Though she's been expanding viewers' knowledge and awareness as a news anchor for WPXI Channel 11 for close to 20 years, Darieth Chisolm works to enlighten members of her community in a different way off-camera. Chisolm is an avid runner, a certified group fitness instructor, and the owner of Fullbody Fitness Club, where she encourages exercisers to think outside the plyometric box. Her classes and equipment are anything but conventional—guests experience the sensation of being airborne during Jukari Fit to Fly aerial acrobatics classes—the creation of Reebok and the Cirque du Soleil entertainment group. Patrons hang upside down in fabric hammocks during aerial yoga and whirl around 45mm poles during pole-dance fitness sessions. The rooms are outfitted with thick, padded flooring to protect joints and acoustically muffle the squeals of unbridled, endorphin-driven glee.
To lead students safely through her fitness wonderland, Chisolm has gathered a team of certified instructors to teach proper technique and guide people toward their goals. Her studio has been featured in numerous media, including a 2011 story on her own WPXI and the designation of Best Place to Soar to New Heights from Pittsburgh Magazine in 2012. Chisolm also offers patrons several ways to give back to their favorite nonprofit organizations.
Jazzercise, a funk-fueled, head-to-toe regimen, sculpts muscles, boosts energy, and sheds pounds during 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching. It incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Class formats vary too, including special Jazzercises geared to sculpt your bod or literally make you slightly better at saxophone playing. As for the ittie-ditties, childcare is available during select times at many locations.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Equipment: Hand weights, pilates rings, yoga bands, yoga mats
Students should bring: Towel, if needed
Average class length: 60 minute fitness classes, 45 minute Zumba Kids' classes
Number of Staff: 5–10 people, 2 per class
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking; free on the weekends and after 4pm Monday-Friday
Pro Tip: Our aim is to please our customers with great class formats and qualified instructors.
Studio owner Claire's yoga journey began at her middle school's book fair, where a book about yoga caught her eye. On a whim, she took the book home and used it to help her begin at-home practice. Her dedication to the mind-body stayed with her through high school and college, where she wound up majoring in advertising and marketing. After spending some time in the ad field as a professional, she had an epiphany: she didn't believe in anything strongly enough to justify selling it, at least as not as much as she believed in yoga. With a nudge from her supportive husband, Claire decided to combine her passions for business and yoga by obtaining her 200-hour teaching certification and purchasing Yoga Innovations.
Today, Claire and her seven fellow yogis help guide students of all experience levels to greater fitness and healthier lifestyles via challenging and nurturing yoga sessions and core-bolstering Pilates classes. She specializes in power Vinyasa flow, which shepherds students through a series of difficult poses in 90+ degrees, and unheated prenatal yoga—a variation designed to help pregnant women mindfully battle the aches, pains, and pickle-juice cravings associated with pregnancy.
The instructors at Improvement thru Movement believe in promoting health and wellness by dance-based movement. Inside their unique dance studio, bedecked with custom-made barres and a spring dance floor with a nonslip surface, the instructors lead ballet, ballroom, and dance-based exercise classes. Classes are available for all ages and all levels of ability.