The pulse-pounding rhythms of Latin dance music reverberate against walls of exposed brick at Total Blast Studio’s sprawling facility, where instructors Claudia, Ariane, and Wimara lead Zumba classes for students of all ages and levels of experience. Zumba Fitness—the studio’s most frequent offering—requires little more than energetic body movement, though Zumba Toning adds free weights for a more challenging workout. Wimara’s Zumbatomic classes introduce the Zumba craze to youngsters with specially choreographed routines set to the latest hip-hop and reggaeton jams. Though comfortable sneakers are a must, the instructors encourage students to have fun with what they wear; bright neon and feathered headdresses are common sights.
Founder Stephanie Flynn's passion for fitness and self-empowerment helped her to become the Bill Phillips Transformation champion in 2009, and she now channels that determination to help others to get fit. Focused on encouraging women held back by low self-esteem, Fit Body's instructors motivate clients through cardio and resistance training while sharing healthy-eating principles to launch a two-pronged assault on fat. Supplemented by accountability and peer support, the programs strive to burn calories in a short time period without forcing clients into starvation diets or extreme workouts such as gator wrestling.
At Conquer the Gauntlet, twenty-five obstacles are whetstones against which racers sharpen their resolve. The 4-mile course will challenge their speed, power, endurance, and resolve as the runners hurl themselves over walls, scale inclines with ropes, and clamber over a sea of cargo nets. Should entrants lose their footing or take an errant step, a wet and watery bath of mud waits beneath. The race starts early in the morning, and each wave of approximately 100 runners pounds across the ground with electronic chips tracking their times. While there are awards for winners in each age category, individual heats are not age specific, allowing participants the chance to compete on equal footing with hardened marathon veterans and uppity toddlers with steel spikes on their rattles.
From beginners to triathletes, YWCA Tulsa provides myriad fitness amenities to men and women alike. Members enjoy unlimited visits to a diverse menu of fitness classes, including yoga, barre, Zumba, and Pilates. Friendly instructors also take their jobs to the water, as students wade through free aquatics class in a junior Olympic-sized pool. After fitness sessions that include access to fully-equipped cardio and weight rooms, visitors can freshen up in clean and expansive locker rooms. For an additional fee, members can also enjoy CrossFit classes or indulge in an on-site massage. Not to forget the young ones, youth swim lessons, swim teams, and free on-site child care are also available.
Bai Lan has been perfecting her dance technique for most of her life. At age 11, she was chosen to attend the prestigious National Ballet school of China, and she continued to dance professionally for more than 20 years, garnering awards at the International Ballet competition and the first Chinese ballet competition. She brings her years of classical ballet training, performance, and teaching methodology to her classes at Bai Lan Studio.
Here, students of all ages and fitness levels can master pirouettes and leaps in ballet, shuffle ball changes in tap, and freeform movements in modern-dance classes. In addition to classic dance classes, she offers fitness-based classes including Pilates, Zumba, and yoga to help patrons carve ballerina-like physiques petite enough to fit into jewelry boxes.
For fitness instructors Julie and Kasey, hosting boot-camp classes is a way to pay it forward. Both women experienced the benefits of circuit-style workouts firsthand—they lost weight and reversed their own unhealthy habits—before deciding to help others to do the same. Together, they lead a variety of exercises during 40-minute indoor sessions that encourage participants to get healthy and take control of their life. For added motivation, students can write their wellness goals on the "goal wall," so they can glance at them during trying wall-sits and restorative wall naps. Elastic bands, dumbbells, and stability balls facilitate strength-building maneuvers, and partner exercises boost camaraderie. Julie and Kasey often participate in the routines alongside their clients, maintaining upbeat attitudes and doling out positive reinforcement.