When CrossFit RIOT co-owner and head coach Derek Fay was younger, he was into powerlifting. Even though he wasn't being coached and knew his form wasn't great, he kept ramping up the weight—until he was diagnosed with herniated discs, leading to nearly two years in physical therapy. His back was so damaged that his doctors predicted he'd never lift weights again. But after he finished therapy, a friend introduced him to CrossFit sessions, where he was coached in safe lifting techniques and proper form. Today, he can dead lift more than 500 pounds.
But CrossFit RIOT isn't just for powerlifters. Derek and the other coaches strive to help members of all ability levels reach their fitness goals, from climbing stairs with greater ease to losing weight. Their high-intensity functional workouts can be scaled to be challenging—but not impossible—for everyone, and they emphasize executing good form, which helps to prevent injury.
The exercise routines change each day to keep bodies challenged and minds engaged. Throughout the one-hour workout of the day, they might lead students in swinging kettlebells one day and doing lunges and sprints the next. Classes are capped at 12 students, and the coaches are also available for personal-training and nutrition advice, such as choosing to snack on carrot sticks instead of butter sculptures.
As the owner and primary trainer of Heat Personal Fitness, Antonius draws on an impressive background to whip clients into shape. The certified personal trainer got his start in the navy, where he served as a cook, diver, and surface warfare expert, all while studying various martial arts, including jiujitsu, muay thai, and judo. Today, he incorporates what he knows best—fitness and people—into intense cardio and strength classes at Heat. Peppered with elements of kickboxing and boxing, his outdoor boot-camp classes present a constantly changing regime of calisthenics, body-weight exercises, and kettlebell work, followed up with a bit of yoga. Antonius also offers an indoor women’s only class, playfully dubbed Hottyz and centered on sculpting muscles with help from the TRX suspension trainers, free weights, and step aerobics.
Equipment: Megaformer M3
Students should bring: Towel
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Marcus Martinez, a seasoned MMA and UFC trainer, puts his strength-training and conditioning expertise to use at MBody Strength, where he leads a series of fitness classes. Classes in Marcus’s schedule include general self-defense, mixed martial arts, martial-arts conditioning, and Brazilian jujitsu.
Before Steve Hochman was a ripped fitness trainer, he was a portly pizza delivery guy, and before that he was a weakling infant who could barely do one pull-up. After revamping his appearance with hard work and plenty of exercise, he founded Orange County's Fit Body Boot Camp, an encouraging and inspirational gym where members shed pounds and build muscle. The secret is one sweat-manufacturing workout. For 45 minutes a day, groups power through an intense regimen designed to deliver fast results with cardio, weight training, and kickboxing techniques.
No Limit Boot Camp owner and certified personal trainer Sako Yakinian helps clients from all ends of the fitness spectrum improve their health during 55-minute routines. CityVoter's Orange County Hotlist lauded the instructors as the best personal trainers and named No Limit Boot Camp the Best Boot Camp of 2010, 2011, and 2012. Sako's instructors, all of whom hold nationally recognized training certifications, lead intense indoor drills while peppering their ordered reps with words of encouragement, such as "that's it," "nice work," and "please be encouraged." As they push through varying strength, cardio, and resistance regimens, guests can look to the gym's walls for motivational decals, which display phrases such as "anything is possible." Nutritional counseling and online meal coaching also assist exercise sessions to fully streamline the process of achieving heightened levels of wellness.