The techniques that Lauren Birkel imparts to her trainers are the same ones she used on herself while preparing for and completing the rigorous Ironman World Championships in 2005 and 2011, as well as the France-held International Triathlon Union Long Course World Championships in 2007. With this history of achieving difficult goals, Birkel knows how to inspire students without commissioning a band of rabid coyotes to chase them while they run.
She and her many cotrainers use these thoroughly tested methods of motivation to push students toward healthier lives in one-on-one, small-group, and large-group training sessions. She decks out her indoor studios with all the necessary equipment for personal-training sessions and isn't afraid to lead all-outdoor boot-camp academies in the heat or rain.
No matter the hour, the rhythmic beat of sneakers hitting treadmills resounds in Snap Fitness's 24-hour studio. The network of gyms stretches across the country, each housing state-of-the art cardio and strength-training equipment that scorches huge batches of calories, like an Easy-Bake Oven scorches cookies when it's souped up with nitrous oxide. IPod hookups and TVs turn treadmills and stair steppers into personal entertainment centers. Unlike impersonal big-box gyms, Snap Fitness's staff subtracts intimidation from the experience with free equipment orientations, custom workout plans, nutrition tips, and hand-crocheted workout shorts for all members. During staffed hours, peppy instructors lead fitness classes such as turbo kickboxing, plyometrics, and aerobic blast.
Absolute Pilates?s instructors are far from old-school. Though they each boast extensive training in traditional Pilates?and teach classic mat classes?they focus largely on incorporating modern equipment into the ancient practice. Pilates Reformers, Towers, chairs, and even the barre are used during classes, often in combination with each other to optimize workouts and results. The equipment helps students of all levels maintain their balance and target dormant muscles, transforming standard Pilates into a more effective workout. But teachers still maintain the welcoming, personal environment long attributed to Pilates studios and grandma?s doomsday bunker.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across 19 different states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
In more than two decades spent teaching golf, PGA instructor Kevin Crusan has found that being dogmatic about a particular method or a model swing can be counterproductive. Instead, Kevin uses what he calls a "student-centered" swing model, tailoring his teaching approach to the strengths and abilities of each individual pupil—while still drawing inspiration from the numerous successful techniques used by the world's best golfers. This approach has proven effective, as Kevin has helped coach golfers who have won state championships and competed at the collegiate and professional level.
At Body By Design, certified personal trainer Joey Huber does just what his business name implies: personalizes workout plans to help clients achieve the bodies they envision. Amid a new spacious, light-green studio, Huber and his team of seven personal trainers lead exercisers through completely custom personal-training sessions and small- and large-group training, as well as larger-scale boot-camp classes that use high-intensity interval training to tone the body. The team also brings their services to office environments for corporate training to help slim down overstuffed filing cabinets.