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.
Xenon International Academy's accredited beauty-school curriculum trains fledgling spa and salon technicians in the ways of the scissors and the cucumber slice. These able aesthetician aspirants perform the Academy's variety of services under the watchful eye of a licensed and experienced instructor. With a customized facial treatment ($30), they'll replace your face's neon-green glow with a healthier radiance by cleansing, exfoliating, and balancing dizzy skin tissue. An acne-clearing treatment ($36–$40) targets and evicts any insurgent blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed redheads that have been vandalizing your pores. Broken, tattered, or torn nails can be carefully repaired for $3, and more ambitious customers can luxuriate in a complete French manicure ($18–$19) before chasing it with a spa pedicure ($24–$25) in a throne chair salvaged from the spa in Tutankhamun’s tomb. A trained sculptor of scalp whiskers can tame your hairy head monster into a stylish new 'do ($7–$8), then color it ($28–$30) so that you blend in with the fall foliage and evade hungry ogres on quiet walks through the forest.
The SugarBabies—a nonprofit girls' baton-twirling team—teaches youngsters the finer points of showmanship during classes that span three levels of expertise. Techniques such as the helicopter and the double-leg roll push the boundaries of physics and require intense coordination, precise execution, and an abiding hatred of Isaac Newton. The artistic nature of this sport gives girls a chance to express themselves creatively, and sharing the experience with other athletes fosters friendships. Once newly minted spinners are up to speed, they can leap into the limelight at any of the SugarBabies events, including appearances at parades, fairs, and theme parks.
Club Fitness makes exercise accessible, offering dozens of group classes to participants of all fitness levels at more than 20 locations throughout the St. Louis area. Teams of instructors lead lessons in activities such as cycling, ab-focused exercises, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, and Zumba aerobics.
Aspiring bar- and beam-dwellers find supportive instruction at Team Central Gymnastic Academy and Olympiad Gymnastic Training Centers, which mold everyday children into lithe lads and lasses. A wide selection of classes are available for sprouts of all ages. The Tumble Bee program allows wee ones from 18 months to 3 years old to bounce into fitness, and older flip fanatics may start in a beginning boys or girls class, or catapult straight into age-appropriate trampoline and tumbling.
When Olympiad Gymnastic Training Centers opened its doors for the first time, it counted only 16 students on its roster. That was in 1979, and more than 30 years in business later, the gym has grown considerably. It now counts 10 locations and more than 150 employees to its name. Despite the changes to its size, the training centers maintain the original gym's mission to help children find health, happiness, and confidence through gymnastics. Olympiad's areas of study, open to boys and girls, include not only gymnastics, but tumbling, cheerleading, and trampolining.