As she struggled to surmount issues with her own weight, Boogie Box Fitness creator Dede Barbanti drew from her professional dance background, martial-arts training, and enthusiasm for exercise to pioneer the gym's rigorous yet fun workout routine. The calorie-flaming moves, which have been featured by Dr. Oz and publications such as Dance magazine, have since spawned BBX Kids and the more vigorous BBX Hardcore. Behind the regimens' popularity lie easy-to-follow steps culled from kickboxing, strength training, plyometrics, and Latin and hip-hop dance. In addition to motivating patrons to shimmy into fitter physiques, Dede channels her expertise as a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist into the BBX Body membership site. Here, visitors can peruse custom menu plans, exercise tutorials, and life-coaching advice given by the world's smartest biceps.
When CrossFit RIOT co-owner and head coach Derek Fay was younger, he was into powerlifting. Even though he wasn't being coached and knew his form wasn't great, he kept ramping up the weight—until he was diagnosed with herniated discs, leading to nearly two years in physical therapy. His back was so damaged that his doctors predicted he'd never lift weights again. But after he finished therapy, a friend introduced him to CrossFit sessions, where he was coached in safe lifting techniques and proper form. Today, he can dead lift more than 500 pounds.
But CrossFit RIOT isn't just for powerlifters. Derek and the other coaches strive to help members of all ability levels reach their fitness goals, from climbing stairs with greater ease to losing weight. Their high-intensity functional workouts can be scaled to be challenging—but not impossible—for everyone, and they emphasize executing good form, which helps to prevent injury.
The exercise routines change each day to keep bodies challenged and minds engaged. Throughout the one-hour workout of the day, they might lead students in swinging kettlebells one day and doing lunges and sprints the next. Classes are capped at 12 students, and the coaches are also available for personal-training and nutrition advice, such as choosing to snack on carrot sticks instead of butter sculptures.
At Ruby Karen Project, founder Ruby Karen uses dynamic choreography and acrobatic skills that earned her an appearance on So You Think You Can Dance to create classes that fuse aerial arts, dance, and fitness techniques. Her staff of trained instructors lead children and adults through exhilarating sessions that incorporate a variety of equipment, including silks, flying poles, and trapeze. Clients develop strength, balance, and coordination—not to mention defined arm muscles—as they learn aerial movements and techniques for defying gravity. From ballet barre workouts to hammock-assisted aerial yoga to any of the other classes offered at the studio, safety is always put first as instructors guide students through every new skill. Being a mobile performing arts school grants the Ruby Karen Project the freedom to set up classes in new locations, bringing aerial classes to more people and maybe, one day, mermaids confined to the beach.
Kelly and John King's athletic history is extensive and diverse—they've climbed up rocky cliffs, paddleboarded oceans, and cartwheeled across balance beams. Out of all their fitness-related experiences, however, they praise CrossFit as being one of the most elite and effective they've encountered. The CrossFit-certified Level 1 trainers conduct classes within their 5,300-square-foot studio, leading students through high-intensity routines of functional exercises. The trainers design their workouts to foster the 10 skills of CrossFit, which include cardiovascular endurance, stamina, and strength. They scale movements to accommodate students of all experience levels, ages, and abilities, from former athletes recovering from injuries to elderly sailors who’ve forgotten where they stashed their spinach. The coaches encourage their students to follow the paleo diet, which favors grass-fed meats, seafood, and fresh produce in lieu of processed foods.
Lakers girl. Clippers girl. Certified Pilates instructor. These are just a few titles on Jodi Adamo's resumé, in addition to being the owner of The Pilates Body of Orange County. Along with a staff of certified instructors, she leads Pilates and fitness classes for students of all fitness levels. They help patrons slim down and build muscle in a variety of Pilates classes, including mat, barre, and Reformer sessions. To boost heart rates, they also lead fitness classes, and Jodi draws from her extensive dance training to get bodies moving in Zumba and hip-hop hustle classes.
To further guide patrons in their journeys to healthier lifestyles, personal wellness coach Carol May compassionately stands at the ready. She has shaved off more than 75 pounds since 2010, and helps others shed their own excess weight with a constant source of support and nutrition tips, such as differentiating bananas from sticks of butter.
The trainers at CrossFit Vibe believe an unintimidating environment paired with encouragement and motivation is the key to optimal fitness. Their CrossFit Fundamentals classes teach students the discipline's nine basic movements, which are presented during scalable workouts that fit every fitness level. Armed with their newfound knowledge, students often transition into the more intense group classes. There, trainers test fitness limits with sessions that blend weight-based strength work with mono-structural movements such as running and rowing. These high-intensity exercises take the form of CrossFit's signature Workout of the Day, whose ever-changing regimen might include burpees, box jumps, and pull-ups on one day and back extensions, sit-ups, and 800m runs on another. In addition to keeping minds engaged and out of ruts, this variety also promotes the muscle confusion necessary to maximize physical results.