In all of weight loss, there may be no concept less aptly named than the “low-calorie” diet. That’s because the calorie unit we associate with food actually refers to kilo calories—meaning when we say, “2,000 calories a day,” we actually mean 2,000,000. A calorie is a unit of heat, or energy—specifically, the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. And if the number of calories we ingest is bad news, the upside is that we are burning them all the time.
A certain amount of calories—about 60–75% of the calories you burn each day—are needed to sustain the body's unconscious functions, such as breathing and circulation. Known as basal metabolic rate, the specific percentage depends on factors such as size and body composition, gender, and age (typically, as people get older, fat makes up a larger portion of body weight, causing calories to burn more slowly). Digestion makes up about another 10 percent of the calories burned, leaving physical activity to account for the rest.
During exercise, the muscles contract, causing the body's adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules to break down as the heart continues to pump faster and faster—increasing the body’s demand for more energy. Once the muscles have depleted the day’s caloric intake, they turn to other calorie sources to fuel the fire—making weight loss possible as the body begins to sacrifice fat cells to the god of the treadmill.
There on the wall inside Conan's Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing Academy, next to four World Kickboxing Championship belts, hangs a photograph of founder Scott “Conan” Mincey donning a mustache and shaking hands with one of his numerous mentors, Chuck Norris. In fact, during his 34-year career, Scott has worked with a constellation of martial-arts stars and, since 1996, has brought that experience to his self-titled academy.
Scott teaches recreational and competitive fighting styles to a diverse student base which includes men, women, teens, and children. His classes blend equal doses of self-defense techniques with workouts designed to build lean muscle strength, speed, and endurance. Students can throw jabs in the pursuit of a leaner self, or train for all manners of blood-sporting competition in the gym's boxing ring, octagonal cage, or shark tank.
At each of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness’ locations, trained fitness instructors guide students through a seven-day schedule packed with yoga, boot camp, meditation, and TRX suspension training classes. The modern studios come equipped with infrared heated yoga rooms where students strengthen muscles during yoga poses as the specialized light aims to improve their skin tone and erase their cellulite. During TRX suspension training sessions, exercisers are suspended in the air by belts attached to the ceiling and use their own body weight to fight gravity. The classes are designed for all fitness levels and aim to build long, lean muscles and give guests a place to practice their levitation skills. The studio also schedules kids' yoga sessions designed to increase children’s confidence and provide full-body workouts.
Ever a resilient warrior, Marybeth Davis chose to see the destruction of her New Orleans home by Hurricane Katrina as a direct challenge. Not only did she grit her teeth and rebuild, the mother of four also started her own boot camp. In her capacity as a certified personal trainer, she pulls from her years of experience in championship martial artistry to lead classes for fitness seekers of all abilities. Having overcome weight issues and injuries, Marybeth employs empathy to scale each of her high-intensity workouts to accommodate all fitness levels, from beginners to professional athletes. The coach also strives to create a motivational and non-intimidating community amongst her students, discouraging screaming, insults, or unprovoked outbreaks of water balloon fights.
Providing a safe and nurturing sanctuary for members of the community who wish to balance their bodies and nourish their souls through yoga and meditation. Offering classes in both the Christian and secular(free from religious influence) styles.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.