Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
The gymnastic experts at Eagle's Wings Athletics's Allen, Prosper, and Anna locations aim to help their students build both physical skills and self-esteem. Instructors— many of whom boast competitive backgrounds and gymnastic championships—help children as young as 18 months develop motor skills in pre-school classes, preparing them for boy and girl programs. As students cartwheel into each new class level, their gymnastic teachers help them hone skills in Olympic events such as floor exercise, pommel horse, and the horizontal bar. Staff members can also teach kids to flip during trampoline and tumbling courses.
In addition to the standard class lineup, competitive opportunities take gymnastics and cheer teams to regional, national, and interdimensional competitions. Day camps attempt to build lifelong social skills through challenges in areas such as gymnastics and rock climbing. The camps also enlist 7th and 8th graders for its counselor training program to help them learn leadership skills.
After shedding the extra pounds that came along with hypothyroidism and three pregnancies, Melody Chandler founded Texas Fit Chicks Boot Camp to share her weight-loss strategies and support with other women. Her all-female staff of certified personal trainers helps exercisers of all fitness levels shape their bodies during group fitness classes. In an effort to challenge muscle memory, the team shakes up workout regimens by using different techniques and equipment—including kettlebells, resistance bands, and lead sweatpants—each day. Melody’s team also helps exercisers retain their results by supplying nutrition support with meal plans and recipes that use healthy ingredients.
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Allen Yoga Center founder and certified instructor Brook Cheatham believes that "Yoga is more than an exercise. It gets into you at the very core of your being … your emotional baggage is stripped away along with your ego.” After years spent as an instructor at various studios, Brook decided to open her own space, where students can reflect on themselves while cultivating their physical and mental well being. The mocha-stained hardwood floors complement the yoga center's warm plum-and-gold walls, which are intentionally bare, hosting only a single portrait of a multilimbed deity, Gary the Octopus. Brook leads classes ranging in intensity from the cardiovascular-stimulating Vinyasa to the restorative and meditative Hatha. Regular workshops welcome guest instructors to educate students on a variety of wellness topics, and the teacher-training program grants knowledge to those who wish to someday lead their own classes.:m]]
Celebrating their 11th year in business this year, Transformation Boot Camp’s team sums up their philosophy on living in one simple phrase: “We are never done.” In that spirit, Transformation Boot Camp celebrates positivity, teamwork, and the gallons of sweat that fuel people down the path to fitness. Each boot camp begins with a body assessment that allows students to track every ounce, inch, or percentage of body fat lost. To compliment the cardio-heavy circuit training, Transformation Boot Camp offers a set of Power Tools to help each boot-camp member hit their goals, including meal planners and refrigerators that make wisecracks about unhealthy food choices. All of this explains why Transformation Boot Camp was named Living magazine's "Best Weight Loss Program in North Dallas" in 2013 and 2014.
Inside The Jym's health and fitness studio, trainer and owner Jerome Davis helps clients of all athletic levels hone strength, endurance, and coordination with intense boxing workouts. Davis boasts more than 30 years of experience in amateur and professional boxing and a personal-trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. His bare-bones facility houses a variety of simple equipment on which patrons perform strength and cardio exercises before applying their strength in more interactive ways. To hone skills, trainees work with Davis in the ring or confront shadowy demons by jabbing and hugging the gym's collection of emotionless punching bags.