Luke Denney, a certified CrossFit and MMA conditioning coach, lays claim to a storied athletic career: A national championship with the University of Nebraska football team, a regional soccer championship with Rockhurst University, and experience as a mixed martial artist reside inside his inner trophy case. To keep his body in game-day shape, he founded a training center in his garage. His goals would soon outgrow the humble space, blossoming into CrossFit Diem’s professional-grade gym.
When he’s not busy readying professional UFC contenders for fight night, Coach Denney guides everyday exercisers down the road to better health with CrossFit’s functional movements and intense workouts. His accessible and inclusive program focuses on strength building and endurance, making it a favorite regimen for those in tough, hard-hitting occupations such as police officers, special-operations soldiers, and professional rock eaters. CrossFit Diem’s enthusiastic community of students spans all genders, ages, and fitness levels, welcoming newcomers into a world of rippling biceps, toned abs, and well-hurtled medicine balls.
Yoga School's charming Overland Park studio is 3,000 square feet of stretching and strengthening space fitted with custom bamboo floors and a spacious changing room. Classes last 60 to 90 minutes and are offered for all levels, as well as a few special classes such as yoga for golfers, therapeutic yoga, and YogaFun classes for kids and families. Yoga School focuses primarily on therapeutic classes to treat illnesses, offering restorative classes to help those with chronic pain and special focus classes for those with neurological and autoimmune disorders such as Parkinson's, arthritis, fibromyalgia; they also offer standard yoga classes. Because class sizes are small, Yoga School's 17 eagle-eyed, certified and licensed instructors will spot and correct any improper form or foot wobble that might cause you pain or prevent you from getting the most out of each pose, be it downward-facing dog, warrior 1, or Highlander 2: The Quickening. Yoga School of Therapeutics has been in business for 25 years and offers a teacher training program, so seasoned yogis and nervous novices can expect comprehensive, compassionate help from experienced instructors.
For Emily and Sarah Darling, owners of Darling Yoga, helping students experience the present is both an art and a gift. They team up with 16 other seasoned instructors to guide students toward physical wellness and inner peace through the practice of ancient poses and breathing exercises. Emily and other instructors lead classes for all levels, during which stress melts faster than a snowman in a mosh pit. Their sessions range from beginner-friendly Yoga Basics to Vinyasa and Ashtanga routines for intermediate and advanced students. The expert tandem also hosts children's classes during many of the adult sessions, helping young yogis build strength, flexibility, and focus as their parents do the same in the classroom next door.
In one of their studios, natural light flows through large windows, bathing groups in uplifting sunbeams during challenging bends and balances. After class, students can unwind in onsite showers or browse a boutique brimming with yoga mats, props, and apparel.
The martial-arts masters at AKKA Karate USA specialize in kenpo karate, a unique form that builds muscle tone and reflexes in order to use the body’s natural weapons—hands and feet—for self-defense. In addition to kenpo, they also lead classes focused on MMA, tai chi, and weapons training. Often, AKKA holds special events such as tournaments and sparring seminars. In addition to learning self-defense techniques, students also build valuable life skills such as an appreciation for fitness, discipline, and self-confidence.
Inside Element Fitness, the lime-green walls of the cardio room energize guests dashing away on treadmills as the yoga studio’s crisp white walls and glowing orb lights soothe yogis. The pool room echoes with splashing as guests stretch during pool aerobics classes; the dry sauna nearby remains quiet, letting guests absorb dry heat without listening to the heavy-metal albums played in traditional saunas. Stationary bikes adorn the spinning studio. Meanwhile, in workout studios lined with free weights, personal trainers make use of their professional weightlifting or triathlon experience during one-on-one personal-training sessions or group fitness classes.