Treadmills, step classes, and free weights were making Joy Poulsen feel boxed in at the gym. She wanted a fun, up-tempo workout in the fresh air—that's why she created Inspire Fitness Boot Camps. Joy and her fellow coaches lead women in workouts that never let campers stop moving, for fear they'll freeze that way. An emphasis on exercises that emulate real-life movement means bodies can fall into the workout naturally, which makes it both safe and effective.
At Bay Area Fight Academy, a blocky and modernist exterior of white stone and glass contrasts with the graceful, organic craft practiced within. Under a pair of United States and Filipino flags, students might perform the simultaneously brutal and beautiful dances of kickboxing, jujitsu, or muay thai. A mixed-martial-arts class for children helps increase fitness and self-confidence, unlike a mixed-culinary-arts class, which only results in hamburger-flavored ice cream.
As the name implies, Lifestyle Studio believes that it takes more than just exercise to live a healthier life. That's why the staff emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition as well as the workouts that they lead. To that end, they provide personalized, one-on-one workouts, as well as group lessons in Zumba, yoga, and circuit training.
Body Mechanix’s talented personal trainers, including a nationally ranked strongman and a Harvard grad, didn’t get buff all by their lonesome. Believing that encouragement and camaraderie make as much difference as weight and reps, they cook up ever-changing routines through collaboration with their fellow fitness gurus, a practice that allows them to share ideas and show off their ability to bench-press other bodybuilders. Individual lessons send clients sprinting across indoor stretches of turf or hiking heart rates with cardio and weight machines, whereas group classes help them sweat off inches with fast-paced boot-camp exercises or teach them how to jab out aggression with circuit boxing.
With a degree in personal training and plenty of experience working in fitness studios, Carlos Hurtado knows exactly what it takes to stay in shape. He founded Iron Core Fitness to share this knowledge via indoor boot camps and personal-training sessions, both of which are as effective as they are vigorous. If Hurtado takes his job seriously, it's because he takes a personal stake in his clients' wellbeing. "My goal is to help my clients reach the highest level of fitness possible," he says, whether their goal is to lose weight or merely to experience the thrill of throwing a car for the first time.
Beyond Fab Fitness owner and instructor Jaycee brings her passion for up-tempo, women-friendly dance workouts to a full schedule of fun, intense courses. When describing her passion for energetic exercises set to music, the mother of two recalls her own search for the perfect fat-burning, rattle-quieting workout after giving birth to her second child. That mission landed her in Jazzercise classes, whose success inspired Jaycee to seek a fitness certification and teach her own classes in striptease, booty-shaking cardio workouts, and basic mat Pilates. Jaycee choreographs her own routines and designs them to empower fitness vixens of all ages, zodiac signs, and experience levels in a fun, supportive environment in which to get fit and lose weight.