Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Wear something loose and comfortable.
Robert Taylor, owner and head instructor at Robert Taylor's Shudo-Kan Karate, has a simple philosophy on teaching martial arts and fitness: "We make it fun," he says. "We understand each person has a different pace, so we push them at their pace, not the pace of the other person." He carries that style of teaching over into all of his classes, from training kids in the earliest steps of karate to helping adults get fighting-fit with muay thai or Zumba classes. He rounds out the schedule with judo, grappling, and weapons form classes, giving students a complete spectrum of training in martial arts both ancient and modern.
Dr. Prakash K. Sojitra believes in keeping his patients informed as much as he believes in good dental hygiene. To make this happen, he first examines for decay in a patient's enamel and bone with thorough exams and x-rays, which also lay out panoramic diagrams of teeth so he can determine bite relationships. The doctor then relates his findings to patients in simple terms so they can make informed decisions about treatment plans. Educated patients, the doctor finds, feel empowered about their dental health and are thus more likely to maintain their dental upkeep instead of waiting for their teeth to develop deeper, more costly problems. In addition, Dr. Praskash sees patients for dental emergencies such as broken teeth, bitten tongues, and infectious smiles; he also spends a good amount of time devising lifetime treatment plans to help prevent such emergencies.
After a lifetime of bodybuilding, owner Austen Di Pirro decided the time had come to share with others his hard-earned knowledge about exercise, diet, and supplements, and thus he opened The Fit Factory. With a stock of products, equipment, and routines built on his knowledge, Austen began to court customers by offering tailored recommendations based on his personal experience to help them achieve the tone and shape of body they desired. He eventually met his wife, Kimberly, when she stopped in for some vitamins, and together they have started a family and expanded the services of The Fit Factory.
Through personal training, the couple helps clients establish long-term goals and break them into bite-sized short-term goals. Austen and Kimberly then promote progress toward these objectives by proffering advice such as which type of training to engage in on a certain day or how long to put one's boss in a headlock before giving up on a raise. Dietary recommendations and supplements purchased from the onsite store aid in reinforcing lifestyle changes outside of the gym. Other instructors offer fitness classes such as cardio kickboxing or group intensity training, which combines the benefits of weight training, Zumba, plyometrics, and TRX resistance training.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Under the guidance of retired Marine Corps officer Master Yee, certified instructors—many of who have won world championships for sparring and weaponry—pass along the ideology that integrity goes hand-in-hand with technique. They honor the school's membership in the American Taekwondo Association by teaching Songahm tae kwon do, a style whose kicks and blocks can be taught to students of all backgrounds. While leading classes for ages 3 and older, they aim to demonstrate the ideal balance between confidence and self-control, displaying maneuvers from brick-breaking strikes to nunchuck spins.
The trainers strive to keep the learning environment friendly and noncompetitive by focusing on each individual's progress. With "positive mental attitude" and "high goal setting" at the top of their teaching priorities, they motivate students to earn advanced belts the honorable way rather than by dipping them into squid ink.
Clint Robinson's U.S. Air Force duty took him around the world, but it was his time in South Korea that made the biggest mark. There, he learned the art of tae kwon do—and the positive fitness and values associated with it. When he returned to the states and left the Air Force, it didn't take long for him to found his own martial-arts school. More than 40 years and 19 locations later, Robinson's Taekwondo continues to thrive on the same principles on which Clint founded his business: excellence, personal attention, and tradition. He now counts children's, adult, and family programs as part of his curriculum. With continued training, students of all ages not only hone their fitness, but also improve their mental sharpness, self-confidence, and discipline.