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.
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.
When Dancing With the Stars' contestants Emmitt Smith, Mark Cuban, Michael Irvin, and Jake Pavelka needed a place to sharpen their rug-cutting capabilities, Cheryl Burke told them to look no further than Studio 22. Studio 22's talented instructors even performed on Dancing With the Stars in October of 2012. Founded by internationally ranked Latin dancing couple Sergey Korshunov and Michelle Hafle, the studio lassos a stable of instructors handpicked from the highest levels of professional competition. Their group classes and private lessons give beginners and seasoned dancers alike the opportunity to polish their performance in styles as diverse as Argentine tango, salsa, ballroom, swing, and country and western.
The 6,200-square-foot studio accommodates classes of every size with its rich wooden floors, wall-length mirrors, and plush leather seating with which to rest feet between exercises and build forts whenever the instructor leaves the room. Studio 22 also hosts weekly dance parties that give students a chance to take new partners for a twirl in convivial, BYOB soirées.
Tucked away from life's daily barrage of appointments, meetings, and expectations, Dallas Yoga Center provides a tranquil haven for self-discovery and the mental truces that achieve inner peace. An arched Indian doorway marks the threshold between the outside world and the refuge of the 8,000-sq.-ft. facility, which houses four spacious, naturally lit studios.
Inside, instructors lead groups through more than 65 classes per week, which focus on a variety of yoga styles. During the studio's Beginners Yoga classes, aspiring yogis learn the basic motions and breathing techniques that serve as the jumping-off point for their yogic journeys. From there, they can explore the gentle calmness of Yin Yoga, the intense exertion of a hot Ashtanga Yoga class set at 85 degrees, the prop-aided poses of Iyengar Yoga, or the ab-toning workouts of Yoga Core. They can also take part in t'ai chi sessions that leave minds spry and energies recentered. After class, students can propel their practices forward by stocking up on the center's selection of yoga clothes, jewelry, props, accessories, and DVDs. For those seeking even deeper enlightenment, the center also sponsors yoga teacher training, and even arranges retreats to India, where students study ayurveda and yoga straight from the source.
The friendly instructors at Vertical Fitness Dallas teach clients to move in slimming new ways with invigorating variations of pole-dancing lessons and aerial-arts classes. Firefighters in training can attend the one-hour beginning-pole class to learn basic dance and floor moves that build muscles needed for scaling olive-oil-coated trees. Booty Poppin’ 101—designed for lively pirates looking to expose balloon filled treasures—tones with gluteus-maximus-focused exercises. Aspiring acrobats can soar through the aerial-silks class where students climb and flip about on silk ribbons to redeem traumatic memories of the gym-class rope climb. TRX Suspension Training is a challenging addition to the pole fitness repertoire that builds the muscles and stamina necessary to execute advanced suspended and inverted pole moves. Check out the schedule for additional fitness offerings and convenient class times.
When Karen and David first met at the Bikram College of India in Los Angeles, they could barely believe that they had grown up within spitting distance of one another in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Through their intense nine-week, 500 hours of training, they grew closer, swapping stories about the unfulfilling corporate lives they had left behind. It wasn't until David returned to Texas and Karen to Portland that they realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After Karen returned to her home state to be with David, the pair embarked on the biggest adventure of their lives: scouring the earth for scissors big enough to cut the grand-opening ribbon to Bikram Yoga Dallas in tandem.
The duo outfitted their spacious 2,300-square-foot sanctuary with soft, eco-friendly flooring and gigantic windows that flood the heated studio with sunlight. They corralled a troupe of passionate, Bikram-certified instructors to help lead the 90-minute classes that strengthen students with 26 postures. To keep the space community-oriented, Karen and David offer special events such as new student orientations, posture workshops, yoga challenges and celebration parties.