 18,000 square feet of space, an outdoor swimming pool, and an expansive schedule of fitness classes skim the surface of its lavish facility. Guests can take advantage of WiFi, personal TVs, upscale fitness machines, and protein shakes and beverages; personal trainers can plan private Pilates sessions and individual health coaching.
Having practiced since 1997, training under leaders in the field, and serving as the sole yoga instructor for the Kashi company in 2008, owner Brigette Niedringhaus opened Southtown Yoga with the goal of bringing a unique approach to the city yoga-studio concept. In doing so, Brigette built up a schedule replete with a variety of classes held in a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels. The Riverfront Times recognized her efforts by naming Southtown Yoga its Best Yoga Studio in 2008. The staff that helped earned that award features 11 highly trained instructors who guide students through a series of poses during 45- to 90-minute group classes. Slow-paced Basics courses pave the way for Mixed Level sessions that expand on the fundamental concepts, and rooftop classes enable students to mix up the workout scenery, like lifting weights in a phone booth. Classes are available seven days a week, with some sessions beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
With an expansive, 1,200-square-foot sprung hardwood dance floor in its 4,000-square-foot space, Central Studio serves a smorgasbord of healthy lifestyle choices. From Pilates and Zumba to classical ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, its expert instructors lead all manner of dance and fitness classes. Other workouts adopt a rigorous bootcamp style, such as outdoor cardio interval training and cardio barre. Elsewhere, the studio offers massages, Thai healing sessions, and personal training; there’s also an art gallery with work from local artists and a library where you can brush up on the latest health and wellbeing literature.
Rather than relying on awkwardly long hugs, Urban Breath instead welcomes yogis of all ages and skill levels with a variety of classes taught by knowledgeable instructors in a downward-dog-to-earth neighborhood studio. Yoga Basics lets absolute beginners take a crack at yoga for the first time and stretch the cobwebs out of their most haunted joints. From there, take the next step with Hatha yoga, which mines the deep core muscles—increasing flexibility, strength, and balance. For a more-meditative discipline that tightens the body, focuses the mind, and dispels the daily stress of being surrounded by chain-smoking coworkers at the fireworks factory, try Kundalini yoga. The Slow Flow Vinyasa class will lubricate squeaky muscle doors and top off your body-fuel tank with basic meditations, whereas the Happy Hour Yoga class uses upbeat music to energize and boost the mind with Vinyasa-style yoga that makes use of breath-synchronized, flowing poses. Classes take place several times a day, with most lasting 75 minutes. Although you can drop in at any time once you've registered, Urban Breath's WebScheduler lets you check for the latest bad-weather cancellations, teacher-rescheduling changes, and minotaur attacks.
When thinking of gym equipment, most people imagine whirring treadmills and racks of free weights. The names of Pilates machines are more innocuous—chair and barrel, for example—but to the uninitiated, these tools might seem more like pieces in an art gallery. Thankfully, the certified instructors at The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis help to demystify them. They guide clients through exercises that enlist the gliding platform of the Reformer, or the malleable ring that is the Magic Circle, hosting group and private classes for all skill levels.
Owner Karen Prechtl and her team ease new clients into a Pilates practice by customizing their guidance and keeping class sizes small. They emphasize the importance of breath work, proper form, and body awareness during each lesson, helping students to achieve a leaner, more bendable physique without simply telling them to "be the rubber band." For those who prefer a highly personalized approach, one-on-one training utilizes weights, kettlebells, and mat-based floor exercises in addition to the Pilates equipment.