While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett 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. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
If scientists ever decide to build a super-athlete from scratch, they might want to consider CrossFit Topeka?s owner and head trainer, Roger Laubengayer, as a model. A two-time Division III football All-American, hapkido black belt, and dedicated marathon runner, Laubengayer can seem more machine than man. His friendly demeanor, however, puts that comparison to rest, and it?s one of the reasons that athletes of all ages and abilities have flocked to his studio to learn about the benefits of CrossFit.
A fully certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Laubengayer leads his students through challenging daily workouts that fuse cardio and strength training. Though workouts vary daily to avoid mind-numbing repetition, most incorporate signature CrossFit exercises such as burpees, pull-ups, pushups, squats, kettlebell drills, weight lifting, and shot-putting cars illegally parked inside the studio.
Office director Dr. Michael Brady, DC oversees the body-contouring therapies that coddle frames in a spa-style environment. Specializing in laser fat reduction, technicians aim to clear bodies of cellulite and excess fat as noninvasively as possible without leaving passive-aggressive notes around the body. Body Shaping with Dr. Brady DC also offers Image Skincare products.
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.
When certified fitness instructor Dawn Markley-Stueven mastered the art of teaching Zumba, she still wasn't satisfied. Hungry for more fitness knowledge, she learned all of the workout's offshoots, including Zumba gold—a slower-paced version for seniors—and Zumba toning, which adds maraca-shaped weights to the dance routines. Her Z Circuit classes are probably the biggest departure from the traditional Zumba workout. These 40-minute classes bookend one-minute resistance-training reps with Zumba moves, sculpting muscles with an ever-varied combination of cardio and strength work.
Dawn hosts all of these lessons at Club Z Style Fitness. Though lively Zumba choreography is her specialty, she also spices up the curriculum at her studio with other offerings, from yoga to boot-camp and personal training. She even takes her expertise into the water with Zumba Aqua and swimming classes held at the YWCA or in any home with a burst pipe.
The closets of the instructors at Topeka Jiu Jitsu Academy must look like the inside of an exploded rainbow, bursting with belts of all colors. Marc Monaco, for example, boasts a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and a third-degree black belt in American jiu jitsu. David Owens and Steve Twemlow each sport a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and black belts in various other disciplines.
With their extensive training, they lead students of all ages through jiu jitsu classes, teaching them submission grappling and advanced techniques. They also help students build the power they need to put their techniques to use in strength and conditioning classes. Their women's self-defense classes show ladies how to safely protect themselves in real-world threatening situations.