Shannon "The Cannon" Hudson is an International Kickboxing Federation world champion, a fifth-degree black belt in japanese shotokan karate, and a survivor of more than 70 bouts in the ring—yet, one of his most influential titles is "father." With two kids clinging around his waist like a squirmy fanny pack, Shannon started brainstorming a way to channel his boxing and kickboxing training into a quick, effective workout that even those who are busy or out of shape could tackle. The result was 9Round, a 30-minute routine of aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance moves divided into a circuit of nine stations. The ever-changing series of workouts maximizes morale and results and minimizes boredom.
His trainers launch the workouts every three minutes, motivating exercisers through each station—which might include jumping rope or pummeling speed bags. Online nutritional counseling supplements the workouts, teaching patrons how to construct and eat healthful meals instead of falling back on old habits, such as snacking on cheese sculptures.
At Haastyle Martial Arts Academy, instructors focus on teaching their students safety and proper technique, while maintaining a positive, non-competitive environment. Their style of choice is the Counterpoint Tactical System—a discipline with roots in Filipino martial arts that covers armed and unarmed training, as well as kickboxing, grappling, and ground fighting. By demonstrating focused strikes, locks, and throws, the black belts on staff enable students to carry their lessons over from the classroom to the real world.
The academy offers sessions for students as young as 3 years old, among them are junior and adult programs that include a fitness element, channeling the resistance of bodyweight to tone muscle. As they progress through different class levels, students learn to fight with sticks and other weapons in addition to their fists and their pointiest elbow. The curriculum even includes a Doce Pares stick-fighting program, which draws from other styles such as Aikido and Judo.
With nearly 150 classes offered weekly at three locations, Busy Body Fitness Center has workouts for dancers, boxers, and yogis alike. The packed calendar also dabbles in popular fitness acronyms, like P90X and TRX, which develop participants' overall strength and endurance. Those who enjoy their routines with a little rhythm can drop by for Zumba, Dance Jam, or Drums Alive, whereas high-powered cardio work is the theme of spinning and kickboxing classes.
The atmosphere of group classes is informed by communal support. This spirit of encouragement is also echoed in one-on-one guidance from personal trainers. In addition to a typical fitness background of coaching clients and mining medicine balls from the depths of the earth, each trainer has a minimum of 10 years of physical-therapy experience. That ensures they can both help clients find the most beneficial exercises and teach them how to properly execute those workouts.
Joao Amaral is so tough, he teaches cops how to fight. The head coach at the Brazilian Top Team (BTT) studios in both Boca Raton and Boston, Amaral boasts a resumé that includes training law-enforcement departments and winning in tournaments such as the Brazilian national championships. At the Boca Raton facility, Joao and assistant coach Matt Janzer lead group and private classes that include both gi and no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu; the former is a grappling technique that aims to give smaller people the leverage to take down a larger assailant, and the latter is more like traditional wrestling. BTT's muay thai classes, featuring a style of boxing often used in cross-training with jiu-jitsu instruction, can be adapted for those interested in competitive fighting or for those simply looking to get fit or learn self-defense.
Waggling two thick ropes tied to the wall. Kicking a punching bag. Stationary biking. The Institute of Human Performance’s circuit-training classes incorporate all these moves into a single workout, along with medicine-ball maneuvers, jump roping, hopscotch-like agility drills, and lively music that keeps the blood flowing. Voted the best core gym in the country by Men’s Health, the institute has also been honored by Glamour and Self for its hybrid-style classes, which incorporate elements of popular exercise styles such as Pilates and spinning. CEO Juan Carlos Santana and his team of certified trainers helm each class at the 7,200-square-foot facility, where indoor and outdoor workout spaces let patrons lift overcast skies by hand. The gym serves as a beta-testing site for fitness manufacturers, which means it has a fleet of cutting-edge, constantly updated machines.
Though Boca Gym's array of Life Fitness and Hammer Strength machines commands an impressive 1,000 square feet of space, the gym's staff is anything but robotic. The certified personal trainers and instructors strive to call everyone by name, whether they are assisting with deadlifts or running a kickboxing class—one of more than 40 group fitness classes scheduled per week. Their bright attitude complements the light that streams through floor-to-ceiling windows, and the neon-pink glow of the studio's walls.
The staff welcomes guests of every age and background to explore the facility, which includes a childcare area, tanning, and a juice bar. Instead of volunteering to climb and light the town's lampposts, members who wish to work out at night can swipe their 24-hour access card at the door.