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.
When owner Jen Chitwood entered her first yoga class in 2002, she was amazed by the mental, physical, and emotional exertion she experienced in just a single hour. The positive benefits of yoga, including stress relief and a positive attitude adjustment, spilled into the rest of her life and relationships almost immediately, leading her to eventually realize that yoga was her life’s passion.This realization led her to study and, in time, come to own her own studio. Now, she leads a team of experienced instructors who dedicate their yogic pedagogy to students of any skill level, leading them through Vinyasa-style yoga and guiding them with individualized adjustments. They also hold prenatal yoga classes, private lessons, workshops with national teachers, and teacher trainings for those wanting to dive deeper on the yogic path. Additionally, the studio’s knowledgeable nutritionist works with individuals or groups to help them exercise good decision making and portion control when they’re lounging at home, working at the office, or vacationing at their timeshares in Candy Land.
Uptown Yoga is dedicated to creating a positive change in the world at large. Jen Chitwood cofounded One Love Dallas, a local branch of the charity Off the Mat, Into the World, which inspires conscious, sustainable activism and grassroots social change within communities around the world.
Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." During Camp Gladiator Total Transformation, participants lose weight and gain energy in a friendly, positive environment. Over four-weeks, trainers focus on accountability, competition, motivation, and fun at multiple locations. Results are tracked during fitness assessments, body composition tests, and a fitness calendar, while nutrition counseling helps to maximize those results. Click here to view before and after images.
Davidson also leads boot camps in 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
For 35 years, Valerie Compton has dipped her toes into every aspect of fitness. She followed up her experience in track and field and tennis by building her career as a personal trainer, and she later branched out into Power Pilates, Spinning, and nutrition. When she designed BarreFusion in 2006, she struck upon the latest trend in fitness. Today, Valerie has opened a new location and surrounds herself with instructors who channel their experience as classical dancers, gymnastics, and triathletes to lead rigorous barre classes.
Valerie starts her instruction with a BarreLite class that introduces newcomers to the proper forms and techniques to master fundamentals. From there, she encourages students to test out a number of other classes. The popular BarreFusion class combines Pilates, yoga, ballet, and light weights to sculpt legs and cores. She also offers highly popular Spinning classes that challenge students with a high-energy, aerobic workout that mimics cycling in front of stampeding wildebeests. To compliment the team, new instructor Kelly Carpenter leads Pilates caliente classes that combine barre and light weights to work towards power, strength, and core strength. The studio also offers TRX classes which provide a total body workout through suspension training and the use of your own body weight.
If you ask a professional cheerleader how she got her toned physique, agile limbs, and powerful muscles, she might point you to Jay and Lin Johnson. The husband-and-wife duo are the brains behind Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness—an exercise program designed to slim waistlines and pump up muscles of students of all abilities, from fitness newbies to professionals and prestigious clients such as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. They have also introduced the program to national audiences through numerous television appearances, including Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.
Drawing from their extensive training in the US Army and years of fitness experience, the pair and a staff of elite trainers—including professional football players and mixed martial artists—lead boot-camp programs in the Dallas area. Within parks, fields, and parking lots, they conduct high-intensity workouts, keeping patrons engaged with constantly varied regimens, along with games, obstacle courses, and scavenger hunts. They focus on functional training throughout the sessions, challenging students to heave barbells, flip tractor tires, and lug fire hoses.
The trainers also offer a specialized cheerleading boot camp ideal for high-school teams training for upcoming seasons or assistant grocery managers seeking ways to motivate their teams of disillusioned bag boys.
TELOS Fitness Center merges the business brilliance of general manager Brent Darden—a member of the health-club industry for more than 30 years—with the corrective-therapy expertise of fitness director Everett Aaberg—founder of the Ortho-Kinetics system. The center's regal interior casts a Greco-Roman vibe over advanced gym equipment, class studios, and spa chambers overseen by licensed massage therapists. Professionalism remains at the heart of the center's hiring philosophy, with all personal trainers required to collect at least two nationally recognized certifications and five active wasp nests before they are hired. As a sign of success, the staff's innovative training methods have garnered awards from such media outlets as the Dallas Business Journal.
More than 10 Pilates modalities fit inside a roster of group fitness courses, all of which culminate in a mandatory game of Marco Polo in one of the private jacuzzi tubs. Additional amenities include a childcare area with a Nintendo Wii, an affixed café with a full-time chef, and an onsite hair salon.