Cofounders Jill Tomich and Peter Lavelle had both been active in the fitness world before they opened Ultimate Bootcamp in 2004. Jill threw her energies into boxing, ballet, yoga, and blogging for a wedding diet-and-fitness website, and Peter, a native Irishman, was a triathlete. In all his pursuits, Peter adhered to the motto "We're not here for a long time?we're here for a good time."
This credo infuses all of the boot-camp programs. Campers from all across the fitness spectrum find accommodation as the workouts meet them close to home. Trainers never push too far, but always challenge. An energetic mix of outdoor-resistance and interval training layers patrons in svelte muscle, builds strength, and burns calories to promote weight loss more effectively than a rice cake's PR agent. Far from the stereotypical idea of a boot camp, encouragement and support roll in from instructors who foster cooperation and camaraderie between fellow boot campers.
Benefitness Health Club for Women was designed for women by a woman: CC Maher, to be exact, a trainer with more than two decades of experience in the fitness industry. CC doesn't presume to know what women want, though—instead, she has created a flexible gym that can accommodates any gym-goer. Her team's more than 50 classes per week tone physiques with a variety of lean muscle-building modalities. The classes run from early morning to as late as 8 p.m., accommodating both night owls and the early risers who lift the sun off the horizon.
The gym's Nautilus weight machines and supply of free weights, meanwhile, allow for solo workouts. Personal trainers also patrol the floor, motivating patrons through custom one-on-one sessions, while a nutritionist crafts user-friendly diet plans to complement fitness regimens. Meanwhile, the on-site childcare center keeps kids from commandeering treadmills for games of "Flat Rollercoaster."
The instructors at The Body Center don't view Pilates as a simple exercise trend?instead, they conduct classes as interactive seminars on human anatomy. They teach clients how to train certain muscle groups by identifying and coaxing them through specific movement patterns designed to increase strength and flexibility at the same time. Ultimately, they try to instill in their students an enhanced sense of bodily awareness, one that informs walks down the street just as much as it does stretches on the mat.
Because physiques differ depending on build, lifestyle, and how often they were pinched as babies, The Body Center's curriculum is appropriately broad. Class themes range from Reformer and mat Pilates to SCALES and BOSU Core fitness. Beginners derive comfort from the company of other trainees, while intermediate and advanced classes pursue communal challenges. Specialized lessons can focus on specific body parts, sports performance, or the use of props, and modifications throughout every course cater to individual fitness levels.
The staff keeps classes small in the interest of personalization. Mat classes accept up to 10 students, and Reformer classes won't admit more than 6. Private and duet sessions allow for even more focused attention, as instructors won't be distracted by the loud popping of several emerging six-packs.