As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Our Health Club & Spa corrals a state-of-the-art fitness center and full-service day spa under one roof, helping clients radiate health from the inside out. Weight rooms, a swimming pool, saunas, and a juice bar comprise the physical-focused side of the center, where certified personal trainers monitor form and fitness trainers lead more than 30 classes per week. Pampering is the priority on the spa side, which offers everything from customized therapeutic massages and European facials to gentlemen's pedicures, which skip the polish in favor of a barely perceptible coat of Armor All.
Though the club's focus is mainly on adult activities, kids can flex their growing flippers in one-on-one swimming lessons or socialize with other tykes in a childcare center, where colorful toys spill out from rows of cubbyholes. Seniors will find themselves equally at home at Our Health Club & Spa with arthritis-focuses classes that provide an opportunity to stretch out aches and whirlpools that provide a perfect setting for stage readings of The Caine Mutiny.
When asked about their teaching qualifications, the instructors at Finney's HIT Squad—including Jesse Finney himself—all point to their win records. All of them have a competitive fighting history in their chosen disciplines, and several have earned championships or black belts. As full-time employees of the gyms, they school guests on MMA, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They also access their inside knowledge of the industry for fighter-development programs, which strive to transform beginners into professional combatants without stuffing them into hollowed-out punching-bag cocoons for 5 years. For amateurs and experts alike, they assert that "you fight how you train," and aim to simulate official rounds inside their onsite cages, boxing rings, and matted arenas. In 2011, their professional chops helped Finney's HIT Squad take the title of Best MMA Gym in the Riverfront Times Best of St Louis feature.
Despite their investment in competitions, however, the staffers view the two gyms as all-inclusive spaces. Whether they are instilling confidence in children through kids' jujitsu, orienting a new member to the fitness equipment, or leading a women-only martial-arts class, they mentor students of all backgrounds.
During her extensive dance training, K.I.S.S. Fitness Studio owner Kem Smith grooved alongside Zumba and pole fitness pioneers, mastering the steps that she now showcases for her own students. Offering simultaneous classes in three different studios, her staff covers everything from entrancing pole spins and belly dancing to gospel yoga, and strength training in the studio's rhythmic curriculum. Recently added amenities include spa services, such as eyebrow threading and lash extensions, as well as a café area. The studio also hosts private parties that impart empowering moves and help attendees break in high heels without resorting to foxy kickboxing.
Fitness and sport. McArther's Tae Kwon Do & Fitness focuses on both with traditional and sport tae kwon do classes. During those classes, students bust boards with fists of fury, master technique, and spar to enhance agility, strength, and balance. As they teach these skills, instructors also infuse students with the values of confidence and discipline. Similar benefits are bestowed during yoga and koryo gumdo—a martial art that employs the graceful use of the long sword.
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.