Since 1990, Power Shack Fitness Centers have fostered a casual, low-stress ambiance at its four locations, eschewing the large crowds and intimidating vibes of many mainstream gyms. A retinue of nationally certified personal trainers is on hand to craft custom workout plans for members, acquainting them with the gym?s array of free weights, cardio machines, and functional training equipment. Group fitness classes are also led by nationally certified instructors. Offerings include barbell conditioning, yoga, spinning, dance, and power grunting. Depending on the location, you can also take advantage of tanning amenities or pick up nutritional supplements.
Purpose Yoga’s instructors know how difficult it can be to find time during a busy day for yoga’s quiet and concentration. During lunchtime three days a week, they host a 45-minute session where visitors can recharge their batteries and enjoy lunch options such as veggie or tuna wraps. At their other weekly sessions, the teaching team leads up to 60 students of all levels through power, Hatha, and hot yoga. Classes range from slow-paced beginner Hatha sessions to sunrise yoga and one-hour full-body workouts with the studio’s temperature cranked between 90 and 95 degrees.
When they aren’t deepening their visitors’ meditative states, the instructors prep the next generation of yoga gurus during a nine-month teacher-training program that explores 71 yoga poses, the Sanskrit language, anatomy, and more. After sessions, co-owner and licensed massage therapist Jessica Hardisky further relaxes muscles with massage styles such as Thai yoga, prenatal, and hot stone.
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.
Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
Yoga on High serves as the focal point for a growing community of yoga enthusiasts dedicated to diverse, yet related practices. The studio caters to such a wide range of interests by employing more than 30 instructors. Each instructor possesses a unique yoga philosophy that complements the studio's overall goal of creating a welcoming environment for students of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, Yoga on High's comprehensive teacher-training programs swell the studio's community by fostering the next generations of impassioned instructors.
At Yoga on High, the instructors embrace three core styles of practice. Iyengar-based Hatha classes emphasize physical alignment and mind-body awareness. Ashtanga sessions invigorate students with more active poses and a heated studio space that can reach 80 degrees. Vinyasa classes teach attendees to link breath with movement, creating seamlessly transitioning asana sequences. However, the studio doesn't limit itself to these three styles. In addition to aerial yoga and Pilates, the schedules include specialty classes that explore different aspects of yoga?meditation, breathing techniques, prop-assisted recovery poses?in greater depth.
Michele Mangione thought she might never dance again after a car wreck smashed her skull and fractured four fragile vertebrae. By practicing yoga, she regained her mobility and acquired a new passion: helping others find health and happiness through movement. To this end, she eagerly studied the mind-body connection, earning a PhD in the topic from Ohio State and an advanced teaching certification from the Yoga Alliance. Armed with extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and philosophy, she founded WiseWays, a studio that blends Hatha yoga with healing arts, such as tai chi, structural integration, and the Feldenkrais method of somatic education. Here, students of all skill levels build strong bodies, centered minds, and spirits as buoyant as the studio's suspended-wood floor. Yoga instruction takes place in one-on-one sessions and small-group classes, where pupils hone poses that gently unlock hips, shoulders, and safes filled with middle-school-era diary entries. As strength and flexibility increase, students progress to sun salutations that cultivate balance, focus, and a pervasive sense of calm.