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.
Koko FitClub’s automated personal-training system rockets both men and women toward fitness goals with 30-minute custom workouts that incorporate cardio and strength training. An initial consultation determines fitness level and baseline measurements, which Koko’s machines use to design a bespoke workout plan that precisely measures the weight, pace, and rest time appropriate for each exerciser. The Koko machines guide exercisers through each workout and adapt as the user’s fitness needs change and constantly challenge the body.
Designed by professional trainers, workouts maximize the body’s lean-muscle mass, which can boost metabolism and help fight off disease by challenging viruses to kickboxing matches. Exercisers can track their shrinking waistlines and swelling muscles online by analyzing workout scores and comparing individual fitness levels to the Koko FitClub community.
To help fuel bodies, the KoKo Fuel custom nutrition plan provides clients with the exact quantity of macronutrients needed to build lean muscle and burn fat. The online nutrition plan is based on increasing protein intake and controlling carbs, which is clinically proved to help aid with weight loss.
For most of his life, Ron Green exercised and tried to eat right—a Herculean task, working as he did in the demanding restaurant business. Try as he might, he couldn't get down to a healthy weight. So he decided to hire a personal trainer—and for the first time, he felt himself outrunning the Sisyphean treadmill and inching closer and closer to his goals. The experience so inspired him that he decided to become a trainer himself to help others break out of holding patterns, and deposit their energy into exercises that gave them a return on their investment. Now, certified by the National Academy of Sports, he leads a team of trainers in helping clients through athletic, personal, and group training.
In the signature boot-camp classes, they aim at helping campers lose body fat while sculpting functional muscles, unlike glam muscles only good for filling out sleeves or wowing the admissions board at Harvard. The trainers also supplement sport-specific training, one-on-one sessions, or group training with nutritional guidance to help clients reach their goals quickly.
Karmany Yoga's two studio locations, 14 instructors, and seven days a week of class are impressive, but the numbers alone didn't earn it D magazine's award for Best Yoga Studio. That honor belongs to the teachers' passion. They all came to yoga from diverse backgrounds, having worked as fashion-magazine editors, full-time moms, or high-school band conductors. As different as their outside interests are, they share one main quality—a great drive to aid others in discovering the balance that yoga helped bring to their lives.
They teach three primary forms of class. Slow flow gently coaxes the body toward greater feats of flexibility. Power flow, taught in the style of Baron Baptiste, challenges athleticism with a much faster-paced series, best performed in a movie montage leading up to an incredible victory that defies all odds. They also teach traditional Iyengar yoga, a style that almost exclusively focuses on perfecting the alignment of postures and bringing health to the skeletal and muscular systems.
Sisters Eliana and Valeria both discovered Zumba during challenging times in their lives⎯Valeria while fighting obesity and Eliana while helping her late husband through cancer treatments. These past experiences inform the sisters’ approaches to the dance classes they lead. Valeria creates a comfortable and nonjudgmental environment for students of all fitness levels, and Eliana wants to offer her students the same freedom and escape she found during one-hour Zumba workouts. Both ladies are certified instructors and teach several subspecies of Zumba dance, including Zumbatomic for children and Zumba Gold for seniors, beginners, and prenatal students. Zumba People also tries to foster a sense of community among its students, hosting costumed dance parties for Halloween and orchestrating the occasional flash mob. Classes are held six days a week, and schedules for the Hurst and Southlake locations vary.
Larry North has spent his 25-year career inspiring people to change their bodies and their lives through his infomercials, talk-radio show, television appearances, three books, and, most notably, his six Larry North fitness centers. "Success," North believes, "is not about how many gyms or how many members we have. It is about successful clients who lose weight and keep it off..." Adhering to this mantra, he wants to make sure that every member has access to the best resources and tools to achieve their goals. He sees to it that all of his spacious and sleek gyms boast a high trainer-to-member ratio and are jam-packed with weights, strength machines, and cardio equipment from industry-leading manufacturers.
All North's spacious and chic facilities offer a bevy of group classes that include kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, dance-based fitness sessions, and their signature 30-minute abs workouts.