Adam and Jennifer Pismeny have always been passionate about fitness. They both became involved with sports at a young age: Jennifer enjoyed swimming, cheerleading, and dance, and Adam focused on activities including soccer and BMX racing, qualifying for state-level meets and competitions along the way. Perhaps as a facet of their team-sports experience, the duo also has a long history of helping others. Jennifer, who has struggled with weight concerns, obtained her undergraduate degree in elementary education, and both of them became certified personal trainers to guide other people toward achieving personal health goals.
Along with trainer Joe Boozer, the Pismenys share their knowledge and experience at Hampton Roads Adventure Bootcamp, which is part of one of the largest boot-camp organizations in the world. Their program was designed by fitness expert John Spencer Ellis to build strength and confidence via a combination of motivating, varied workouts and nutritional guidance. The team hosts sessions five days a week all year long, leading groups of about 30 women through exercises that can be modified for all skill levels or any number of extra biceps.
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.
It’s fitting that Grand Slam 2’s name suggests a sequel, as the baseball complex’s team of instructors consists of former collegiate coaches and athletes who continue their involvement in the sport even after hanging up their game-day cleats. In classes, camps, and clinics, these instructors impart their appreciation for baseball as they build their students’ hitting and fielding skills from the ground up. Though the facility’s batting cages play an important role in correcting swings, sessions may also include off-field weight training—this is especially true for pitching classes, which aim to bulk up throwing arms in preparation for more serious competition. At winter and summer hitting academies, bats crack against approaching baseballs like the whip of an exceptionally demanding coach.
Players can put their newfound skills to the test in the Tidewater Bombers baseball program, a competitive, age-appropriate league that imparts the principles of teamwork through live-action games. To prepare for league games, check out Grand Slam 2's pro shop, which stocks bats, gloves, and terrifying masks for psyching out opposing pitchers.
Synergy Health and Fitness doesn't rely on height and weight measurements to determine the proper workout plans for their clients––instead, they turn to a more precise science. Every client's journey toward wellness begins with the Functional Movement Screen, a three-phase clinical assessment of their current physical state and what Synergy refers to as an overall quality of movement. Based on the results, staff can place clients in predetermined or customized workout regimens. These range from supportive personal training to an intensive boot camp to arm-wrestling with a mostly agreeable masked luchador.
All team and personal-training sessions are led by a squad of eight, enthusiastic coaches, each of whom are certified by fitness institutions such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the National Sports and Conditioning Association, and the American Council on Exercise. To help clients delve further into fitness, Synergy operates a gallery of state-of-the-art amenities. Treadmills, ellipticals, and other cardio machines are outfitted with iPod docks to encourage rhythmic sweating, and racks of kettlebells and free-weights enable rigorous resistance workouts. Additionally, a spa-like facility contains private showers and a gallery of skin-care products.
Since 1988, Midlothian Athletic Club has dedicated its 70,000 square feet to myriad forms of achieving healthy living. Whether members want to hone tennis and racquetball skills, break a sweat in group exercise classes such as spinning and BodyPump, or relax in a sauna, they can do it at the MAC. The staff troll a stock of cardio and strength-training equipment, including FreeMotion Elite weight machines, Life Fitness treadmills and ellipticals, and Precor machines, ready to dole out technique pointers. At the indoor pool, swimmers can get a workout on the lap lanes, slip down water slides, or pretend to be toddlers in the kiddie pool. The club also has six indoor lanes, where instructors lead water-aerobics classes that are gentler on joints than moon aerobics.
To help guests recover after a hard workout, the Midlothian Athletic Club hosts many means of relaxation. The massage therapists calibrate their fingers to several styles of kneading, including deep-tissue, Swedish, and myofascial release massage. At the MAC Cafe, chefs sear turkey burgers, bake lime-chili parmesan fries, and blend protein shakes to order for nutritious refueling.
Following handshakes, Stephanie Forbes Hudgins’s preferred greeting for new clients is inspections of their spines. The certified Pilates instructor conducts detailed alignment evaluations as part of introductory sessions, during which she studies new students’ postures, pinpoints their goals, and outlines their medical histories. The consultations enable her to personalize her future lessons—she is well versed in making her exercises easier to accommodate those who are injured, pregnant, or really full. Her studio's policy is one of universal acceptance: guests of every age and experience level are welcome.
The team of instructors' private, duet, and group lessons encompass the focused stretches and core-tightening holds of both classic and modern Pilates, aided by ample tools such as Reformers, chairs, balls, tubing, and TRX Suspension cords. Her staff's curriculum reaches beyond Pilates to include barre fitness and other disciplines. Zumba classes, for example, take visitors through festive cardio-dance routines, and sessions of assisted stretching release muscular tension while ensuring that you don't lunge too deeply and become permanently stuck.