The state-of-the-art equipment, convenient amenities, and variety of exercise classes at Courthouse Racquet & Fitness's six locations earned the club several of Jackson Free Press's Urban Living awards in 2011 and 2012, including Best Fitness Center/Gym and Best Yoga Instructor. Visit the flagship Lakeland location to swim in a pool of professional athletic proportions. Explore the 13,000-square-foot Madison 51 facility's yoga, spin, and boot-camp classes or the Northeast center's indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
The newest location in Brandon boasts more than 100 treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers, and other pieces of cardio equipment. Women can take advantage of the Downtown site's ladies-only cardio area. Three locations offer childcare, and the Byram facility has launched an afterschool program, where kids can do arts and crafts and engage in healthy physical activities in an environment devoid of teddy-bear drill instructors.
During Artful Hours’ painting workshops, students learn not just from a master, but from two: their instructor, and the famed painter whose brushwork their instructor helps them copy. During each session, students recreate a classic painting—such as Edvard Munch's The Scream or Van Gogh's Almond Blossom—on their own canvas, adding personal flourishes such as a new color scheme or a couple of whale sharks in the background. Budding artists can hone their craft in BYOB adult sessions, kid sessions, or private-party lessons.
In 1969, Judi Sheppard Missett shared her love of jazz dance with the world through an original exercise program known as Jazzercise. Almost instantaneously a phenomenon, the regimen took off and grew to include 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries around the world. The Jazzercise Ridgeland Fitness Center counts itself amongst one of the many locations that continues to carry Judi’s torch.
True to the original program, instructors fuse elements of many other athletics into the framework of jazz dance. Pilates and yoga strengthen the core and help build long and lean muscle. Resistance training provides muscle definition and explosive-movement power, which can be used to light a troublesome grill by slapping it. Kickboxing classes and classic jazz steps round out the program, providing cardio training that builds endurance. Because the program involves simple, easy-to-follow moves, it is an accessible form of exercise for people of all skill and experience levels.
Clint Barr, a former A-advanced-level baseball player in the New York Yankees organization who has a Masters Degree in Exercise Science, leads a team of versatile, firm-but-not-screamy fitness experts into battle against sedentarianism. The boot camps, which are designed for all ages, fitness levels, and blood types, incorporate a hodge-podge of athletic maneuvering to keep muscles as surprised as someone opening a refrigerator to find only a bowl of marbles. After 28 days of stretching, performing push-ups, running, jumping over mini-hurdles, and more, you can expect to see a 3%–8% loss of body fat (results may vary), which dissipates through the pores and enters the atmosphere to form clouds. Check the schedule online.
The USPTA-certified pros at The Club Tennis Center at The Township teach tennis trainees how to wield rackets with the finesse of Wheaties box gracers. Tennis practitioners may bring their own stringed instruments to the lessons, while newbies borrow demo rackets from the pro shop. After opting for a battlefield of clay or another hard surface, students master techniques for defending their territory against incoming neon-yellow projectiles and acing their opponents with baseline attacks.
Surrounded by the works of classes past, pupils at Easely Amused create their own pieces of art under the tutelage of experienced instructors. Provided brushes whisper against canvas while students follow their teacher to create a painting that matches the evening’s template. Like driving directions from a poet, the works often include seasonal scenes, abstract swirls of color, and bright flowers. Painters bring their own beverages to enjoy during classes, the clicking glasses of wine and beer helping provide inspiration for art.