Owner and instructor Rachel Hunt and her team of instructors motivate their participants to think beyond the treadmill. At Extreme Fit Training, instructors guide them toward slimmer waistlines and more sculpted muscles in their lineup of ever-changing, high-intensity boot-camp classes. The coed classes are held indoors and outdoors all over the Birmingham area. To keep participants engaged and inspired to continue on, instructors avoid repeating the same workouts during each four-week boot-camp session. Instead, they rotate through resistance, cardio, and core exercises that work the entire body. In some sessions, patrons might jog up steps at an outdoor stadium, and in others they might toss medicine balls. Before patrons attend their first class, their body-fat percentage is assessed and their measurements are taken. With this analysis, the team designs customized goals for boot campers and pushes them to achieve them in each class. With this analysis, the team designs customized goals for boot campers and pushes them to achieve them in each class.
Most gym’s membership fees resemble a club’s cover charge; they get a person in the door but don’t come with any special attention. BodyTrac Health & Fitness’s trainers alter that traditional structure, providing three small, group personal-training sessions a week for every member. They take on one to four students at a time, focusing on the five areas of fitness as outlined by the College of Sports Medicine: body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. They fuse together the quintet of exercise areas in one-hour appointments, spending the first 30 minutes on cardio heart-rate training. Their efforts to elevate your pulse encourage muscles to burn extra calories as trainers move you on to 30 minutes of strength training. In this second portion, they use equipment from all over the gym, including TRX suspension harnesses, kettlebells, and medicine balls, which must be swallowed with a silo-sized glass of water.
At The Complete Skin Care Center, licensed aestheticians and massage therapists work under physician supervision to infuse tired muscles and lackluster skin with a healthful youthfulness. The center's arsenal of enzyme-based facial peels and crystal-free microdermabrasion procedures slough off dead skin from the face, while a décor of whimsical beach-themed murals, pastel blues, and vases of flowers exfoliate worries away from the brain. Airbrush-tanning treatments bronze bodies without excess UV exposure, and waxing treatments banish unwanted follicles, leaving behind stretches of skin smooth enough to run toy cars over.
The coaching staff at D1—which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers—refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.
With a lineage that traces back more than 30 years to its founders' respective schools, Tiger Rock Martial Arts has grown to more than 200 locations nationwide. Tiger Rock's primary focus is tae kwon do, through which certified trainers teach youngsters the skills to defend themselves, as well as confidence and discipline. Adults can learn tae kwon do as well or encounter martial-arts moves in a calorie-torching aerobic workout. Tiger Rock also partners with sports teams to bolster their training or with corporations to get their employees up, moving, and healthy.
In life, the early bird gets the worm. But at CrossFit Over The Mountain, where classes start as early as 5:45 a.m., the early bird gets first crack at CrossFit's workout of the day. Each daily workout consists of functional exercises such as chin-ups, squats, and box jumps, which exercisers complete as intensely as they can. For added motivation, exercisers can track their progress and sabotage their enemies' on the facility's online workout-tracking tool.