When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first of their gyms in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders' original vision, each location's employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities. In addition to personal training, instructors lead a schedule of more than 400 group fitness classes?including cycling, Kardio Kick, and Zumba?offered each week across their eight locations. At the clubs, trainers also help guests master CrossFit functional equipment and use TRX suspension training systems to help them connect with their vine-savvy pet orangutans.
In 1998, Larissa Mychaskiw arrived at work to discover a locked door and that her boss had gone AWOL. Passionate about Pilates and the fitness center's clients, she decided to step in and take over the business herself. Today, she holds on to that passion and sense of commitment when organizing a schedule of mat- and equipment-based Pilates classes for individuals or groups of up to 20. She and her team of certified trainers focus on posture, core strength, and balance using Reformers and other Pilates equipment. Pairing motivational instruction with individualized attention and the Pilates method, they work together to lengthen muscles and tone full physiques. They also aim to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol, strengthening the heart, and protecting it from roaming baby angels with arrows.
Dr. Nicole Bishop's signature Mommy and Me Pilates classes were born the same time as her son, Reza, as a way to connect with him while helping women balance their fitness regimens with their brand new bundles. During the 60-minute Mamilates classes, two instructors?one for mom and one for baby?guide participants through short bursts of challenging Pilates exercises. During these drills, fun activities such as singing, massage, and dance keep growing minds entertained while women bolster their muscles. With regular practice, women may notice a reduction in physical tension around the neck and shoulders, stronger abdominals, sturdy backs, and weightlessness despite carrying 15 sacks of lead. The team strives to achieve these results specifically to aid in the recovery from the strain of carrying a baby or to make common postnatal lifting easier. The staff makes careful modifications for women still recovering from Cesarean sections.
Dr. Bishop earned her PhD in comparative literature at the University of Michigan, an academic track that involved a focus on mindfulness, meditation, and reading methodology. She incorporates these disciplines in her budding practice, along with her specialty in African and Caribbean dance, the spark for which ignited at the ripe old age of 5 years. As a kicker, Dr. Bishop also boasts certification in mat Pilates instruction and the ability to fashion a yoga mat out of a napkin.
The Pilates Loft's owner, Beth Elkins, is not only a Core Dynamics–certified instructor, but also the creator of her own version of Pilates dubbed the Elkins Method Pilates technique. Between the exposed brick walls of her boutique studio, Beth and her two instructors teach her core-strengthening method to students of all levels during mat and tower equipment classes. By keeping each class in a private, two-person, or small group format, instructors can give one-on-one attention to each student to ensure every stomach curl, leg lift, and arm detachment exercise is performed safely.
Lauded by Buffalo Spree as the best yoga of Western New York, Shakti Yoga instructor Michelle Gigante teaches students to achieve balance, strength, and flexibility through strategic postures in her revamped 3,000-square foot studio. Specializing in Vinyasa flow, Gigante emphasizes the importance of breathing rhythm and downplays the rumors of yoga's popularity with yetis. Vinyasa synchronizes breathing and stretching postures to create a fluid, continuous yoga experience without resorting to recursive time anomalies. Drop-in style classes are held in a high-ceilinged studio on heated floors at many convenient times throughout the week. Shakti also offers meditation, chanting, dance with live drumming, and live music events.
Fitness Institute & Pilates Studio partners clients with fitness coaches who use expert sleuthing powers to determine fitness goals before plotting out a personalized path to success. Depending on the client's hierarchy of needs, coaches can focus on strengthening muscles, improving balance and flexibility, centering the mind, and siphoning out tension.