The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
If their rippling muscles and lean torsos are any indication, the personal trainers at Back Bay Fitness practically live in the gym. Even so, they appreciate that not all of their students share the same enthusiasm for barbells and medicine balls. That?s why they?ve devised a holistic approach to fitness that starts in the gym, but extends to all aspects of life. When they aren?t pushing students past the brink of exhaustion in Back Bay Sweat, Lengthen and Strengthen, and Kettle Kamp classes, they offer nutritional guidance to help maximize the results of each workout. They also take the time to get to know each of their clients by name, which helps them build meaningful relationships without having to steal glances at each student?s monogrammed sweat rag.
Next Level Fitness has four studio locations throughout the Boston area, but those aren't the only places its trainers do their work. The trainers also travel, showing up at clients' homes, offices, and gyms with equipment and exercise regimens ready. Whether clients are participating in a summer boot camp or a corporate fitness workshop, they can be sure that trainers are leading them in a workout that's appropriate for the group's fitness level.
Fitcorp's trainers have big shoes to fill. Founder Gary Klencheski earned his exercise technician certification from the American College of Sports Medicine and served on the Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports for 20 years. Klencheski's passion and expertise trickle down through each of his gyms' eight facilities, where each personal trainer has a degree in exercise science, a nationally accredited certification, and the charisma of a dictator holding pompoms.
The gym's array of fitness services includes cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as group Pilates, yoga, boot-camp, and Zumba classes. Massage and acupuncture sessions keep the body in high gear, and an onsite nutritionist offers nutrition tips developed by registered dietitian Amy Boyce.
For years, Life in Synergy founder Helena Collins was frustrated with her body. Despite vigorously working out and dieting, she wasn't seeing results. But she knew there had to be a way to achieve the figure she wanted while still eating the foods she loved and actually enjoying her workouts. So she set out to find a solution. After more than 30 years of research, she now lives by the motto "Work smarter, not harder," and has developed a fitness method that motivates her clients to make long-term changes through custom nutrition plans, exercise, and life-coaching sessions.
Along with her team of certified trainers, Collins first meets with each client to assess their goals, which might include losing pounds or finally being able to bench-press their older brother. The staff then develops a customized nutrition plan that eschews fad diets and starvation, as well as a fitness plan that hones in on specific problem areas such as the thighs, love handles, and belly. During Life in Synergy's signature Synergistics Fitness Method classes, clients work toward those same goals in a group setting, using exercise bands and medicine balls for low-impact moves that don't damage joints. The metabolism-boosting workouts also emphasize stretching and strengthening weak muscles to correct any imbalances in the body. The trainers further hone in on problem areas during classes including Butts and Guts, Lean Legs, and Abs and Arms.
Above all else, Sifu K.L. Brown understands two things: first, that a physical change can trigger a spiritual change; and second, that most martial-arts training caters more to men than to women. K.L. discovered that first truth as a boy in the Bronx, where his passion for the Boy Scouts, martial arts, and dance led him to several defining accomplishments. Namely, he was one of first African-Americans from his borough to earn the rank of an Eagle Scout and won both Silver Mittens and Golden Gloves titles before going on to a career as a professional boxing coach.This experience contributed to his second realization, that women needed a style of martial-arts training tailored for their fitness needs and style of learning.
Thus, K.L. designed Sweat Box, a form of martial-arts-based fitness training that dispenses with the rigidity of formal training studios in favor of a high-energy, celebratory atmosphere. As he leads participants through exercises, he also mixes in hip-hop moves and gymnastics. Leading each class, he adjusts exercises for all fitness levels, scaling difficulty where needed. In addition to helping students attain an improved physique, his fitness programs—which include classes, personal training, and competition training—encourage students to expand their perceptions of who they are and what they're capable of.
Still upholding the humanitarianism he learned with the Boy Scouts, K.L. also uses Sweat Box to promote community mindedness. Through his philanthropic venture Sweat Box, Inc. Rose Foundation, he donates proceeds from Sweat Box and Sweat Box Couture toward research into breast cancer, diabetes, and how to make donuts less delicious.