Programs that build character, leadership, and valuable skills for young people are at the heart of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama’s main mission. Today more than 8,000 children and teens count on the four area BGCCA clubs as a place where they can learn to grow and hone their abilities. By providing a safe place where children and teens can both learn and have fun, the centers hope to promote healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and a greater readiness for the working world. That mission is most apparent in the success of program graduates, who graduate from high school at a rate of 90%, compared to 66% nationally.
Amid the buzz of whirring cardio machines, Next Total Fitness's three facilities bustle with fitness classes and personal training sessions. The weight room brims with equipment such TV-equipped elliptical machines, bikes, and stair-climbers from brands such as Hammer Strength, Life Fitness, and Star Trac. The facility also boasts an indoor track, indoor and outdoor pools, basketball courts, and studios where certified instructors helm group fitness and yoga classes.
Otherwise, expert coaches lead group boxing and weight training sessions, and personal trainers build custom workout regimens to accommodate each individual's own unique physical health and fitness abilities. Trainers also advise clients on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. Meanwhile, childcare professionals keep a careful watch over offspring as parents spend their time exercising or secretly flexing in the changing room mirrors.
Adeptio Wellness Center owner Rodney Fulmer employs 20 years of health-focused experience, including a background in massage therapy and injury rehabilitation, to lead high-intensity CrossFit training sessions. A method used by police academies and military units, the CrossFit program beckons whole-body betterment through constantly-changing routines that test muscles for stamina and knowledge of the French Renaissance in one-hour classes. CrossFit positions mimic natural motions to avoid injuries, but are performed at a rapid pace and against resistance, such as sit-ups while holding free-weights or lunges under the weight of a protesting teenager. Adeptio Wellness hosts a small number of movers and shakers in each class, allowing the instructor to observe individual bodily behavior and structure discipline techniques for disruptive biceps. The studio holds four CrossFit classes per day—Monday–Friday at 6:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.
Birmingham Yoga slowly transforms its students into stretchier, bendier humans with a varied assortment of yoga classes. In an intimate, comfortable studio space, cork floors keep participants tacked down in firm form as they link their postures and breathing in an Ashtanga Vinyasa class (offered six days a week), or flex their way through the lengthy poses of a Yin Yoga class. Experienced and certified instructors ensure that all students, be they novice or elite yogis, get top-quality training, a relaxing experience, and helpful guidance as they make their way down yoga’s inspiring path to self-discovery and the corner convenience store.
Zumba Fitness strives to free their studio of the pressure, intimidation, and self-consciousness that can spoil an otherwise enjoyable workout. To that end, the instructors forge a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere that encourages students to go at their own pace. With certification in teaching original Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, and Zumbatomic, the team spends five days a week guiding students through heart-pumping dance routines set to rhythmic, Latin-inspired music, helping them burn calories and drop dress sizes by simply moving to the beat. Instead of having students painstakingly memorize each step, instructors encourage them to improvise and have fun with the choreography. Participants of all skill levels can customize the routines by moving at a slower pace or adding more complex steps to create their ideal exercise session.
EVO gathers groups of new and veteran exercisers to communally banish unwanted pounds and build strength in circuit-training-based boot camp. Over the course of two weeks, customers can attend as many sessions as they like. The 45-minute nonstop workouts, led by a motivating trainer, help to convert jiggly torsos and limbs into rock-solid form with repeated sets of cardio and strength exercises using ropes, sandbags, kettlebells, and dumbbells. Transitioning from one move to the next without pausing keeps your body working hard and free of dust, scorching up to 500–1,000 calories per session. Because EVO limits classes to approximately 10 participants, trainers can hone in on campers' individual needs and stage impromptu versions of The Sound of Music.