Wherever Sonia Kang has gone, she has always found a place to exercise. While earning her business degree from Arizona State University, she always managed to squeeze a few dance classes into her schedule—a mental and physical flexibility she continued to hone while working at a PR firm in Boston and enrolling in classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Center. Ultimately, Kang supplemented her bachelor of science with an avalanche of certifications, including those from the Pilates Method Alliance and the Yoga Institute. After digging her way out from the mountain of paper, Kang founded Weon Keyong Health Center, where she and a team of instructors help others keep their own planners filled with Pilates classes that challenge physiques with a full-body workout. For more personalized attention, the teachers offer semiprivate classes—capped at four students each, as most end up stretching their torsos to become 10 feet tall—and host an array of workshops that focus on topics such as nutrition and working out with specially designed towels.
Dance can be healing. Studio founder Christie knows this better than anyone, having turned to sensual dance as an outlet after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her newfound practice not only set her on a healthier path, it also made her feel more confident and feminine as well. She was hooked, and opened Express MiE to share that same feeling with other women.
Today, Christie and her staff start each of Express MiE’s sultry fitness classes with a guided meditation. That’s because the studio prioritizes finding and trusting inner beauty over learning snazzy pole tricks. And while the moves are certainly sensual, they’re inspired less by the promiscuity of romance novels or flirtatious barbershop poles than by techniques from ballet, ballroom, and belly dancing. This winning combination led the Phoenix New Times to name the studio Best Place to Learn to Pole Dance in 2010, noting that the instructors “are serious about developing core strength and six-pack abs by wrapping and gyrating around poles and cheering each other on.”
While working as a personal trainer, Skye Roberts stepped back and surveyed the fitness scene. She saw a needle of female personal trainers in a haystack of male personal trainers. She heard her female clientele complaining about the bodybuilding culture at male-oriented gyms. Having seen and heard enough, she felt compelled to create a female-oriented fitness regimen and open a women-only health club. Today, at Luna Fitness of Tempe, she and her all-female staff preach the Luna Fitness Program, which strives to help women understand their monthly cycles and alleviate their symptoms through diet, exercise, and awareness of the lunar phases. Underneath this comprehensive umbrella, staff members stage their mix of physically, mentally, and emotionally centered services. They schedule Zumba, yoga, and signature fitness classes when calories are napping to catch flab off-guard, and they offer an array of services, such as acupuncture, life coaching, hypnotherapy, spray tanning, and massage therapy, to round out well-being.
Tony Pearson and TJ de Angelis don't lean on their college educations to train athletes. Instead, they draw on years of competitive athletic experience ranging from Division I football at Oklahoma State University to Division II baseball at New Mexico Highlands University. When they offer advice on dealing with a sports-related injury or disability, they know it from firsthand experience. Together, the two trainers help young athletes and their families find a balance by creating a training platform that addresses every aspect of the athlete, including the part of them that wants to fit into their high school-prom tux again.
Omnibalance's trainers mostly work to design functional exercise programs to improve exercisers’ mental and physical strength. By creating regimens that improve endurance and physical capabilities, the team of trainers can prepare their students for specific sports or provide all-around athletic training for young athletes or anyone seeking to gain a greater degree of wellness.
At Hegel Yoga, instructors delve deep into yogic studies with classes that teach postures, breathing, and meditation. The studio offers a unique, eight-week yoga anatomy class that teaches how the muscles, breath, and respiratory systems interact with each other during each movement and pose throughout a yoga practice. Instructors also nurture each student?s exploration of Ashtanga technique, with beginning level classes that focus on foundational postures, movements, and mindful breathing.
As students progress they build strength and endurance through standing postures, while slower floor postures help release tension in the hips and spine. Hegel also offers open practice sessions, where students may practice alongside an instructor. These sessions allow students to work in a meditative space at their own pace with movement and breathing guiding the class.
The trainers at Ultimate Body Boot Camp forage through the workout wilderness to curate a fitness omnibus. They pull from multiple exercise styles—including Pilates, plyometrics, kickboxing, yoga, and core work—to build workouts that combine the benefits of cardio and resistance training. This earned the program a top spot on Arizona Foothills magazine's Best of Our Valley list for 2012.
To keep clients' muscles from hitting the wall, getting bored, or taking off in the dead of night to pursue a career as an anatomy textbook model, coaches change the routine each class and give campers personalized tips to fuel individual journeys. Body-composition tests and nutritional plans augment the sessions, inspiring long-lasting habits for healthy physiques.