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.
Certified personal fitness trainer Ken Williams’ boot camps were voted Hampton Roads' best in 2011 by the Virginian-Pilot, and he was honored in NV Magazine’s 2011 Movers & Shakers list, a designation for outstanding business people who prove “anything is possible.” Today, he captains a crew of certified trainers in his boot-camp programs while also offering private training and diet coaching. Believing his boot camps can benefit anyone, he trains clients of every stripe, from those looking to shed fat to competitive bodybuilders to local celebrities such as WVEC News 13’s Benita Adams. Each of his workouts aims to challenge fitness seekers both physically and mentally, much like solving math problems with a 130-pound bronze pencil.
In addition to helping clients along the path to healthier selves, Ken commits himself to offering a hand in the local community. He provides motivational speeches at local schools to encourage healthy habits among youth, and conducts food and supply drives for local homeless shelters Haven House and ForKids, Inc.
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.
Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn’t even exist 20 years ago, much like “I survived Y2K” bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn’t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.
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.