Getting in shape can be really tough. So at Fit For Life, the staff's goal is to make each trip to the treadmill a little brighter with a range of amenities and staff who know your name. The 6,000-square-foot gym not only features a range of cardio and weight equipment, but classrooms that play host to more than 45 Zumba, yoga, body pump, and cycling classes per week. The accommodating schedule—which features sessions ranging from 5:15 a.m. until 8:15 p.m.—offers class times that works with every client's busy life, allowing them to mix up their workout without changing which animal is chasing them this week. While parents are sweating it out on the gym floor, kids can color, do homework, or play video games in the child care facility. After showering, members can cool down with the complimentary cups of coffee and newspapers that fill the gym's lobby.
The dedicated coaches at Hot Mamas Fitness motivate women of all fitness levels through heart-pumping classes, customized meal plans, and single-sex workouts. Members and punch-card holders can commit caloric arson during sweaty Old School aerobics sessions or build strength by lifting barbells and stacks of old Spice Girls CDs during Girl Power classes. PiYo combines Pilates and yoga to develop powerful midsections, and Zumba churns up Latin music and rhythmic dance moves for a session of high-energy shimmying.
Thousands of years before yoga became a fitness craze, healers used it as a preventive form of physical therapy. The yoga instructors at Indra’s Grace still tout the practice’s healing effects through Hatha-style classes. Hatha takes a slow, meditative approach to yoga that links asanas with breathing. The postures stave off stress, pain, and depression as bodies strengthen and participants lengthen from head to toe, as if they were dangling from monkey bars with two kids grasping their ankles. The uplifting practice works best when coupled with holistic-nutrition counseling, which promotes natural, well-rounded eating habits. For those struggling to overcome a specific health issue, private yoga therapy can help alleviate afflictions such as arthritis, headaches, asthma, and the inability to stop barking.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Every graduate of The Premium Institute of Bartending Schools' 34-hour mixology program can count on one thing—being hired as an on-call bartender with Premium Event Staffing, a company that provides staff for private parties and corporate events. Like a pie-fight truce, this guarantee benefits everyone involved. Students get to earn income while they use the institute's job-placement services to find a steady gig at an affiliated bar or elsewhere. Premium Event Staffing in turn gets access to bartenders who have completed the mixology program and who know their way around a muddler.
The reason even the institute's most recent graduates are so comfortable behind a bar isn't that they're wearing footie pajamas under their clothes—it's that classes take place in such a realistic setting. Students work at a bar setup that includes bar guns, liquor bottles, and 14 types of glasses, and they learn to pour on a real draft-beer system. This hands-on approach also characterizes the four-hour introductory classes the school holds for people who wish to learn to make martinis, shots, frozen drinks, or other specialties.
When hairstylist Shelton Ogle opened his first salon at 21, he quickly realized the secret to maximizing the number of gorgeous haircuts he could render: a well-trained staff. So two years later, he opened his beauty school, Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails. Now in its 40th year, the school leverages its accrued experience and knowledge to teach aesthetic arts ranging from skincare to hair coloring. In the school’s salons, students practice on the public, cutting hair into elegant, customized shapes, texturizing strands with relaxers and perms, and highlighting nails with manicures, rather than with rings with built-in strobe lights. A testament to Shelton’s success in building his vision, he was even able to develop a weekly show for PBS about the beauty industry.