Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to eke out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit-seekers challenge themselves on Life Fitness and Hammer Strength cardio and strength machines and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or bop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
The playing field is level and accented in aqua at LOA Fitness for Women, where health is a community endeavor. The gym houses special strength-training equipment with 5-pound pin-adjusted weights that, by virtue of being lighter, prevent injury and foster healthy muscle development. On-site babysitting services and an all-female crew of personal trainers similarly break down physical, practical, and emotional barriers to women's well-being. Eleven types of group movement classes, including Zumba and Pilates, re-enforce the feeling of sweat-bonded camaraderie that permeates the ranks of treadmills and bikes, and nutrition counselors equip women with the skills to make healthy choices at home.
LOA Fitness also offers team training, which incorporate equipment such as kettle bells, balls, and sandbags, and group fitness classes, which include kickboxing, yoga-lates, Zumba, and much more. During automated spa treatments, women step into tranquil chambers that rejuvenate muscles and skin.
Ever since I was little I wanted to be an artist. I tried all kinds of things- music, painting, drawing, even pottery. I was never very good at any of it, but I loved it all. Then I discovered photography. I figured out how to translate my ideas into pictures and fell in love with it.
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.
Owner and educator Rashida Hobbs has always had a passion for music and dance, leading her to open Pole'iticians Fitness Studio, where she and a troupe of certified instructors create a supportive setting for ladies to build strength through sensual dance classes and workshops. Invented by Hobbs, Floormotion classes, also known as Sensual Dance, focus on the art of erotic movements, building on the principles of cardio striptease to transform students' regular dance moves into sexy shimmies. Pole-dance classes impart students of all skill levels with erotic moves to add to their exotic bag of tricks, enhancing the quality of future routines performed for a significant other, in front of the mirror, or during awkward silences in idle conversations. The Pole'iticians team also leads a breadth of Zumba, dance, and yoga classes, and opens the spacious studio for private parties and special events.