After honing her basketball, softball, and volleyball skills in high school, Kelly Williams graduated to a new role: early-morning workout queen at the local gym. Despite this illustrious title, her love of fitness began to fade. Before long, she wondered if she liked to move at all. Luckily, hot yoga classes quelled her doubts. Filled with exercises that challenged her definition of working out, these routines rekindled her passion for exercise and inspired her to open Bikram Yoga Toledo. Here, instead of jogging and pedaling to summon sweat, yogis glisten like the sun’s diamond tiara as they pose in a torrid classroom. In addition to making muscles more pliable, the heat helps oust toxins from the body. Led by a certified instructor, each class revolves around 26 Hatha-inspired poses sequenced by yoga master Bikram Choudhury. Paired with two deep-breathing exercises, these beginner-friendly bends and balances tone muscles and push oxygen through the bloodstream to foster full-body wellness. After class, students can retire to the locker rooms, where hot showers dissolve pent-up stress and sweatbands fashioned from Fla-Vor-Ice pops.
Personal trainer Vince Ceniceros was at a crossroads in his life: “I was rehabbing houses at the time and it was either keep rehabbing houses or try to open a business,” he told the Toledo Blade. Staying true to his risk-taking nature, he took a chance and it paid off with the debut of Extreme Cycling by Vince. His once 2,800-square-foot space has now blossomed into a 8,200-square-feet gym with the addition of the Extreme Cardio Center, which hosts spin, TurboKick, and TRX classes.
Ceniceros’s success lies in his effective fitness method, a mix of cardio, strength, and muscle work that not only boosts patrons’ stamina, but also helps them shed weight. His workouts pull techniques from muay thai, boxing, isometrics, and other approaches to allow students to work within their individual fitness levels. Some of his signature moves include the Sugar Cookie pushup jump—a combo that’s anything but sweet—and the Mountain Climber, which challenges exercisers to lean on their fists in a plank position and ascend an imaginary peak while fending off hungry mountain goats.
A multi-time national champion himself, sixth-degree karate black belt and Ohio Martial Arts Hall of Famer Jeff Gears is passionate about helping people reach their goals. This is true whether a student is looking to tone up or become proficient in a new sport. Each instructor at Jeff Gears MMA has been hand-picked not only based on their martial-arts proficiency, but for their ability to relate their experience to students at all skill levels. Kids classes are available in karate, and adults can choose from muay thai, cardio kickboxing, or krav maga self-defense sessions.
At Refresh Center for Wellness & Cosmetic Therapy, there’s an on-staff specialist for almost every aesthetic need. Two registered nurses perform Botox and dermal-filler injections, and two Xtreme Lashes stylists apply extensions to peepers. The staff also includes licensed massage therapists and makeup artists, all of whom make use of green products free of parabens, artificial dyes, sulfates, and cooties. At the helm of the ship is Dr. Afser Shariff, a board-certified surgeon tasked with overseeing all noninvasive cosmetic procedures.
Helmed by veteran personal trainer Jeff de Groff, HomeBody Xtreme Fitness tailors workouts to suit the needs and schedules of anyone looking to get or stay in shape. A schedule of daily boot camps, kickboxing classes, and weightlifting sessions is available at Jeff’s well-equipped gym, which is home to free weights and punching bags. For those too busy to travel to the gym, meanwhile, Jeff brings his expertise and portable fitness equipment with him for custom in-home sessions that incorporate resistance training, stretching, and plyometrics.