Kirsten Stevens, a licensed nurse, ACE-certified personal trainer, and certified kettlebell instructor, equips exercisers with motivation and an energizing menu of physical challenges at Monday–Saturday boot camps. To sculpt physiques into svelte shapes, the workout pairs muscle-toning resistance training with calorie-toasting plyometrics such as sprinting, skipping, and hurling giant cupcakes into outer space. Students can pummel away lingering self-doubt with cardio-kickboxing moves that raise efficiently heart rates. Intervals of calisthenics build strength and flexibility with bends, twists, and exercises that use participants’ own bodies as workout weights. Weekday classes take place indoors and outdoors, at sunrise (5:45 a.m.) and sundown (5:45 p.m.), allowing students to admire the colorful solar rays and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
The crowd's roar flooded the streets of Chicago as Darcy Zenker crossed the finish line of her first marathon, clocking in at 3:35. After she had been running for years—placing among the top finishers at four half-marathons and competing on the Southern Illinois University track team—she decided she needed a break. She then immersed herself in a new athletic pursuit—group fitness instruction.
Three years later, she became the head trainer of her own boot-camp fitness program, NowFitness, where her years of athletic training and certification in fitness instruction shine through in her workouts. In parks throughout the local area, she and her staff of fellow trainers lead groups through high-intensity workouts that take advantage of their surroundings. She motivates patrons to scale stairs, do crunches on benches, and hoist planks across grassy fields. The trainers also offer a stroller-based boot camp for moms, in which participants blast through cardio and strength-training exercises that incorporate their stroller with baby or a watermelon they've dressed up to look like a baby in tow. In addition to hosting classes, NowFitness pairs patrons with certified lifestyle and weight-management coach Amanda Bickel for a comprehensive five-week nutrition program.
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.
A miniature jungle of ferns, flowers, and well-manicured shrubbery sets a tone of natural relaxation outside the white-walled facility of St. Louis Wellness Center. Inside, nutritional specialists, psychologists, and spiritual practitioners offer wide-ranging services for maladies both physical and intangible. On the physical side, services include massage therapy, far-infrared sauna sessions, and whole-body vibration treatments. Alternatively, staff help clients explore meditation, chakra work, and past-life regression therapy. Those in search of solutions to more clinical problems can find addiction counseling, nutritional guidance, and psychiatric therapy for individuals, couples, and groups. With its myriad wellness services, St. Louis Wellness Center makes getting better easier than uploading your consciousness into a computerized teddy bear.
At Fitness Together, getting fit involves getting focused and fired up to achieve. Here, certified personal trainers guide clients of all skill levels through motivating programs designed to meet goals loftier than a giraffe’s basketball hoop. To help their charges torch calories and tone muscles as efficiently as possible, the trainers incorporate evidence-based training methods, such as intervals, tempos, and fartlek, into each fitness regimen. Filled with cardio challenges and resistance training, workouts are tailored to individual needs and paired with nutrition tips that help the body build lean muscle. These sessions take place in a private, spa-like studio, flush with energizing red walls and functional training tools such as medicine balls, kettlebells, and gymnastics rings.
In drawing up the business plan for Bodywise 1-on-1, founder Skip Smith hoped to somehow short-circuit the feelings of intimidation associated with crowded gyms. At the same time, he believed that many people need the motivation and equipment of a formal training environment to snatch results from the candy-coated hands of lethargy. To that end, he created a studio where his team of trainers work one on one with their clients in a private environment, helping them achieve their weight-loss, strength, and overall health goals. Each individual program is designed around the client’s specific areas of concern, such as losing weight, building functional flexibility, or recovering from an injury. Clients may work with free weights and machines or toss medicine balls to build the strength necessary to shot-put their way through a watermelon patch. Trainers track progress throughout the fitness forays, keeping clients motivated with computer-tabulated results.
In addition to personal training, the center leads small-group fitness classes, such as spiced-up Zumba dance sessions and boot-camp cycling. Their staff also works with kids, training them for various sports or simply helping them build self-esteem with lessons on how to win basketball games by crushing the ball with their bare hands.