Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.
Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
In the fitness industry, only a select few exercise pioneers enjoy widespread name recognition. Bikram Choudhury is one of them, and the instructors of Bikram Yoga Everett have earned that name by enduring his legendary nine-week training course. The program also keeps yogis on their toes by requiring recertification every three years. In the intense training sessions, aspiring instructors learn to make use of a heated environment to push the mental focus and muscular endurance of students during the 90-minute classes.
The Bikram Yoga Everett Studio welcomes visitors with a lobby bursting in bright primary colors and a spacious workout room swathed in natural sunlight. The computer-controlled temperature remains evenly regulated throughout the space, and a ventilation system provides a constant supply of fresh air, occasionally pumping in helium for cartoon voiceover workshops. Floors are covered in Zebra yoga mats that dramatically reduce joint strain.
With two locations, long hours, and a bounty of equipment, Emerald City Athletic Club helps its members get in shape, whatever their workout of choice. Gym floors lined with regiments of Precor and Nautilus machines let members work every muscle in their bodies, and the class studios' high-tech sound systems energize Zumba, salsa dancing, and kickboxing sessions and keep stationary cycles from tearing around the room in loneliness each night. Free weights and intricate weight machines hold down the floor of a spacious weight room, where muscle sculptors work up a sweat before winding down in a dry sauna, Turkish steam bath, and hot tub. At the Everett location, an Olympic-style pool, a basketball court, and racquetball and handball courts offer even more variety.