As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
Before getting married, Tony and Marcy Brown both held impressive fitness records. Tony moved from a personal-training career to teaching yoga, and Marcy—a seasoned law-enforcement officer and former owner of a personal-training studio—kept her finger firmly on the pulse of gym trends. The pair decided to captain CrossFit Purgatory after becoming convinced of CrossFit's superiority over other popular health regimens. Now, they welcome guests of all ages and abilities to participate in their WODs (Workouts of the Day), emphasizing the values of community and commitment for those trying to rewrite their physical limits.
CrossFit Purgatory rejects superfluous furnishings in favor of a tough, minimalist vibe, decked out in functional training equipment such as kettlebells, Olympic rings, medicine balls, and mammoth bones. The gym's industrial feel is offset by the warmth of its occupants, who welcome new members to tackle the day's routine with open, sweaty arms. Because CrossFit maneuvers are universally scalable, anyone can adjust them to suit their strength level—the coaches have guided patrons from sports competitors to complete newbies to 2010 Biggest Loser contestant Jessica Delfs.
Mesa may be miles from the water, but the students of SurFitArizona have surfer bodies all the same. SurfSet, the simulation surfboard whose innovators were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, lets its users mimic surfing moves without the necessity of the ocean. The board requires constant stabilizing movements, which work out the core, arms, and pectoral muscles, all while improving balance, agility, and flexibility. During classes, instructors lead students through the actual moves that surfers use, including wave runners, shark kicks, duck dives, and the classic pop-up. High-intensity aerobic training atop the board helps trim away fat and build muscle quickly—students can burn up to 900 calories in a single 45-minute session.
Bryan Rosenberg, the mastermind behind Empowered: Iron Woman Transformations, leads small groups of passionate women through high-intensity workouts. He uses traditional weight training, martial-arts conditioning, and circuit training to construct 45-minute classes that are designed to spike the metabolism and build strength. Designed for and tailored to women, the classes are fast paced, but scalable to suit any fitness level.
Generally, most people who've had a reason to suspend their bodies in mid-air have been circus performers or turn-of-the-century steel workers. But at LOBO Fitness, students often find themselves hanging in mid-air in the name of exercise during Suspension Training classes. The practice helps build muscle tone, boost endurance, and burn calories, a formula that has students raving about their muscle tone and praising instructors for making workouts enjoyable.The center's boot camp classes take workout up a notch with a variety of high-energy movements that are more effective at burning calories than just setting donuts on fire.
As a mother and wife, Tammy Mills can understand why many of her clients want to get in shape; as a coach, she has the tools to help them do it. She heads to clients’ homes to helm personal-training sessions and leads group boot-camp classes, which combine strength and cardio moves for a full-body workout. She pairs her fitness focus with weight-management and dietary analyses to further improve clients’ health.