Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
The instructors at Kaivalya Yoga believe that, like yoga practitioners themselves, the rules of yoga should be highly flexible. They pioneer fresh approaches to Vinyasa techniques inside their University Square studio with the aim of inducing kaivalya—a state of freeing personal enlightenment. Heated and nonheated classes cover fluid posture transitions that synchronize breath with stretching rather than having students take one long breathing break halfway through class. Each session aims to eradicate the body's toxins and boost mental clarity, whether students are attending a free beginners workshop or hefting small weights during Power Sculpt.
Many of the teaching staff joined the yoga movement to combat physical ailments, such as slipped disks or chronic migraines, and now they deepen their practice through Kaivalya's inventive curriculum. They inject posing sequences with pieces of individual flair—Hally Marlino's classes embrace freestyle Vinyasa set to music, and director of teacher training Alex Pfeiffer leads groups through spiritually focused, dance-like routines. Certified massage therapists are also on hand to work muscles into an even noodlier state with Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports modalities.
Kaivalya Yoga's central location is no accident. Owners Dave and Tim met at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1998 and maintain ties with the school as an employee and a graduate student, respectively. They've engineered their venue and schedule to suit the student population: classes provide a meditative escape close to home, scheduling never interferes with Wisconsin Badgers games, and the boutique carries chic headbands, T-shirts, and hoodies from their exclusive Mad Yogi clothing line, ideal for moving from dorm to dining hall to yoga studio in comfort.
At CrossFit 262, John Schmidt?an NCSA certified coach and former All-American wrestler?does the same exercises as a child or a senior citizen. That's because CrossFit varies its workouts by intensity, but not by skill level. During introductory CrossFit 101 sessions, John and the rest of the staff teach newcomers all of the prerequisite movements for classes, including deadlifts, squats, cleans, and rope-climbing. The gym also hosts CrossFit Unloaded classes, which utilize lighter weights and don't require the CrossFit 101 series as a prerequisite.
Equipment: Barbells, bumper plates, kettlebells, medicine balls, gymnastics rings
Students Should Bring: Separate gym shoes, bottle of water, towel if desired
Average Class Length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class Location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration Required: Yes
Good for Beginners: Yes
Guests Allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: You will be learning many new movements. It's perfectly normal to feel awkward or weird at first.
A former private detective and bodyguard, Tim draws upon his firsthand experience to teach self-defense skills and safety procedures at Wisconsin Concealed Carry Training Academy. In courses with or without a shooting component, the NRA-certified instructor creates an interactive, comfortable environment for students to learn about safe weapon handling and storage, the parts of a firearm, and state gun laws. Though he trains pupils in shooting fundamentals at a local outdoor range, Tim also stresses self-protection alternatives such as pepper spray. Once classes wrap up, he happily answers any lingering questions.
Trainer Brian Austin has spent the last 10 years of his life working in the fitness industry, though his passion for healthy living started at an early age. In addition to being a high-school athlete and college mountain-bike racer, Brian has also spent time training with a grand master boxer. And he brings all of his fitness experience to his personal-training and fitness classes, during which he caters workouts to athletes of all ability levels. Brian also offers nutritional counseling for clients who want to make more-healthful decisions or for aggressive bananas that keep bruising the other fruit in the bowl.