Federal Fitness

If you’re driving north on busy Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, you can’t miss a huge plaza anchored by Whole Foods Market and Dick’s Sporting Goods. While it may seem like any other large commercial plaza, if you take a closer look, you may notice a unique theme emerging: children moving and playing on an open green space; yogis drenched in sweat carrying their mats from hot yoga; 20-somethings going straight from barre class to the bar; families hauling out bags of organic produce. This plaza is quickly building a foundation of fitness and wellness – and a happening new hangout – in Fort Lauderdale.

Tucked inside the sprawling plaza are four (yes, four) different boutique fitness studios, offering pretty much every type of popular “a la carte” workout on the market. 

“We’ve focused a lot on wellness. We recently opened Orangetheory Fitness and Core Contour. They join Barkan Method Hot Yoga and Pure Barre, already located in the center,” says Jami Passer, managing director for EDENS, the developer of the Union Planters Plaza. “Our new retail partners are bringing entirely new concepts to the Fort Lauderdale market.”

Core Contour, which offers the Lagree fitness method from Los Angeles, is the latest spot to tone and tighten. Unlike other fast and furious workouts, the motto here is “the slower you move, the better your results.” You’ll be slowly planking, lunging and lifting on the Megaformer (an amped-up Pilates machine) for a muscle-quivering 50 minutes.

“When we move slow, we are effectively stimulating the slow-twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for burning fat and strengthening the body in areas we don’t usually work,” says Jen Capps, owner of Core Contour. “If you do this two to three times a week, you will see results in about a month – or less,” she promises.

Core Contour’s next-door neighbor is Orangetheory Fitness. During this one-hour group workout, you’ll rotate between lightning-fast rounds of running on a treadmill, rowing and weightlifting.  

Jackie Menapace, the regional marketing coordinator for Orangetheory Fitness, says, “Orangetheory is a high-impact class that can’t be compared to any other workout. It’s a heart-rate based workout that monitors your 5-zone intervals during your session, which isn’t offered by any of the other studios.”

No matter which exercise routine you choose (or try them all), it’s all about building a healthier community. 

“People can spend the whole day here,” says Passer. “They could take a fitness class in the morning, go grocery shopping at Whole Foods, have lunch at Piola, enjoy the afternoon sunshine on the green space, and then select fresh produce at the weekly farmer’s market to take home for dinner.”  

With all the studios within walking distance, one might think it would create some not-so-friendly competition. 

“Not at all,” says Capps, “I always laugh when people say that because there’s so much synergy between the four of us here. I’m honored to be part of this.” ?

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