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.
As part of a premiere PADI five-star instructor-development center, International Scuba’s team trains underwater explorers in a variety of courses that range from snorkeling and skin diving to open-water and rescue diving. The heated, indoor salt-water pool accommodates divers from ages 8 and older, and equipment packages ensure all students are outfitted for their dives. Beyond the student level, divers can also earn their master scuba-diver certification, thus becoming teachers themselves.
Students who master any of these levels can then elect a related specialty allowing them to dive under the ice, discover underwater wrecks, snap photographs of marine life, and help protect coral reefs from predatory plastic bags. Students who have completed their desired level of training but want to venture forth with a group can also participate in a trip diving in locations abroad and in 30 rivers, quarries, and beaches in and around Texas.
Bubblegum pink. Sugary treats. Rhinestones and glitter. Sweet & Sassy’s stylists pamper moppets during shrunken-down spa treatments spun with these elements. As tots lounge on tangerine pillows, kid-calibrated manicures and pedicures bejewel their keratin shields with sparkly nail art and adorn their favorite digits with rings and toe rings. Facials slather visages with gentle, sweet-smelling concoctions, and ear-piercing services add appropriate glint to kids' facial regions so that they can stop lodging beads in their nostrils.
While growing up in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, Paolo Siciliano acquired a passion for traditional southern Italian food from his mother, Maria, who cooked for his family every day. After moving to the United States, Siciliano pursued his dreams of serving fresh pastas baked with mozzarella cheeses, opening his first restaurant in 1981.
The restaurant has always been a family business, with all nine of the Siciliano children working at the restaurant at points in its history. Today, Paolo's son Brian serves as a chef, adding his own twist to the family recipes as his crew bakes pans of the restaurant's complimentary buttery garlic rolls alongside their housemade lasagna. After spending 21 years under the same roof, baking manicotti and preparing fresh dough, Paolo and his wife Fran decided to upgrade to a new location, where Roman-style columns flank booths, and vivid paintings depict gondoliers reaching out through the frame to grab diners' plates of tiramisu.
How does one start a skincare business with no equipment, products, or money? Kim Evans found herself in that predicament when she started her business immediately after passing the state boards. With nothing but faith and a strong work ethic, she began tending to her clients' skin needs inside a rented room of a small spa. She worked 80 hours per week and became a licensed massage therapist to expand her business into what it is today: a wellness spa that enhances the beauty and health of skin and body through spa services and massage. Inside 2Gorjis Integrated Health & Wellness, three private treatment rooms house clients as two skin therapists cleanse surfaces during custom facials, or wrap bodies in aromatherapy herbal linens. The staff members bolster natural features with eyelash extensions, meticulous body waxing, and makeup artistry that includes exclamation points drawn next to eyebrows.
Celebrating their 11th year in business this year, Transformation Boot Camp’s team sums up their philosophy on living in one simple phrase: “We are never done.” In that spirit, Transformation Boot Camp celebrates positivity, teamwork, and the gallons of sweat that fuel people down the path to fitness. Each boot camp begins with a body assessment that allows students to track every ounce, inch, or percentage of body fat lost. To compliment the cardio-heavy circuit training, Transformation Boot Camp offers a set of Power Tools to help each boot-camp member hit their goals, including meal planners and refrigerators that make wisecracks about unhealthy food choices. All of this explains why Transformation Boot Camp was named Living magazine's "Best Weight Loss Program in North Dallas" in 2013 and 2014.