Jorge Perez lay on the gym floor, panting heavily and in a state of disbelief. He had years of athletic-training experience and certifications under his belt, but after one CrossFit workout, he felt like a train had hit him. Impressed by the innovative program and determined to improve as an athlete, Jorge continued on to perform countless CrossFit workouts after leaving the gym that day, eventually earning his certification as a CrossFit level-one trainer.
Jorge Perez now shares the CrossFit training methodology with students of all fitness levels at his own studio—BluePrint CrossFit - Doral. Towering ceilings loom over an expansive floor of free weights, pull-up bars, and resistance bands, where Coach J and his staff of fellow certified coaches lead high-intensity CrossFit and bootcamp workouts. Committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles outside the gym, they conduct free nutritional seminars and share healthy recipes to demonstrate proper eating habits and how to get a restraining order against Twinkies.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
Whether it’s to get off blood-pressure medication or improve mile times for marathon running, the trainers at My Only BootCamp help clients set and meet specific fitness goals. Though they strive to keep workouts interesting, they readily admit that participants must possess and apply discipline and determination if they want to adequately prepare for Miami’s perpetual beach season. To ensure workouts are always fresh and no two days are identical, they draw upon their vast repertoire of memorized exercise techniques and their smartphones’ ability to Google.
Based on empirical research and used by professional athletes, including the Florida Marlins, the CrossFit program propels its practitioners toward extreme fitness. CrossFit 101 is a set of eight classes with a no-nonsense but accommodating attitude—all exercises can be modified to take physical limitations into account.
Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
At CrossFit Miami, it's not rare to hear encouragements and instructions shouted English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Founded by Sao Paulo native Marcio Pizanelli, the gym and adjoining capoeira school boast an international staff of certified instructors hailing from Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States. Marcio and his team promote hard work and competition during each energizing workout, which might include weight balls, rowing machines, pull-up bars, or any other piece of the gym's extensive arsenal. Basic classes emphasize proper form for CrossFit's central lifts, and daily workouts keep muscles guessing with a variable blend of conditioning, strength training, core workouts, and getting chased by a terrier with gross, muddy paws.