Navy Special Operators are recognized as some of the world's most feared warriors. Run using the same aquatic training program that tests the mettle of real-life divers and explosives techs, Hellbender's Amphibious Bootcamp sends exercisers plunging in and out of the water as they blast through a blend of calisthenics and aquatic exercises. A diverse collection of former sailors, soldiers, and firefighters lead the classes, shouting encouragement as as students switch from pushups and pull-ups to freestyle, breaststroke, and sprint swims. Movable obstacles including sandbags, weights, and decommissioned bathyspheres also wait beneath the depths, challenging endurance as they bulk up screaming muscles. Classes welcome all fitness levels, but exercisers should be able to tread water, swim at least 25 yards without stopping, and arrive with their own goggles and swimsuit.
When Billy Corbett was still in high school in the late 1970s, he wrote letters to personal trainers in Hollywood, asking their advice on how he could become one too. Some of the trainers wrote back, giving him advice that he still remembers and utilizes today as head of Billy Corbett's RetroFit. There, he and his team of instructors lead groups through high-energy boot camps and personal-training sessions catered to individual goals. They also guide young people toward a healthy lifestyle with youth sports-conditioning classes.
Lance Farrell drew from his extensive background in tae kwon do to take down opponents in the ring for many years before he realized he could use his powers to help others combat obesity and health issues. He developed Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping to provide patrons of all fitness levels with a comfortable place in which to undergo a mental and physical transformation, much like a crushed-velvet cocoon. He stripped away the sparring and contact drills from his fighter training, leaving just the components that burn fat and build muscle.
When students sign up for a program, they're grouped into teams of peers who encourage one another through moments of weakness and provide a sense of accountability. The instructors and coaches guide these teams toward fitness on a 10-week quest based on four pillars—cardiovascular exercise to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, nutrition coaching to map out a healthy diet, and enthusiastic trainers to provide motivation. At the end of each session, each of Farrell's locations rewards a student with a $1,000 prize—or a year’s worth of high-fives—congratulating them on their dramatic physical transformation. Students who stick around and strive to get healthy over the course of a year get a shot at the $10,000 prize, though winners have reported that leading a healthier life is a greater reward than the money.
Most gyms give their members access to professional equipment. Get Strong Denver goes one step further by giving them access to professional expertise. Members there receive an unlimited supply of semi-private personal-training sessions, each of which is led by a certified personal trainer and contains no more than five students apiece. For even more personalized fitness guidance, members can schedule individual training sessions designed to help them meet their unique goals, whether it's to lose weight, improve overall health, or stop holding a grudge against a mouthy treadmill. Whichever form members choose, the trainers constantly switch up the exercise routine, ensuring members never get bored.
Trainers Daniel Torres and Heidi White help clients lose fat, gain muscle, and look their best in highly customized personal-training sessions. The trainers use a fitness assessment to determine which muscles are underactive or overactive, then design workouts that will correct existing imbalances. Sessions take place in both indoor and outdoor facilities.
Though his gentle demeanor belies it, Denver Boot Camps' Scott Harwood has tough skin. He needed it as a physical trainer in the Marine Corps. Today, he offers encouragement to the ranks of boot campers who gather on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings to train with him. Together, they lift weights, do burpees, and haul medicine balls as he urges them to keep going, using support to motivate his students instead of dangling an eclair in front of their faces. He also works as a personal trainer, so campers can sign up for one-on-one sessions to supplement their evening workouts.