At Initial TKD Martial Arts, Ms. Ke and Mr. D.—third-degree black-belt instructors and winners of the 2009 Illinois State Championship in Forms—combine 26 years of experience to foster strength and increased self-confidence in students aged 4 and older through tae kwon do practices. The duo operates under the philosophy that students flourish best in an atmosphere without pressure, and in order to foster a stress-free environment, the instructors personalize lessons to fit individual pupils’ needs. Natural light bathes the hardwood floors within the studio, and an area dedicated to viewers allows parents or guardians to watch their child, spouse, or ambitious pet kangaroo ascend through the dojo’s colored-belt system.
At YK Martial Arts, students train and learn in a rigorous yet supportive environment where instructors marry technique with the principles of respect, discipline, and compassion. A 6th dan black belt in tae kwon do and a 5th dan black belt in hapkido, Grandmaster Yong-ki Yoon leads a seasoned group of instructors. Classes can help develop the motor skills of children aged 3 and older and work with adults to challenge and improve flexibility, fitness, and energy levels.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number more than 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
All of the trainers at Nate's Premium Athletes hold exercise-science degrees with athletic-training minors. They use this expertise to develop training programs that focus on their clients' individual weaknesses, such as strength, balance, and agility. So far, the trainers have worked with more than 85 Division I athletes.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across 19 different states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
Combining his combat training with his takedown expertise earned during a stint on the U.S. Navy wrestling team, pro MMA fighter Nick Janowitz opened his own mixed-martial-arts gym to help others hone their battle skills. Patriot Boxing hosts several results-oriented programs that lead patrons of all fitness levels in ring-ready punches, strength drills, and grappling holds. The gym is divided into specialized arenas built to host a multitude of fighting styles and conditioning. A brigade of 20 heavy hanging bags absorbs kickboxing pummels, and competition-size wrestling mats and a fight cage cushion combat. Conditioning classes are furnished with battling ropes and oversize tires, which when combined can become tire swings for rhinos. Patrons can seek personalized guidance with private training seminars, and occupy their youngsters during workouts with kids' classes and activities in the onsite playroom.