Though the term “boot camp” may conjure images of aggressive drill sergeants barking orders as their recruits struggle through grueling tasks, Fit Body Boot Camp of Pittsburgh sessions are much the opposite. Their enthusiastic trainers motivate patrons in indoor boot-camp classes, issuing positive reinforcement as they work together to burn calories and excess fat through challenging, but not defeating, exercises. Each 45-minute session is designed to promote fat loss with a varied routine of interval training that may involve weightlifting, push-ups, sit-ups, and plyometrics. Many activities require participants to band together to tackle obstacles, bolstering a sense of support and camaraderie. Instructors then lead exercisers in a cool down with stretching, leaving them more limber than a linguini noodle basking in a Jacuzzi.
Q&A with Latashia, Owner of iS.W.E.A.T. Studio
Tell us about your business.
It's not a gym—it's an experience! iS.W.E.A.T. Studio is a fitness studio dedicated to providing a healthy family environment while helping clients reach their goals with health and fitness.
What makes your business stand out?
We are personally invested in the journey of every single person that walks through our door. Boring treadmill and ellipticals are a thing of the past here.
What inspired you to start or run this business?
After losing 100 pounds and knowing how uncomfortable it was in a gym environment at my heaviest, I wanted to provide a haven for people to go with no judgment—where it's fun to workout and people are like family.
How do you help motivate your patrons?
We have a "no judgment" zone when you walk through our doors. Whether you've never taken a class or are among the most experienced—we are all here to support each other and reach our goals.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Changing lives daily and making people love working out.
Certified trainer, AJ Tucker, acquired myriad methods of staying fit while playing college football, training for jui jitsu, and during his four-year service with the U.S. Army. Today, he molds all that experience into a three-day-a-week boot camp that incorporates strength straining, a specialty class such as boxing, and a session designed for fun where participants buddy-up and complete a more light-hearted session of exercises. He also offers private boot camps that can be held at the office, school, or front yard.
The instructors at P31 Fitness aim to echo the sentiment of Proverbs 31, which speaks to the empowerment of women through hard work. To that end, they seemingly never run out of ways to make their students sweat. To combat the monotony of repetitive workouts, they rotate their boot-camp-style workouts, preventing boredom while staving off unproductive muscle memory. In addition to changing exercises, the team also arms ladies in their fight for personal wellness with daily health and nutrition tips, as well as cooldown time devoted to reflection on one's own spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.
Equipment: Kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, and bodyweight
Students should bring: Bottle of water, towel, dumbbells, and fitness mat
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Hydrate properly the night before.
Drink 1-2 glasses of water 60 minutes before bedtime.
Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.