Fitness retreats have come a long way since they days when they were the exclusive territory of high-powered celebrities and the old-guard elite. Now, thanks to the help of gurus like Don Miguel, these wellness-oriented escapes welcome a wider audience while retaining their air of exclusive luxury. Don Miguel whips visiting travelers and native Dallasites alike into shape with intimate boutique-style fitness retreats that focus on weight loss and full-body conditioning. Each day, Don Miguel's Fitness spices up group workouts with Zumba or belly-dancing classes, as well as morning and evening yoga sessions. Don also leads guided hikes through the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, a patch of densely forested land a few miles outside of downtown. When he’s not leading these treks or demonstrating an exercise, Don’s hard at work as the CEO of the Fit-for-Me Foundation, an organization that advocates youth fitness and wellness programs.
Participants jump-start weight-loss goals by following a four-day juice cleanse, which involves drinking plenty of fresh-pressed juices before and after each activity. In the evenings, they’ll retire to deluxe suites with a queen bed, free WiFi, and views of the city at the Belmont Hotel, where they can relax or work up a night sweat during optional dream workouts. On the day of your choice, a licensed massage therapist will be on hand to help improve circulation and alleviate muscle fatigue with a 30-minute massage.
Before he founded Bradshaw's Boot Camp, Justin Bradshaw was a deep-sea diver for the U.S. Army. The rigorous training, diving missions, and underwater construction jobs building fish schools inspired him to motivate others to push themselves to reach their fitness goals. At Bradshaw's Boot Camp, he designs ever-changing workout routines for his high-intensity boot-camp classes, incorporating nutrition to create well-rounded lifestyles for his clients. The plan works—he's been featured alongside one of his many successful weight-loss clients on ABC's The View and serves as the official trainer on MTV's I Used to be Fat.
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.
Boot camp at Elevate Fitness combines cardio, calisthenics, weights, and sports drills for all-over body toning. The athletic trainers also travel to businesses for health fairs and fitness programs, and give clients one-on-one attention during personal-training sessions. The trainers pull double duty as life coaches as they assist clients in reshaping their daily routines, including changes in diet.
Chad Pennington hadn't even graduated from high school when he began personal training—he was only 16. His early interest in fitness evolved into an education in kinesiology and anatomy at the University of Texas–Arlington, a five-year ownership of a GNC store, and a personal-training gig at a gym, where he was quickly promoted to fitness manager. Today, Chad is his own boss at Ultimate Body. He not only trains clients one-on-one, but also leads fitness boot camps for groups.
Like the branches of a tree, Namah Shivaya Yoga’s teachers never stray too far from their roots. It just so happens that their roots lay half a world away, in the traditional Indian yoga practices outlined in the ancient Hatha Yoga Pradipika text. As prescribed therein, they teach a diverse blend of styles that focus on energizing and strengthening the body and soothing the mind. They help exercisers break a healthy sweat with hatha and vinyasa yoga techniques, and occasionally incorporate props, such as straps and blocks, to help with poses. The instructors also practice Yin and restorative yoga, which mix breathing exercises with meditation to cleanse the mind of toxic thoughts.
For those who wish to make a livelihood of practicing yoga, the studio offers 200- and 500-hour teaching certificate programs. The courses range from a four-week intensive to a three-year ongoing program. Each curriculum is registered with and approved by the Yoga Alliance, a council of practitioners who uphold the discipline’s integrity and occasionally combine their powers to summon Captain Yoga.