"My dad told me, 'Mijo, no matter what the sport, the best athletes are always in tremendous shape!'" Ren? Armijo says on his website when describing how he came to concentrate on fitness. The boxer would always remember these words, forever seeking out superior health and fitness practices as he worked toward building his fighting career. At Fighter Physique, Ren? combines his experience in the ring with his passion for fitness, joining a team of fellow fighters and exercise aficionados to lead students toward diamond-chiseled physiques.
At the brightly lit studio, a forest of red punching bags abounds with instructors guiding all skill levels through proper boxing and kickboxing techniques, infusing workouts with high-intensity calisthenics and aerobic exercises. The staff opens all of their classes to kids as well, encouraging youngsters to leave behind sedentary lives of playing video games and reading their mothers' diaries in order to build the foundations of invaluable lifelong fitness skills.
Established in 1886, the YMCA of El Paso today offers pools and fitness facilities alongside a wealth of programs, including swimming lessons, sports leagues, and group exercise classes. Adult and youth swim lessons ($20+) enhance aquatic skills, leaving participants better equipped for a future in which all business deals are transacted in wave pools. Youth can throw, kick, punt, and bounce a variety of balls in the many sports leagues available or scuff up gym floors during ballroom-dancing or hip-hop classes. Family activities such as roller-skating and yoga instill a sense of familial togetherness without the groaning and complaints of bonding events such as family tax filing or family gutter cleaning.
David Kneip leads The Human Lab's crew of tough-as-nails trainers, who find common cause in his no-frills approach to exercise. Eschewing loud music, televisions, and machinery, David and his team prefer to force their clients to rely only on the rhythm of their bodies and the strength of their will to overcome the challenges of any given workout. Students tackle everything from Olympic-style weightlifting and kettlebells to old-fashioned pushups and pull-ups in their quest to tone and strengthen their bodies. The Lab's most popular program, CrossFit, runs muscles through a wide variety of exercises—preventing the body from easily adapting to the routine and ensuring maximum results in minimum time—but other workouts can build muscles for specific sports, bestowing skiers with more powerful legs and croquet players with fingers shaped like mallets.