Jay Kerwin knows a thing or two about making it through a tough regimen. A certified skydiver, scuba diver, pilot, and EMT, he was also one of only seven to graduate from the Air Force’s Pararescue Special Operations Indoctrination program––a course that begins with about 500 candidates. Now known as “the Major,” he helps build confidence and stronger bodies at Boot Camp LA, instilling his students with the same kind of motivation and work ethic that led him to win several national bodybuilding competitions and open pickle jars with ease.
Atop the plush grass and unforgiving concrete surrounding the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum park, new and experienced recruits tone muscles as sneakered feet beat the ground during military-style drills that include running, strength workouts, and circuit training. Classes are lead by Jay and his wife Marcella, an athlete since age 10 and fondly referred to as “the Lieutenant.” Together, they work with men and women of all ages and fitness levels, developing workouts and offering nutrition advice. Recruits can train before the sun rises with classes ending before 10 a.m., or shake off sweat and workplace stress as the sun sets during an evening class. Aside from helping students lose weight, the Major and Lieutenant help them start or end each day with positive reinforcement, staying away from the yelling, belittling, and mama insulting often associated with traditional military-style boot camps.
Justin Fassio earned his personal-training certification during his time in the military, when his passion for exercise landed him the chance to lead a physical training program for an Air Force?operations group. Once his time in the force was up, he didn't leave his love of fitness back at base?he brought it home with him. Today, he leads outdoor fitness programs for all citizens.
Nutritionist Rachel Bowman has a background in Clinical and Holistic Nutrition, offering a wide acumen of current nutritional research. Her career now emphasizes weight management in all walks of life, ranging from digestive health to healthy eating while traveling. Her sports enthusiasm has also forged professional relationships with athletes and key athletic trainers.
The partnership of the two is ideal at San Diego Core Fitness, where staffers emphasize that fitness and nutrition always work hand-in-hand. The varied boot-camp workouts fuse fun and motivation with functional training techniques designed to help build up neglected core muscles and regain muscular balance. Personal-training sessions are supplemented with nutritional advice and lifestyle counseling, and keeps semiprivate training sessions small so that each participant can receive individual attention. During outdoor boot camps, groups make use of whatever the locations offer as equipment?depending on the scenery, they wade through deep beach sand, run up open-air stairs, and bench-press park benches.
C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Metabolic Movement Training (MMT) System is the result of all that hard work. The system is designed to jump-start the metabolism, so it continues working long after the session is complete by helping the body burn fat all day long. After a dynamic warmup to boost flexibility and coordination, trainers lead students through progressive resistance training to strengthen bones and muscles. Next, exciting, short-burst cardio intervals work to condition the heart and lungs and boost endurance, and a final core-training session chisels the midsection. Every exercise includes modifications and progressions to ensure students at every fitness level will glean benefits, and every session ends with a cool-down and stretch to leave bodies feeling better than when they came in.
The institute's team of instructors also augment MMT exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
After a college career playing Division I soccer and earning a BA in sports sciences from the University of the Pacific, Catherine Betts developed a passion for proper physical fitness that she shares with her clients. During an internship at Athletes Performance, a premier professional conditioning facility, Betts worked with both the men's and women's U.S. national soccer teams, as well as athletes from professional leagues including the NBA, NFL, and Justice League.
The experienced fitness guide adapts her individual and group workouts to the specific conditioning needs of seasoned sportspeople and casual exercisers alike. Trainees learn how to manage body weight and engage in corrective exercises through progressive programs that work into existing routines. Workouts take place at a variety of gyms and outdoor locations, including Marina Green Park and the Lyon Street steps. Betts often tailors personal-training sessions to aid in wedding preparations, maternity fitness, or productions of Pinocchio staged with TRX suspension equipment.
Even before he was a certified strength and conditioning specialist, Erik Traeger was exploring every fitness avenue he could. He played soccer, wrestled, raced motorcycles, and fought fires as part of a U.S. Forest Service hand crew for 13 seasons. Once he discovered a knack for coaching, he spent nine years training Division I college athletes, and another four taking on youth and adult clients. As owner and head instructor at Fresno Indoor Boot Camp, he funnels all his exercise know-how into classes for every age, gender, and ability level.
Though Erik's resumé is formidable, his camp stresses acceptance over intimidation. Instructors motivate students to move at their own pace through agility ladders, calisthenics, and tire flips, all of which inhabit an indoor facility to eliminate mix-ups between beehives and medicine balls. Because each trainer is a kinesiology major, they have mastered modifications that can scale boot-camp drills to suit any participant, from sports stars to 70 year olds.
During her college years, Kristin Walton—like most students—gave into the lure of alcohol and fast food, which led to the dreaded freshman 15...and then some. With her jeans fitting a bit too snuggly, the former competitive synchronized swimmer knew she needed to make a change. She started with yoga a few times a week, but it wasn’t downward dog that sparked her weight-loss—it was a local boot camp. From there, Kristin cleaned up her diet, enhanced her muscle definition, eventually shed 40 pounds, and gained a NASM personal training certification.
Today, she returns the favor by running her own boot camp and personal training facility, where she coaches students of all ages and athletic abilities through circuit-style training that uses body-weight exercises, kettlebells, and TRX training machines. Unlike traditional boot camps, Kristin trades in a hoarse throat and steam-emitting ears for heart-pumping music and constructive motivation; she never lets a student perform a move incorrectly and always helps less experienced exercisers make adjustments. She also doles out one-on-one advice and motivation during personal training sessions and directs clients to a blog full of healthful recipes.