Within a 20,000-square-foot gymnastics studio, certified group fitness and boot-camp instructor Ami Almquist helps her charges trim fat, tone muscle, and build endurance. Before the course, Ami gauges each client's spot on the fitness spectrum with a personal assessment, modifying exercises accordingly to ensure a challenging, safe workout. Up to 30 students rally for high-impact interval routines that blend cardio, strength, core, and circuit training. During sessions that—like the entries in a reckless time traveler's encyclopedia—change daily, biceps ripple under weights and cores tighten atop balance balls.
With a new-trampoline smell still fresh in the recently opened, indoor jump center's air, bouncers somersault and catapult across Cosmic Jump’s sprawling arenas. Four lanes run the length of the main trampoline area, with angled pads at the ends and, in the center, a high vault called the Cosmic Summit that can only be cleared by heroic bounds or hitching a ride on a mountain goat. After dark, Cosmic Jump transforms into a glowing jump zone as a premium sound system blasts music, with LED black lights and colorful lights pulsing to the beat. Trampolines also host body-sculpting boot camps, dodge-ball classes, and latin-infused cardio dance classes designed to strengthen the core. Cosmic jump also hosts a wide variety of special events and birthday parties.
As a former NFL linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, 1st Class Training owner Antonio Armstrong knows what it takes to lead a healthy, fit, lifestyle on and off the field. At both of 1st Class Training's studios, he and his team of fitness and nutrition experts lead small-group and private workout sessions for people of all ages, abilities, and most security-clearance levels, all while coaching them to make certain their lifestyle changes are sustainable long term. Armstrong's metabolic workout system is designed to maximize fat burn, combining quick spurts of intense strength training with bursts of cardiovascular exercise, and the team customizes each workout to avoid mundane repetition and cater to each client's maximum level of intensity.
Though husband-and-wife co-owners Ty and Missy Beasley are single-minded in their love of personal training, they took different paths to get there. As a soccer player in college, Ty Beasley would provide personal training as a side job to pay for school and sports supplies. He quickly realized how much fun he had in his sessions, and eventually decided to follow in his entrepreneur father's footsteps and open Core Health & Fitness with Missy. Missy, meanwhile, began her journey in the nutrition realm. After becoming a registered dietitian, the former cheerleader fell into the world of personal training when she helped her sister, a brand-new mother, lose her baby weight and gain a new outlook on life. The experience was inspirational, and she soon decided to become a personal trainer.
Today, the two certified personal trainers lead private and group sessions that incorporate circuit workouts, cardio, strength training, and nutritional guidance to help individuals improve health and drop dress sizes. They also offer a coed outdoor boot camp that includes fitness assessments, diet coaching, and intense motivation, all with challenging workouts that take place five days a week.
The year was 1975, and Sam Sann crept alongside his grandmother and sister through the untamed countryside of Cambodia. He and his family were fleeing political insurgents on foot, barely subsisting on snakes and any other sustenance they could find. After four years of wandering, the Sann clan finally made it to Houston, where Sam excelled in cross-country and track. From his post as a staffer at a gym in high school, Sam ascended to personal trainer after graduation and eventually opened Iron Sports Indoor Obstacle Course with the help of his wife, Gabby. Well-known for having a spirit more generous than the secret lovechild of Santa and a fairy godmother, Sam eagerly welcomes up to 60 visitors at a time into his unique two-story obstacle course fitness studio. Exercisers of all skill levels tether themselves to a rope belay system to surmount potholed walls with climbing pegs and then scurry through tunnels at the top of ladders. From ramps for running to monkey bars for swinging, the course offers a unique approach to wellness with fun built in.
The gym also houses traditional cardio and weight machines from Precor and two First Degree Fitness Fluid Cycles XT, which are akin to a bike for the upper body. Staffers with backgrounds in sports medicine and fitness incorporate the facility's obstacle course and gym equipment into classes such as a year-round boot camp, Kids Fit sessions, and Zumba.
Whether leading an individual, pair, or group, Evolutionary Fitness’s trainers add muscle to their workouts with StrengthFlo. Created by Josh Parish, winner of Living magazine's Best Personal Trainer of 2013 award, StrengthFlo is a medley of functioning training techniques meeting each exerciser where they’re at, so anyone can take on its sequences of repetitive movements. It not only strengthens and lengthens the whole body, but also bolsters connective tissues, which can mean quicker recovery from injuries. A trip to floCamp doesn’t just burn calories; it also decompresses the spine as cores strengthen.
What inspired you to start or run this business?
I have been doing CrossFit for a couple [of] years now, and my business partner Jonathan has been personal training for a little longer. We have been friends since we were kids, and realized that we both have a passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. With our knowledge and experience combined, we knew that we could benefit others who are looking for direction toward fitness goals. Running the Boot Camp doesn't feel like work because we love it.
What makes your business stand out?
Our combination of strength, agility, [and] cardio workouts is tailored in a way that keeps everybody involved and moving, unlike your traditional everybody-stand-in-a-row-and-follow-me workouts. Also, our mix of timed and max reps brings something new [for] members who were just working out alone or with a personal trainer.
What is the best reaction you've ever gotten from a customer?
The customers are always excited at the insight we give them. The best reaction [was from] this client [who] was in tears the other day. She has struggled with her weight for some time, and she was glad to have coaches and group of people to encourage [her] to keep it up. She lost 20 pounds in the first month.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part is designing the workouts for the day. We have been running for sometime now and have not repeated one workout.