Against the serene backdrop of the Appalachian Mountain foothills, the ancient Eastern traditions of aikido and yoga are alive and well. Blue Ridge Aikido & Yoga’s cofounder Irene Malochowky is a registered nurse and certified yoga instructor equipped with exactly the skill set she needs to help students safely discover their bodies’ potential during gentle or challenging yoga sessions. As a certified advanced teacher in cardiac yoga, yoga for osteoporosis, and yoga for multiple sclerosis (MS), she is uniquely positioned to help students who struggle with injuries or chronic health issues. The studio’s cofounder Ron Malachowsky has achieved the rank of sandan in aikido—the equivalent of a third-degree black belt. He infuses his martial-arts practice with mindfulness and body-awareness principles from yoga, which he has practiced for over 20 years. The result is a marital-arts class that not only teaches self-defense techniques but also the mental focus and discipline required to get through to you inner child when he’s busy texting.
Roanoke Valley CrossFit cultivates a community of like-minded athletes of all backgrounds, body types, and skill levels who challenge one another to push their bodies to peak physical fitness and performance. Unlike traditional exercise routines, CrossFit emphasizes constantly varied exercises built on functional movement, bolstering strength and flexibility with workouts such as kettlebells, medicine balls, running, jumping, and rowing. Helmed by Naval Special Operations veteran and CrossFit champion Tim Maverick, and staffed by experienced coaches, Roanoke Valley CrossFit helps everyday people build muscle, burn fat, and boost their stamina without the use of treadmills, ellipticals, or inflatable muscles. Students train under the watchful eye of skilled instructors during outdoor CrossFit classes in the park, indoor Olympic weightlifting courses, and kids' conditioning sessions.
When discussing pole dancing with reporters from WDBJ7, Jenni Waters explained, "It's strength, agility, you need to be graceful, and it takes a lot of technique to really master the pole dance art." During Jenni's own quest to conquer the dance's challenging poses and physically demanding combinations, she shed 40 pounds of unwanted baby weight. Delighted by the results, Jenni decided to open her own pole-dance studio, where she leads students toward slimmer and stronger selves through a variety of instructional and fitness-focused classes.
Towering chrome poles sprout up from the studio's floor, where dancers practice sultry swings and core-strengthening spins. Jenni opens her classes to students of all sizes, genders, and experience levels, welcoming students to wear whatever they most feel comfortable in?from erotic 6-inch heels to more conservative Vote for Benjamin Harrison T-shirts.
Run by a family of fitness gurus, Spa Fit makes charismatic fitness coaching during group exercise classes one of its highest priorities, second only to making sure gym-goers properly match sweatbands to leotards. Improve posture and reduce muscle tension with a series of floor and standing poses during yoga classes, or send puny core muscles through a brawn-building assembly line during Pilates sessions. With the 60-minute Cycle-Lates classes, students spend half the time burning calories on a cardio bike and the other half building lean, toned muscles doing mat Pilates exercises. Meanwhile, Zumba classes provide high-energy sweat sessions, during which fitnessmongers of all ages and experience levels tone their bodies by performing kinetic Latin-dance-inspired moves to the rhythms of motivating music or the tense sounds of a Stephen King audio book.